27.07.2011 27 °C
We arrived in Florence on time unbeknown to us but as we travelling to Florence a station in Rome, Tiburtino had caught fire and was about to cause chaos to the metro and rail network. The weather had cooled down since we were last in Florence and as we dragged our bags over the cobble stones to our well located hotel. You may think that cobblestones look great and give the city it’s uniqueness but when you’re dragging a dead body in a bag (ok its only 30 kg a small dead body) every little bump, pothole is amplified.
The culture overload has taken its toll because it was the shops that won the next day but we did manage to book a tour of San Gimingnano, Siena and a Chianti winery the next day. It turned into a tour that Mr Bean would have been proud of. They overbooked the tour, the tourguide had never run a group this big before and they also mixed up the languages so we were on a bus with 70% Spanish and the rest either Aussie or English. The Spanish have managed to exceed the benchmark set by the Americans they are loud, have no awareness of personal space and are just plain rude. The places we visited we fantastic to think that in the Piazza Del Campo 20,000 people fit in the centre and 17 horses run around the outside is amazing and probably worth coming back for. The Chianti wine region could be swapped for the Barossa and the price they were charging for the wine I’ll stick with a nice Grant Burge or a Rockfords.
We did manage to get some culture by visiting the Uffizzi. It was more by chance really because we could not get tickets for Tuesday we were told they were running an evening session with free entry. We got ourselves in line by 6pm with only an hour to wait. These sessions are not advertised and the line quickly grew down and around the building along the River Arno. While waiting in line a guy in front of me struck a conversation with someone a few people back. His managed to slowly sneak his way forward until he was level with me and proceeded to shouldered me out and try to squeeze in. His body language was incredible by the time he was level with me he had turned his back to me and was standing hands on hips slowly squeezing me out. I was talking only English to Ange & the kids so this guy thought was some hick tourist well the look on his face when I tapped him on the shoulder and said in my best hick tourist italian “Scusi ma le non sta in linea di la” and pointed to the back. Well he mumbled something about we are only talking and he promptly disappeared back to his spot that he had walked away from. BTW Angela is yelling at me while this is going on calling me a bully and to stop being aggressive, Cristian has his ipod on and is completely oblivious but he did spot the body language from the Sicilian. Well I had thought that would put an end to anybody else trying anything, well forget it as soon as the line started to move it was on for young and old. They were coming from all directions and these were the locals. As the line moved they would just jump the barrier or climb under or just walk along side you and push in. We made it in withut an international incident and saw some spectacular art. We went out ont the rooftop terrace and had a café surrounded by the cupolas and towers of Florence, absolutely magical. It was our last night so on our way back we went past the Ponte Vecchio, Piazza Del Repubblica and back to Vivoli for the best gelato so far on the trip. Florence was a magical place its hard to believe that an Aussie family on our Trafalgar tour didn’t like it and did not see the value of visiting. We have enjoyed our short stay but it is time to move on. We packed, checked out and headed for the train station and are now on a Freccia Rossa, high speed train heading towards Roma and then Napoli and Sorrento.