The chef didn't get much sleep last night which was unfortunate as I had set the
alarm for 06:00, the plan being that we would catch the 07:30 bus from just down the road, knock off Florence, missing the crowds, and then make our way back.
block was of course quite empty at that time of the day, however it took ages for any hot water to reach the shower head. I was beginning to resign myself to having a cold shower when finally it appeared.
Scrubbed up and fed we made our way to the bus stop in the village, arriving ten minutes before the scheduled 07:30 bas due time as advised. I was travelling in just a short sleeved shirt and trousers, my thinking being that it would soon
warm up and I'd be comfortable. The Chef, wisely was wearing a denim jacket to protect her from the early morning temperature. I was not and stood there feeling rather cold to say the least. But never mind the weather turned out to be another cracker. Baking
hot, and for me personally too hot. There's no point in having very hot days unless you have nothing to do and can keep out of the sun or lie out in it and chill (and fry).
bus journey in to Florence was about an hour. The hairy, hilly journey was undertaken by a driver who could multi-task. As well as driving he could chat most of the way hands free on his phone and turn sideways to chat up a pretty young lady he seemed
to know sat the front. They don't fit seatbelts to these busses for no good reason.
On arrival in Florence we took at look at the Basilica di San Lorenzo, which I think
may have been the original location of the Catholic Church's School for Child-Beating Bullying & Abuse, run by nuns for nuns. Their influence was to be felt in Orpahanages and Childrens homes throughout the world. Well I think that's what
We were too early to be allowed in, and when they opened, we would have to pay, so we were off - to the famous Cathedral, the Santa Maria del Fiore, with its
orange tiled roof. Next to it was the Campanile (Bell Tower) clad in white, green and pink Tuscan marble, and the Baptistry. Once again I was struggling to get everything in the photograph. I had already decided not to bother using the video
camera on this trip, and now I think I will leave the SLR camera behind as the lens can't cope when I'm up close to the subject, and it's pretty heavy to lug about along with everything else. As usual the little Canon pocket camera was the fall back position.
I was hoping to go in to the cathedral to see the magnificent dome painting, but by about 08:45 the queues were already very long. It really wasn't worth the effort, especially as I wasn't
sure if we needed to buy tickets to get in.
Then it was off to the Piazza della Signoria home of numerous statues, and the magnificent Fountain of Neptune, which,
being our luck, was covered in a temporary roof and surrounded by covered fencing for a long term renovation including the replacement of all the water system. No help to me though.
then headed for the Ponte Vecchio, the bridge across the river with shops and flats built on top of it. For some strange reason nearly all of the shops were selling gold and other jewellery items.
I was beginning to be amazed at just how walkable the city centre of Florence is. We were making cracking progress. For me there was probably only one other thing I fancied doing, and that was to view the city from the
Piazzale Michelangelo. An observation point across the river, up a steep hill and then up loads of steps. Not recommended for those which a chest or heart condition.
of course, when we arrived at the top there was a large car park full of cars, tour busses and even motorhomes - but we prefer to do things the hard way.
After a few photographs
we made our way back down the hill intent on buying a couple of €5 take-away pizzas we'd seen advertised back down near the river. Having decided to add a couple of glasses of freshly squeezed orange juice to the order, and sit and eat it as invited to,
our bill came to €26 - screwed again. I think we'll have to resort to doing what we used to do, and that is make up a couple of filled crusty baguettes and take those and two drinks out with us. I'm quite happy to put a bit in to the local economy, but
I don't like the thought of them sniggering behind my back because they've caught another pair of unsuspecting tourists.
We had a terrible time finding the different location for
the bus stop for our return journey, but we did eventually find it and were glad for the chance to sit down for an hour.
That was hard work. It was hot and became very crowded,
but hey, that's what being a tourist is all about. It was harder for The Chef because she'd been there twice before and endured it for me.
This evening, thankfully is cooler, and
we share it with a new neighbour to our right. A Spanish couple with a caravan, which has no carpet on the floor and coupled with their having all the windows open and watching mindless TV via the internet they're in a noisy box on wheels.
Tomorrow is a rest and wash day. We could have just left, but we need to hang around in the hope the local engineer can fix our gas valve problem on Monday.