We left Rome by train. Missed it. Got on another, and made it to Firenze by 10. We walked out of the deserted train station and the colder temperature of the north brushed across our cheeks as we tried to orient ourselves in this new city. The first sight we behold is the rolling dome of Il Duomo. Its height and mass dwarf everything around it. This place, this spot where we were standing was the rebirth of the of the time after the Middle Ages. This is what they call the Renaissiance, and we were staring at one of its peak monuments of achievment and art. Taking our eyes away was tough, yet we had to find our hostel among the curving streets of Firenze. Entering our hostel, we found the key to our bedroom with four beds...O ya, before I forget, two more people came with us than were originally planned, but we just snuck them in the hostel and they had to sleep four to two beds by sliding them together. Funny stuff.
Dinner was not hard to find and we sat down outside. I am so excited to be in a new place I can't make a straight sentence. I am blown away by the differences of Firenze to Rome. Immediately the whole feel was changed. Quieter. More serene, and most of all, artistically genius. Every corner, every turn looked as if constructed with ever so thoughtful plans and strategy. We oriented ourselves always by the Duomo. Its enormity could be seen from anywhere. To continue though, dinner was phenomenal. We then went to a local bar for the rest of the night and after, returned home for some sleep.
I woke up first as usual and roused the small army in our four bed hostel. We got ready and left to find a cappucino. As soon as we leave the hostel we hear noise and shouting. To our left we turn the corner to reveal a huge bustling market of leather, scarves, and belts. The picture above shows just a whisper of it. We walked down the road with the sun sending its warming rays to the dark pavement, warming the air and chasing away the chill of the night. Florence was awakening...to show us all of its splendor.
Our obvious first destinatoin was the Duomo, and to get to the top. We paid 8 Euro and started the climb. Higher and higher. Steps upon steps, but it seemed so little for what was to come. Our heads popped out of the top and what we saw left all of us without words. We just stared. 360 degrees around us stood a city, so brilliant, so different, and so-awesome. The red roofs contrasted ith the white plaster walls. The sun reflected off the river and revealed its sprawling bridges. Vineyards in the distance and siluoetted hills stood silent yet heavy with age. We couldn't leave the Duomo overlooking this beatifully artistic city which held some of the most most famous works of art of all time. Yet after an hour, we started the descent to the ground.
We then made our way to the river and sat on a bridge briefly deciding on lunch. After all this, we went to Piazzale di Michelangelo, the best view of the city. Another ascent, but this time, awaintng us was a full view of Firenze with the Duomo in all its glory. We arrived at the perfect time of the sun as it started to send shadows across the city, creating a beautiful contrast of the pastel colors and feeling of Firenze. Again, the beauty was like nothing we have seen. This place is absolutely incredible. Italy, I mean holds so many secrets and absolutely breathtaking views. Again, we could not leave. We had to stay. Steps nearby seemed perfect to behold the city, and so we sat there, sun warming our faces and the city prodding our thoughts. After a while, the sun started its wane, and we started our walk back. We passed the Uffizi, the fake David, and other monuments as well. Tourists were here and there, and we were somewhere in between, not quite locals, yet not tourists by any means.
We returned home and got ready for the discoteca!! It is called Space, and so we kept making jokes like, "hey guys, are you ready to go to space? " We made every joke possible throughout the weekend. Anyway, we went to dinner and then a bar. At the bar, the table of girls next to us was speaking some language, I couldn't quite hear, so I just went over in french...I mean, hey, how could it go wrong? Well it did. They were German! I felt like an idiot, but at least they spoke French too, and fluent Italian. They were all very nice and we invited them to space! Haha, they came with us and it was CRAZY! There were Europeans everywhere dancing and being...I don't know, Euro. We went to third story of the second floor and danced our faces off there. All American music. It was really funny. After that, we got home at like 330-4, but I got lost on my way out. I took a complete wrong turn and ended up east of the city. Thank God I speak Italian because I ran into two Italian guys my age and they were looking for the train’s station too! They were form Livorno and visiting Florence like me. Anyway, we went together to the train station and had a great conversation too! Once at the train station I knew my way home, so we said our goodbyes and grazie's and parted ways.
So now it’s Sunday in Florence and I am awake at 9. I leave the Hostel knowing the guys won't awaken until 12 or something. I stopped and got an espresso, and sat in a beautiful park with a fountain. I then try to find someplace to rent bikes so we can bike to the countryside. Instead I find a bus that goes to the Chianti region...you know ...WINE! In the afternoon, we boarded the bus to go north! I was so excited to see the countryside because so far, all we have seen is city. It was well worth it too, because as we exited the walls of the city, the country opened its arms to us. Rolling hills and vineyards stretched across acres and acres of land. As far as the eye could see, the classic Tuscan countryside awaited. I was frozen with the expanse and wonder of it all! The bus ride was an hour long, and dropped us off in this tiny town. Our destination was Il Castello di Montefioralle. Evidently, a grand castle of some such thing. Anyway, we started climbing the road, and it was HUGE! Our thighs were on fire by the end! But they view of everything was massively beautiful. I felt like I was looking at the calendars we sell at Barnes and Noble...but no, instead, I am actually here! Our trip was nearing its end and so we boarded the bus, saying goodbye to Chianti, not before buying a bottle, and we ventured back to Florence. Then a train to Rome, which oddly enough now feels like my home. I am so comfortable here in every way. When we exited the station in Rome, I felt more at ease with the familiarity. The bumps of the streets, and the light from the fountains.
So now starts another week of school...if you could call it that. My biggest goal now is to stop spending money. It is ridiculous how fast it goes when you lose so much with the exchange! Thanks for reading everyone! Ciao!!