Monday, May 26, 2008

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Monday, May 26, Florence. I got up around 7:30 and made my way to Roma Termini and the train for Firenze. It was a beautiful train, one of the high speed versions. I've purchased a first class "global pass" from Eurail and I get to travel first class. Not bad. Many trains give our free drinks and snack to first class passengers. The train departed at 9:55 a.m. and we arrived in Firenze at 11:30 a.m. I found my way to the Tourst Information and got info about getting to the Hostel. "Take-a bus 17 to the end," they said. "It's there."

Right they were. It turns out the Hostel is about a 20 minute bus ride out of the city. Once there, it is necessary to walk about 1/4 mile up a long driveway to the building. In a way, it's worth it. The hostel is a converted "Villa" in the hills with sheep ranches and vineyards around the property. It is quiet and beautiful. But a bit remote. I was able to check in and check my bags at 2 p.m. and made my way back into the town by the same bus that took me there. As was the case in Rome, one is supposed to have a ticket, but no one checks and no one cares!! So, "when in Rome"...

First let me say that the weather is quite warm, around 80 degrees or so. Fairly humid. It's been the same for the last 4 or 5 days, but after some pretty heavy rain in Rome for the first 3 days, I can't complain very much. I enjoy the heat and settled in to getting around the city. After checking about trains to Venice (I'll go on Wednesday), I made my way to Ponte Vecchio. It's a bridge spanning Fuimi Arno and dates back to the first third of the 14th Century. It abounds with activity, and the main commercial activity is GOLD!! I found a piece I really liked, and when I asked the price, I was told 5000 Euros. A bit out of my budget, but nice just the same.

After wandering around the bridge and area for about an hour, I wandered the city. I realized it was time to find out where Michelangelo's David is housed and go see it. It turns out it is in a building called the Galleria dell' Accademia. It also turned out that, because it was a Monday, it was closed. I did speak with the docent inside the door where David "lives" and was assured that it'll be open and ready to view at 8:30 a.m. tomorrow morning. So, to quote the Terminator -- "I'll be baaaack"..

I made my way around much of the city. The areas of interest are easily within walking distance. Not much traffic is allowed, no busses and very few cars. I found a variety of churches, piazzas and biscilicas. One of the most famous, Cathedral di Santa Maria del Fiore and Museo dell'Opera del'Duomo are adjacent to each other. The were was huge crowd of people sitting on the steps, talking and walking around. It was quite a sight.

So, it's time to head back to the hostel, get a shower and a bit of rest. I'll be up early and out on the town -- so, stayed tuned.