Florence Day 1

Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Florence, Tuscany, Italy
We arrived at the train station around 3:30 PM. Of course, we first went to our hostel. This check-in went a little differently. After finding the address to our hostel, there was a sign that said we needed to go to a different address to check-in. Luckily this address was right around the corner, but it was still a little annoying. We got checked in and dropped our bags off. Also, no air conditioning in this room, so we had some hot evenings. The hotel name was Affittacamere Casa Micol . It was the cheapest one, so of course that was our option ;). It was pretty close to everything though, one block from Piazza San Marco, where we walked every time.

After dropping our bags, we decided that we needed to wash clothes . I was down to 2 clean t-shirts and Dilyara was completely out. We invested some money (19 euros) and two hours into washing and drying (partially) our clothes. Some of the clothes were still wet, so we decided to not spend money drying them. Instead, we hung them all around our room to dry while we explored the city (it reminded Giessen times to us).

By this time, it was around 6 PM. We got ready and walked toward the main cathedral in Florence. On the main cathedral plaza, there was a tourist information center, so we decided to stop by and see what they recommended we see. Luckily, this evening the Gallery of Uffizi was open until 10 PM. We went there and checked it out. Before going to Florence we heard that there are 3 hour lines to get to Uffizi Gallery and Academia Gallery without a reservation. If you want to get a reservation, you don't need to stay in line at all, but the ticket is about twice as expensive (normally 11 euros per person). There was no line, so we bought a ticket and checked it out . There were many famous paintings (like "Birth of Venus") from Michelangelo , Rubens, Da Vinci, etc. There were also many statues of greek gods. No pictures were allowed, except if you take a picture of surrounding areas through the window. Museum’s building is really interesting too, there are gorgeous paintings on the ceilings and walls, no empty space. After 2 hours, we had slowly walked through the museum and continued out.

Next, we went toward the covered bridge; however, we did not get the normal covered bridge ambience, because all of the shops were closed (since it was so late). Right in the middle of it though, a group of young people gathered together and started singing all of a sudden, it was pretty cool J Regardless, we went across the bridge and determined that we should walk here again in daylight.  

Weaving our way in and out of the streets, just in enjoying ourselves we slowly made our way back to the main cathedral . After arriving, we found a nice little pizza place and grabbed some house wine and pizza. The white wine was great here, but we can’t remember the exact name of a restaurant . At the end of the meal, some girls from Honduras wound up sitting at the table next to us and we chatted with them a little bit. They have just come from Rome and Napoli and since we were going there in a couple of days, we asked them about their impressions. Immediately they told us that Napoli was a very scary place and they would not recommend us to stay there. Apparently, Napoli has a pretty bad mafia situation and it is not very safe to walk around some areas and especially in the evenings this city is not the best place to be. After talking to them, we decided to play it safe and stay for 2 nights in Pompeii, instead Napoli. It is always good to meet fellow travelers and get some adviceJ

We then made our way back to the hotel to grab some sleep and prepare for tomorrow.
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