Friday, May 1, 2015

Florence - Friday - 5/1/15

Well last night was interesting. Because it's a boutique hotel, the rooms are smaller and the building isn't as solid. That being said, whenever our neighbor used the bathroom there was very loud noise from the pipes in the wall all around our bed. That's pretty awful huh? I also forgot how in hotels you can often hear your neighbors slamming the door shut over and over. It wasn't so bad that I felt we needed to change rooms, but we'll see how tonight goes. 

To make things even worse, I woke up feeling a little sick. No fever Thank God, and my throat was fine, but the glands in my neck were sore and swollen and I was just feeling very worn down. My body was screaming, "would you please just rest already and get back to your normal schedule?!"

The most frustrating part of this trip is sleeping. Last night I woke up half a dozen times, and it's been that way every single night. I'm not sure traveling to this time zone is a good idea for me going forward. I definitely don't remember having this time change issue when I came to Europe 9 years ago at the ripe young age of 21. 

Anyway, breakfast was fine. It was your typical buffet, but they had those individual packets of Nutella which I love! My cafe americana wasn't that great, and Eric said his cappuccino wasn't that great either. Oh well, not a big deal. 

Restaurant where we ate breakfast was very pretty

After breakfast I relaxed in the room and took a tylenol. I have to avoid Nsaids because of my stomach issues but if I get worse I might just bite the bullet and take an anti inflammatory. There are pharmacias everywhere so I will stop in one and see if there is anything that might help. 

We finally headed out sometime between noon and 1. Aman recommended a restaurant she ate at for her birthday called "Zaza", so we asked the concierge to make a reservation. Once I was up and going, I started to feel a lot better. The tylenol definitely helped. 

View of the Duomo at the end of our street - It doesn't even look real!

The line was too long to go inside the Duomo, so I took a picture in front of the massive doors instead

We bought tickets to see the Duomo and by the time we got in line to enter, it was just way too long. Our tickets allowed us to enter a few buildings near the Duomo, including the Baptistry of St John, so we went there first. 

Interior of the Baptistry of St John

Scary - Eric said that is supposed to be the devil

I liked these tiles inside the Baptistry of St John

The line to go up the bell tower was super long as well, so we decided to go back later and instead headed to the Piazza de Michelangelo. The weather was a bit cooler and we both wore jackets. There was no sun, all clouds, but that's good weather for touring. Throughout this whole trip I kept thinking how tough it must be to tour through Europe in the summer. How do people fight these crowds and stand in lines all day when it's 85 to 90 degrees? 

We walked over the scenic river to another part of town and up many flights of stairs to get to the plaza. Of course we end up doing the most strenuous walk on the day I don't feel well. 

Lots of stairs to get to the Piazza de Michaelango

We made it to the first viewpoint and it was so nice! There were benches and trees and it was very peaceful. There were also many potted trees that grew lemons. I don't think I've ever seen a lemon tree. 

Taking a break at the first viewpoint


Lots of lemon trees and views for days

We continued up all the stairs to the piazza and it was definitely worth the walk. The view was spectacular and there was also a gelato festival taking place! Eric was photographer for the day, and he snapped away at the scenery. He managed to get a few nice shots of me without other tourists in the background. 

Taking a pic for Instagram!

One of the views from the Piazza de Michelangelo

Piazza de Michelangelo

I was hungry at that point and decided on a chocolate Magnum ice cream bar for 2.20€. It's probably been years since I've had a Magnum ice cream bar and it was very chocolaty and delicious!

Me and my Magnum

I guess it's a Nutella fest too!

We continued taking in the views and walking around. 

I was able to get a nice shot of Eric after shoving a few rude tourists out of my way

Florence has many trees and is surrounded by mountains, as you can see here

There were several restaurants surrounding the piazza. I saw an enticing aperitivo that was was set up in one restaurant. An aperitivo is when you order a cocktail and the restaurant offers a bunch of appetizers to compliment your drink for a very low price. Unfortunately it doesn't look I'll be drinking for a few days until I'm completely healthy. 

At this point I started to feel fatigue, and also started to complain. I bought a water bottle (1.50€) and muscled through one last set of stairs to reach another viewing point with a famous church. 

Heading up to yet another church and another viewing point

Feeling cranky and muscling through the last tourist site of the day

We don't have these views in Boston!

For being sick I looked pretty good!

We hung out and enjoyed our surroundings. We went inside the church and rested on the pews. Then it was time to head back down all those stairs which was much easier than going up! Eric realized the Duomo closed at 5, so we went straight there to try to get in before it closed. 

The inside of the church was impressive. I love the colors

Walking through town and heading back to the Duomo

The line for the Duomo was still quite long. I guess we'll have to go back tomorrow morning before the tickets expire. 

At this point I was completely exhausted so we went back to the hotel. I laid in bed for a few hours and couldn't fall asleep. How frustrating. 

We relaxed until we had to leave for our 7pm dinner reservation. It was a 5 minute walk to Zaza, which was a large restaurant with tons of playful decor. The menu was enormous and overwhelming. The waiter didn't approach our table for at least ten minutes and I think it's because he knew customers take forever to decide what they want. Eric ordered wine for himself and I stuck to water. The bread basket was huge and the food was great for the most part. The fried artichoke and roasted pepper appetizers were the best items we ordered. 


Generous bread basket

Fried artichokes were addicting and delicious

These peppers were sweet and oh so flavorful

Eric ordered a beef entree and I didn't like it. It had great flavor but a lot of fat. I thought Eric should have sent it back but he decided to eat it. I took two bites and had to spit most of it out. Did you know Florence is known for beef and steaks? Eric figured this well-known establishment would be the perfect spot to try Florence's famous beef, and unfortunately he thought wrong! At least my lasagna was hearty and hit the spot. 

Eric's beef entree

My hearty lasagna

One thing I strongly disliked about this restaurant and a reason I'll never go back, is that they allowed a woman to go table to table with a basket of Zaza products (like olive oil, etc) and try to sell them to us. I don't even have words... Talk about inappropriate!  She approached our table and I am sure she got my hint after the death stare I gave her. 

After eating, I started to feel sleepy again so we headed to the hotel. It was a beautiful night but I just didn't feel well enough to stay out, and we planned to get up early and go to the Duomo before the long lines. 

If you're someone who is sensitive to environmental changes, you might want to think twice before traveling to time zone so different from your own. It was a huge lesson learned for me. You live and learn! My biggest concern at that point was 1) actually falling asleep before midnight and actually sleeping for several consecutive hours and 2) waking up and feeling better. Good night!


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  3. The views are definately a site to see. What a beautiful city. Great picture taking