Friday, September 12, 2008

Florence Is Still Beautiful in the Rain

We got up around 8:30 to make our way to Florence. We had to take a shuttle from the port into the center of Livorno. From there, we took a bus to the train station and then a 1 1/2 hour train to Florence. Unfortunately, we missed our first train by a couple of minutes, so we had to wait another hour. We finally got to Florence at 12:45.

Once in Florence we headed straight to the Bargello, a museum that our guidebook said was an "underrated treasure." I can't really say I agree. I mean, it was nice, but for 7 euro, and compared to the Uffitzi and Academia that we saw later, it wasn't worth it.

Next we went to lunch at a cute little Italian restaurant recommended to us by our guidebook. The menu was not in English, and all of the patrons were Italian.  Good signs. We had delicious ravioli and a tomato soup that is very traditional. Abigail has made this soup for us before. I think she leaned it from her house-mom when she studied abroad in Florence. It was fantastic!

Of course, our meal wouldn't be complete without gelato, so we stopped and got some. Again, delicious. While eating our gelato, we explored the Duomo. I love it! I think it is just absolutely stunning. The fact that the church was built with a hole on the top just waiting for the day when technology would allow for dome-shaped roofs, is mind-blowing.

We reserved our tickets for the Academia in advance, so we made our way there next. Even though I've seen it before, the David is so awe-inspiring! I didn't want to hype him up too much for Dan, but no worries. Dan was just as impressed as I was. How could you not be? We did a Rick Steves audio mp3 tour that we brought from home. It was very helpful and informative.

We didn't have much time left in the day before we needed to head back to the ship. So we raced to go see the synagogue. On our way to the synagogue, we saw a kosher deli! We just had to stop and get some deli meat for a make-shift Shabbat dinner. Since it was our first Shabbat as a married couple, I wanted to do something Jewish to help set the tone for the rest of the marriage. This would work. We got turkey, pastrami, salami and even goose! I'd never had it before so I was really excited about that one.

By this time, it was POURING rain! We had an umbrella, but the rain just laughed in our faces and came down horizontally. We made the decision to just head to the train station and go back to the ship. By the time we got there, we were completely drenched. But, we ate our meat and enjoyed the ride back.

Unfortunately, we heard that there was a going to be a train strike starting tonight at 9:00 p.m. and ending tomorrow at 9:00 p.m. This meant that we wouldn't be able to get into Florence tomorrow. So Dan had a great idea of just booking an excursion through the ship. We rushed to get to the desk before they closed at 9:00 and found one tour that was a combination of Pisa and Florence on Your Own. It would only provide transportation back and forth and was about 10 times the price of what it would have cost us on our own, but at least we'd be able to get to Florence.

We almost missed dinner by the time we sorted everything out. Luckily it all worked out and we're off to Pisa and Florence tomorrow.

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