Florence in 3 Days

Note: This post is an attempt on my part to consolidate past travel journals into this blog. This particular trip around Western Europe was taken in 2005. To read the complete series of post from this trip: Western Europe Summer

Train ride from hell

We met an Italian girl on a train from Venice to Florence, 3 hours to the south and she told us that Italian train can be worse than that of Laos and Cambodia where she’d just spent a month in.

During the conversation the three of us were sitting on the floor of the train, sandwiched together with our giant backpacks between the restroom and the train door. The area wasn’t AC’d so we were sweating profusely and two and a half hours never felt so long in my entire life. Every time the train slowed down we would peek out of the window, hoping fervently to see the sign for Florence. Yeah, it was my welcome to Florence.

Luckily Florence turned out to be a delight

Ponte Vechhio bridget at sunset
Ponte Vechhio bridget at sunset
Florence Skyline
Florence Skyline

The weather has been kind to us, food is aplenty, and the city center is so compact that often you turn around a corner at random and you see a venerable looking building with a line of people around it. So you fish out your guidebook to figure out what that building is, what the people are waiting in line for, and whether it’ll be worth it to join the line.

Personally, I think Uffizi is overrated. When you have to wait 2 hours to get in like that I feel that I’m entitled to at least bring a painting home with me, you know? I would have to recommend the smaller, less waiting in line, and cheaper museum behind the Duomo. It has works by Michelangelo, Donatello, and the original Baptistry door. You’re even allowed to take pictures!

We got lucky when we went to visit David. We were ready to pay extra for reservation to avoid waiting hours in line when accidentally, thinking it was the door for making reservations, we went it through the exit and avoided the line altogether! (we still had to pay the regular admission fee though) David was bigger than I thought, and just as sexy. He looks a little bit worried, don’t you think? Understandably so I guess, he’s about to fight Goliath! I think he’s worth every cents of the 8 euros I paid.

All the churches that we visited charged admission fees, unlike what I’ve been informed. So we didn’t visit many of them, actually we visited only one (Santa Croce, 4 euros and worth it). We figured Rome would be a better place to spend our money on churches.

A Trip to Pisa

Pisa's not leaning anymore
Pisa's not leaning anymore

Today we went on a day trip to Pisa. Glad to see that yup, it’s still leaning. Do you know that it used to lean the other way? They tried to fix it by inserting a slab of concrete and then it started to lean the other way. I overheard this from another tourist. It costs 15 euros to climb to the top of the tower!

We spent time watching people pose for pictures. It was quite hilarious, really.

Anyway, I’m gonna try to upload some pictures, hope it’ll work. Tomorrow, we’ll be on our way to Rome!

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4 Replies to “Florence in 3 Days”

  1. this sounds like a real downer. too bad it's not the florence we saw. re: admission fees, all these strucutres are old and unreceiving of patronage form yesteryear, hence the need to charge admission fees so i never begrudged becasue they are all resaonable. re: trians, i LOVE italian trains and i LOVE th fact that they are not airconditioned; i made the mistake of getting the firstclass eurostar from venice to rome and i ahted it, trapped in airconditioning with MORE peopel on cell phones yakking. 2nd class rocks and we always met great people that way and had great conversations. too bad about the uffixi- a wonder of the world in terms of art- a fascinating piece of history ifs the fac tthat it was completely emptied out in a matter of days to guard against nazi bombong and looting!, also, book tickets ahead of time, hotels will do it for you and no wait! gorgeous firenze!!! you should go back and enjoy it!!!

  2. Pisa was indeed cool. I am glad my dad was around to encourage us to climb the tower. Not sure I would have done it if I was on my own (somehow too touristy), but it was so cool.
    You can reserve ahead of time for the Uffizi. I don't remember waiting 2 hours. Ok, art isn't my thing either, but it was cool to see.

    If you can at all pay for the fast trains, do it. The Eurostars are worth the price, especially as reservations are required so you know you get a seat. Was the AC broken or just not there?

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