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Day 18 / Florence
Took the 927 train from Venice to Florence. We arrived at 1135am!
Anyway, you might be seeing firenze (italian name of florence) more often. Just so you know, florence mountains are rumored to be the background of mona lisa =p
Thanks to my brilliant planning, we had no problem locating our hostel, which was 2 streets away.
We stayed at Ostello Archi Rossi – booked from hostelclub website. We had a triple private room which comes with an attached toilet. It’s a rather large hostel which comes with a breakfast set every morning. You will get to choose from 9 choices and there’s some side snacks in case you’re not full!
It was a saturday and after we placed our luggage at the storage area, we took a map and roamed around the area and we stumbled upon the religious centre which houses the Palazzo Vecchio and the Duomo Duomo.
Gold Door of Florence Baptistery aka Gates of Paradise.
Being a Saturday, it was really crowded and there were just people everywhere. We didn’t want to pay for the baptistery. In the end, we decided to climb the Giotto Tower to catch a view of the city.
It was a massive 634 steps before we reached the top. there was 2 rest points if I did not remember wrongly and some parts of the stairway was so narrow that only one person can climb at a time. Meaning that the other person will have to stick itself as close to the wall as possible, so that the rest can move along. (Sounds hard to explain but oh wells)
Are you afraid of heights? Do u dare to stand on this and jump or look down?
And finally when I reach the top, the view is gorgeous.
And then we realised that the people who climbed the duomo was higher than us.. HOWEVER, we realise that if we climbed the Duomo, we will be unable to appreciate the beauty of the Dome.. so we rather climb the giotto tower and admire the beauty of the Dome.
However, do take note that it is not exactly an open area.. It is fenced up.. like that.
Take a deep breathe~ Can you see the pretty mountains in the background? Then you think of mona lisa.. People say that the mountains seen in Mona Lisa is believed to be from the mountains of florence..
Playing with camera effects =p
Neat City Planning~
and.. i was saying that i see koreans everywhere.. evidence.
And of course, the artist did not disappoint her fans and she took out her pen and drew another brilliant art piece. (JK)
Despite getting cooked in the sun, she attempted for a second piece but she gave up. There were simply too many details >_<
Then.. we chanced upon a marathon!! The sun was burning yet somewhere in the city.. the people were gearing up for something important.
Piazza della Signoria
Piazza della Signoria might just host the finest collection of outdoor statues in the world; featuring statues of Cosmos I di Merdici in the centre of the square, the famous replica of Michelangelo’s David, Hercules and Cacus and the gorgeous Foutain of Neptune, each resting along the Plazzo Vecchio building.
So.. this is the legendary David.
Oh wait, he is actually a replica. The real one is locked up in the museum and you have to pay to see it.
Why is he legendary? Well, he has the perfect body, or so they say.
Anyway, you should call him Michelangelo’s David.
“Perseus with the Head of Medusa”, by Cellini (1554)
Since you’re famous, I’ll take a few more photos of you.
If statues could talk.. what do you think they will say?
Walked passed Uffizi museum which we chose not to enter. However, some people actually proclaim it as one of the best galleries.. maybe you should give it a chance if you have the spare cash =p
This is River Arno.
We then walk down, to another bridge, and walked towards this church –
Want to know how awesome is it? this little kid here finished the whole cup of ice cream which was meant for his mum..
Feeling sad that I have chose a weird flavour which was “NEW” (ginger flavoured ice cream), I decided to buy something else from the shop. It was so satisfying =D
Then we proceeded on towards Michaengelo Hill. Initially, we wanted to take a bus up the hill but we had trouble locating the correct bus stop as there were some road diversion (maybe due to the marathon?) We ended up walking there..
Maybe these were the mountains Leonardo saw that day.
Followed the signs..
walking up, up, up the Piazzale Michelangelo.
This 19th century piazza has undoubtedly the best panoramic view of Florence. The square is decorated with copies of Michelangelo’s sculptures, but it’s the view people come here to see.
Look at that awkward looking cloud =p
Dear artist couldn’t leave this breathtaking view without penning it down.
We attempted to wait for sunset but it was too early..
Not forgetting, mr. imporant.
A very creative structure. If only I could package that scenery into a briefcase and send it home.
I don’t know what we were doing that day but we ended up at a michelin restaurant for dinner. we were out of our minds.
We found this restaurant using Guide Pal Florence (a new app on iPhone). After eating the food there and being a low-value customer, I promised myself to write them a very good review for their excellent food served in this restaurant.
Despite ordering very little, they served us champagne and a full platter of appetizer! We really felt super guilty for ordering so little but the dishes were really pricy. After reading everyone’s feedback, we were really extremely lucky to be able to walk into this restaurant without any reservation. The restaurant is very cosy which in other words mean that you can hear the next table talking =/ There were a group of americans and an american couple. We didn’t have to eavesdrop, because you can just hear everything..
Somehow I wish I had more money and indulge in a full course meal. I would definitely return! If I visit florence ever again.
Pear Ravioli was so so so very awesome. After eating this, I got addicted to ravioli and i ate it almost every chance I had when I was still in italy.
Su Su Su.. (tiramiSU) mascarpone overdose.
Rice Ice Cream
As you can see, it was candlelight setting.
Day 19 / Pisa & Cinque Terre
Woke up really early to catch the 828am train to Pisa (7.30 euros)
As the sun was very very very hot, we took the bus to Pisa. Basically, you just alight when everyone else alights, or you can ask the driver =) Walking will take about 30 mins and it will be 10 mins by the bus.. Did we buy a ticket? hmmmm. the bus was too crowded to think of that question.
It was a Sunday.. well..
Short history about the tower: It was built on unstable subsoil. It was built back in like 1173 but work stopped at the third stage because the building was already collapsing.
A century later, 3 more stages were added, constructed to tilt in the opposite direction.
And her friends decided to take some photoshoot again.. so.. the artist is back!
Left half my heart at Michelangelo hill and another half at pisa.
After a whooping 2-3 hours under the hot sun posing and taking photo of the real leaning tower of pisa, we finally moved on to our next destination – Cinque Terre!
Took the train from Pisa to La Spieza then to Cinque Terre.
The Cinque Terre is a rugged portion of coast on the Italian Riviera. It is in the Liguria region of Italy, to the west of the city of La Spezia. “The Five Lands” is composed of five villages: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore.
It is a UNESCO Heritage Site (Yay! I visited another one.)
FYI, you are supposed to buy some pass to take the trains and to walk the paths. It cost 10 euros and if you’re doing the walking trail, you will need it because they have people to check >_<
Monterosso al Mare – the furthest and most touristy town.
If I had time, I would sit at the rocks and paint.
This is a true yellow LEMON TREE!
“I wonder how, I wonder why, … and all that I can see, is just a yellow lemon tree!”
View while climbing up the steps.
Anyway, don’t the colourful houses just remind you of Murano & Burano back in Venice? I always wonder if the colour houses were a thinkg of the past or not. I mean..how do you actually coordinate your neighbours to paint a different colour from you? And you can’t change the colour of your house as and when you like.. Most probably you have to seek “approval”.
I like it when I can actually see the horizon.. the line where the sky meets the sea.
the locks of..?
I wonder how much courage it took for them to climb down the steep rocks.. and have a picnic there. oh gawd. if humans had 9 lives, i would risk 1 life for it.
Kebab sandwich =p the cheapest food you can ever find.
Duff(y) beef. The best lager I have tasted. Alright I don’t drink lager prior to this.
Kebab again for dinner.
Day 2o / Outlet Shopping: Space & The Mall
Directions to Prada “Space”
Take the Montevarchi regional train and alight and take a taxi to the prada “Space”. We reached really early and we share a cab with 2 other girls and we happened to be the first 5 outside the “gate”. However, taxis after taxis slowly came, and soon there was a small crowd. (By the way, it was a Monday morning)
The doors only open quite some time later and everyone ran to dash to get a number from the machine.. and stay put outside the main door. When I said dash, it’s seriously dash. WHY? we were the first 5 people to arrive, but we only manage to get 20+ if i didn’t remember wrongly.
Well, dear yours truly who know nuts about branded items.. waited patiently and took photos. I seriously should have taken a video of people rushing in when the flood gates opened.
Anyways, il-bon (number 1) girl who entered the store was a korean and she walked out with 5-7 bags. WOW. By the way, you seriously have to snatch the bag because many items only have one piece available (how often is there a defect?)
Their items were really cheap! Friend got a miumiu bag (with a slight but obvious defect) for 330 euros and the prada wallets cost 195 euros. I think.. if you buy from retail, it’s at least 800SGD?!
Well, we (difficultly) move on to our next destination -> The Mall.
Took another taxi back to the train station and proceeded to Rignano station. Took a taxi (4 euros) to the Mall.
explore yourself on the various brands available but me and my friend stepped out of that place with a wallet each and some goodies from godiva =p
Attempted to do a tax refund to get cash instantly but the queue was too long and each person in the queue wanted to claim multiple receipts. Gave up and queued for the shuttle bus which would bring us back to the central station in Florence!
We went back to the city area and I bought some sandals from H&M (something which i have been eyeing for a while). It was only 12.95 euros!
Passionfruit flavour ice pop! The one and only ice pop i ate the whole trip.
My favourite drink =p anyhow whack also nice moscato =p for 8 euros.
Bye Bye Bye Firenze. Moving on to Rome!