Travel slowly, staying in vacation rentals (villas, farms, cottages, apartments)
Report 679: A Student in Florence
By colleenk from MA, Spring 2004
Page 2 of 16: My First day in Florence
Friday and Saturday, April 23 - 24, 2004
The flight over was the best I have ever had to Europe. My whole row was empty which meant that I could lie down to sleep! With the help of my sleep mask and some Ambien I slept a whole 4 hours, which was a new, great experience for me. Gatwick is a bit of a zoo but the Italian airline Meridiana was very nice and I would use them again. They have a 32 kg weight maximum, which I easily made but my carry on was 2 kg over so I had to check it.
The B&B Tourist House Ghiberti in Florence was fantastic. I could not have been happier with my choice. It is new and lovely, with a big room, totally modern bathroom, minbar, extensive breakfast buffet, accommodating hosts who speak English very well, a location very near the Duomo but totally quiet! I would stay here again in a heartbeat. And then there is the free high speed Internet computer in my room!
The weather was sunny and warm and I spent my first afternoon getting totally lost. When I tell you my eyes glaze over at a map, I am not exaggerating. Both my children and my husband love navigating, so I have never been called upon to use that skill. I first set out to find out where my school was. It turns out that it is about 5 minutes from my B&B, but it took me at least an hour to find it! However, getting lost I did wander about the many beautiful piazzas in Florence, past the Ufifizi and over to the Arno. I had forgotten what a compact city it is and with the Duomo as my landmark, I was always able to find my way back home.
I managed to stay awake all day and had an early dinner at Trattoria Le Mossacce. It was the perfect first dinner in Florence for a solo traveler as I was seated at a communal table. Four visitors from Turin and 2 Danish women were seated at my table. Between the Italians' English and my very weak Italian we had a great time. The Danish women spoke English of course and we talked politics a bit, which was interesting.
The atmosphere at Mossacce was great fun and there was a mix of tourists and locals. The specialty seemed to be Bistecca; but I was not that hungry so had some delicious tortellini and mixed antipasti. A wonderful first meal in Italy.
Saturday I spent some time at the wonderful, uncrowded Bargello museum and just wandered the city drinking it all in. Ah Bella Italia I was so happy to be back!
I had dinner with my cousin's daughter who was studying in Florence for the semester. She is adorable and great company. We had dinner at Il Ritrovo, Via de Pucci, 4/A and we both really enjoyed it. Beautifully prepared and presented, wonderful hosts, complimentary drinks, a fabulous house antipasti, wonderful pasta and a good veal dish.
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