Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Firenze: Last day

My hotel room view...of an A/C unit. I didn't take a shot w/ the shutters fully opened, because it looks right into somebody's kitchen and I didn't want to look like a creeper.

Closer-up view of the gorgeous Duomo facade

It's a bit windy...

Flower stalls along the Piazza della Repubblica

Along the Piazza della Repubblica, there are all these little shops and a few market stalls, as well as the Post Office (by far the most important thing for me to do in Italy)

Market at San Lorenzo

San Lorenzo

Vivoli--amazing gelateria on a little side street. Stacey recommended the pear caramel gelato, and the first time I went they didn't have it. I tried the raspberry and the coconut, though, and they were excellent. When I went back on my last day, they had the pear caramel--it was amazing!

Italian version of Harry Potter poster--"Oscuri segreti saranno revelati"--Dark secrets will be revealed!

Harry Potter e il Principe Mezzosangue--Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince

So, I've never been one of those girls who fantasizes about weddings, but these dresses turned me into one (slightly). I passed this shop on Via Cavour everyday to and from my hotel, and I just love these dresses.

On my final day in Florence, I did all my souvenir shopping and mailed off my postcards. Was still a little worn out (I did way too much on that second day, as you can tell by the number of pics on day 2 vs. day 3 and 4!), so I stayed in the city centre. Had dinner at a touristy place near San Lorenzo and it was pretty awful--not even as good as what I can make at home. Travel lesson learned: avoid restaurants with multi-lingual menus. This one had every menu item written in Italian, English and Japanese. The house wine was sub-par and the tortellini was definitely just the dried pasta you can get in the store (tasted under-cooked and came to me way too fast to be fresh). Borgo Antico, on the other hand, had a hand-written menu in Italian and my tagliatelle with wild boar sauce took a long time to arrive...but it was worth the wait. It reminds me of that Ferenc Mate book, "The Hills of Tuscany", where he said the food takes forever and the Italians approach food/life with a relaxed attitude--piano, piano con calma (slowly, slowly, with patience).
The next morning I took the train to Pisa and had a quick cappuccino and croissant before flying back to Leeds. In just 2 hrs and 5 min, I went from 35 to 15 degrees (90 to 60) and from sun to rain--and I felt like I was home again.

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