When I got to Florence last night, I hadn’t downloaded the e-mail with my hostel’s directions to my mail app. I couldn’t even tell you the name of the hostel I was staying at. I just knew it was in Florence and breakfast and dinner was included.
You know what isn’t outside Italian train stations? Starbucks. You know who has wifi for people with Italian cell numbers only? Italian McDonald’s.
I spent my first half hour in Florence walking a main street with my iPad out, stopping every twenty feet to see what unlocked wifi signals I picked up. I found one! Such a victory. Such an unnecessary little process.
Today was free walking tour day. It was a rather quick tour around the city’s classic landmarks. Duomo. Statues. Old churches. Dante’s house. Beautiful Europe, as always.
Melinda and I met on the tour and ended up grabbing lunch together, trading stories about backpacking, travel, laundry woes, cares you stop caring about. Today my outfit was black thermo leggings under my black Banana Republic Outlet shorts – not an outfit I ever thought I’d put together. I am so, so sick of my jeans. I bought one secondhand pair too large, the other too small, shrunk them both (shortened one pair) in a laundry mishap, then wore them so much they’re huge. I can’t wait to see where we’re at after tomorrow’s laundry. In other news, it was 67 degrees Fahrenheit today and I wore my Greek sandals. The strap broke in a new spot today. I badly need a tube of super glue.
Lunch: Spaghetti carbonara and iced coffee
Melinda and I went to the Duomo and paid the 8€ to get to the top of the dome. It’s 463 narrow, often spiraling steps up to the top. It’s dizzying. The physical act wasn’t terrible but the spinning would make anyone woozy.
Exhausting. Dizzying. Oh, and absolutely worth it.
Somewhere, immediately, the theme of the trip became “get higher.” Climb. Park Guell with Dad, the platform in Cappadocia with Andrea, two fortresses in Bulgaria, the tower in Brasov, my view of Cinderella’s Castle in Füssen, the wall in Salzburg. I know there were others I’m forgetting. Every time I’m not quite enchanted with a city, I climb something and everything is suddenly better. Florence was already great, but this was something else. Melinda and I were up there for well over an hour. You don’t climb 463 steps for just a photo.
Florence is wonderful. Everything is a-okay here.