A Travellerspoint blog

Final Day in Florence

Wandering around the town

We spent a large portion of the day wandering around looking into different shops. The city is very walkable if you don't get hit by a motorcycle. They fart around cars and pedestrians, it can be a little nerve wracking. We have seen very little traffic control signs. The first couple days we stood at a corner for several minutes when a native Italian walked past us and just walked out in front of a car. The car magically stopped, we have been doing this ever since, but very cautiously.

We saw this building today that was covered in spoons, not sure what it was for.

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The Internet at this hotel is really bad, I've just spent the last 45 minutes trying to upload some photos with no luck. I'll try again in the morning, if I can't, then we'll have to wait till we get to our new hotel tomorrow night.

Love you all,

Posted by barbjean 13:36 Comments (0)

Off to Florence

Another day, another city

This morning we woke and checked out of our hotel in Rome and took the high speed train to Florence. Florence is north of Rome and is considered part of Tuscany. In two days this will be where we meet up with our tour group.

The whole vibe in Florence is very different than Rome. Less people, traffic, dirt and graffiti. We dropped our luggage at the hotel and went out to explore. One thing I want to point out is the people in this country are very friendly. As an example, one night in Rome after eating dinner, our waiter and his assistant stood at the door as we left he restaurant and shook each of our hands, telling us goodbye and thank you for coming. This has been the way it is most meals. The people are incredible, which makes you feel so welcome.

There are several things we want to see in Florence, but since this is the starting point for our tour, we have to wait for a couple of days. So we spent the day walking around and even did a little shopping. It seemed like every where we went we ran into Americans. Even our hotel in Rome, one morning at breakfast we noticed the couple next to us. The male had on a Mizzou shirt. After talking with them we found out they lived in Liberty and she is a school teacher in the Liberty school district. (We're guessing they were in their late 20's). At the table beside them was a couple from Lees Summit.

Here's a couple of photos:

My breakfast, it's a Cappuccino. Funny story, the first breakfast I saw that there was a latte on the coffee machine. This machine has about nine different items and you put your cup under it and push the button for the item you want. So seeing as I like lattes, I selected it. Ummm it was not even coffee, it was warm milk. So then I took another cup and pushed Americano and mixed my warm milk with it to get a cup of coffee. The next cup I hit cappuccino and have stuck with that since.

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Here's the high speed train. We paid for first class and it cost 118.00 € total. They served us a drink and snack (just like on an airplane). The trip took an hour and 17 minutes traveling at 155 mph going backward (yes, to Florence it goes in reverse). And no we don't know these people who were in the photo.

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This is a photo of the Duomo in Florence. A Duomo is a cathedral that is no longer a cathedral because it no longer has a Cardinal and is open to the public for tours. It's huge, the picture does not do it justice. This is a pic from the front, I couldn't get the dome I because it's so big.

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This is the front entrance to our Florence Hotel

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This is a sign at a fast food place. I gues Italians believe Americans like hotdogs.

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And finally the traveling underwear outcome. It took my regular underwear about two days to dry and it was still damp. The traveling underwear took about 1 1/2 days. Not the two hours they claimed, but still better than my regular. So all in all it was a good decision to go with the traveling underwear since we will not be staying in any hotel for more than 3 days, and most for only 2. I would hate to put wet underwear in my suitcase.

Love you all,

Posted by barbjean 12:13 Comments (0)

A few additional pics

Here's a couple photos from Rome

From inside the Colliseum
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This is the original Roman Forum buildings, not to be confused with the Las Vegas Forum Shops
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Kelly took this one, way in the back, surrounded by men in suits is the Pope as he is giving blessings.
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Posted by barbjean 23:36 Comments (0)

Day 2 in Rome

Vatican City and other sites

Today we were up early and out the door. We had a 9:00 tour time of the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel. We took a cab to the museums and met up with our tour guides. It was a great tour taking about 3 hours. We did not get to go into St Peters Basilica due to the Pope being in residence. On Wednesdays he comes outside and talks and gives blessings. That lasted all morning longs and the crowd was huge. Here's a couple pics of the Basilica Dome and a pic of the Virgin Mary room I took for mom.

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We then jumped on the bus and headed to the Colliseum where we spent a couple more hours. All in all a tiring day with lots of moving around. I'm going include a pic of the graffiti I was talking about.

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Now for the underwear disclosure, it took my regular everyday underwear about 24 hours to dry. Tonight Kelly and I will be washing our high dollar travel underwear (that claims to dry in2 hours) and I'll let you know tomorrow. And regarding that extra item in the bathroom. I'm gonna test it out and let you know what it really is tomorrow.

Love you all,

Posted by barbjean 12:25 Comments (0)

Rome

We have arrived.

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Our flight was delayed last night due to mechanical issues, but two hours and a little stress and we were boarding. We were lucky enough to be able to all sit together, two by two. The flight was pretty uneventful seeing as how I took a melatonin and slept for most of it.

We arrived at around 10:30 Rome time and took the train from the airport to down town. It was 14.00 Euros (which a Euro is at $1.21 today) per person. The first glitch, was we tried to use our credit card to buy the train tickets from a vending machine and it kept asking for our pin number. Since credit cards in the States dont require a pin, this was very confusing, especially to people who had only about 5 hours sleep and were about 7 hours out of their time zone. We had to start and stop about three times before we decided to use cash and each time you started the automatic voice would loudly say, BEWARE OF PICKPOCKETS!

Off the (it was a 30 minute train ride) and three blocks through cobblestone streets pulling our handy dandy carry on and we arrived at the hotel. We're staying at the Best Western Universo Rome, from the outside it looks a little seedy, but the inside was clean and newly remodeled. We checked in and headed across the street to lunch, a pizzeria of course. A pizza and bottle of wine with tip cost $30.€.

Next stop the Hop on Hop off bus line. This is a favorite of ours in Paris, so we knew we would like it here. It allows you to travel the city for two days (60.€ for both) and get off at any place you like along the two hour trip. Today we didn't get off due to the jet lag, we just rode around and enjoyed the sights. They give you ear buds on the bus and you can listen to a history lesson in your own language.

Now it is about 4:30 here and we are fighting to stay awake. We hopefully can stay up till 6:00 and then sleep like normal tonight.

A couple of opinions about the city. It's pretty dirty and seems sadly rundown. I expected the aged architecture, but there is a lot of graffiti, beggars and just an overall appearance of neglect. The people have been very nice and the food and wine were delicious.

I'm posting a couple of picks of some sights that are instantly recognizable. Also,i fogot to pack my connecter for thecamera to Ipad, so i had to improvise with my photos.

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Vatican City
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Colliseum
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Lunch

Update: it's now 8:15 PM and we are preparing for sleep...if anyone is interested, I washed out my first pair of travelers underwear....cross you finger it dries as promised. Also, I had real Italian Lasagna for dinner.....we are so doing something wrong in the USA! FYI, Kelly is currently watching Pawn Stars in Italian.....he doesn't understand a word!
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Posted by barbjean 07:21 Archived in Italy Tagged rome Comments (2)

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