The reason I had been traveling through Europe so fast was so I could make it back to Italy by mid-October… I got news while in Berlin that Anna (my neighbor in Costa Rica who I visited in Glasgow) and her friend, and now my new friend Morna were coming to town for the week!! Yay!! But, that meant to push the gas on the pedal for my other travels. Hence, after visiting the Neuschwanstein Castle I booked it via train through the Alps back to Florence to prepare for their visit:)
Preparing for their visit is really just code for stocking up with lots of wine, lol!! I believe during their visit, my dad got 20 liters of wine and between the two of them, they probably went through 12-13 liters… LOL! But hey, I can’t blame them, they were in Italy for crying out loud! If you aren’t going to enjoy yourself while here, why bother at all?
I met them in Pisa and we stayed the first night and the next day doing all the tourist stuff, i.e. getting a picture taken holding up the tower. Morna didn’t want to get in on that action, but we got her later when we were in the top cupola of the Duomo in Florence cupping another dome of Florence… I Should now mention that all the pictures in this post were taken by Anna and her camera. Gotta give credit where credit is due:)
In any event, our time after Pisa was spent hanging out at my dad’s place eating delicious home cooked Italian food; getting tipsy on wine and beer and chatting about good times both past and present; taking hikes in the National Forrest to Vallombrosa and Secchieta; going into Florence about 3 separate times trying each time to get into the Duomo but failing until our last try (which we then ended up walking to the very top for a panoramic view);
Going to see Michelangelo’s David, of course! (the picture below is of my favorite part of David… (no, not THAT part;)))
Making a wish at the porcellino;
And staying after dark in Florence to watch night life a bit.
Probably the most humorous time for me was the hikes… The first day we went, not more than 3 minutes after we left the house it started to pour down rain. Did we turn back? Naw, it was just a bit of rain and we were SURE it would stop soon. Thankfully I had brought an umbrella and poncho “just in case” since it was a bit cloudy, and while I caved and took out the umbrella for shelter after about 10 minutes of walking in the rain, Morna and Anna were still braving it with the light jacket/sweater they brought for the walk. About 20 minutes later they were drenched!! They took the poncho, which was large enough to share and onward we went. Along the way we spotted several deer!! And that was probably only because the deer figured “no human in their right mind would hike in this downpour!” They were wrong, lol!!
We eventually made it to Vallombrosa all cold and quite wet. Thankfully there was a teeny bar on the side of the road:) We had cappuccino’s, a sandwich, some wine, beer, some more wine and beer… Then shots to warm up a bit more (we were still chilly) then another shot or two until it was starting to get too late and dark to walk back down, so we called my dad to pick us up, lol!!
The second day of hiking was much less wet, but still cold and windy! We did make it all the way to the top to Secchieta (where we had planned to go the first day) and once again at the end of the trail, what was there to meet us?? You guessed it, a bar! We brought our own lunch that day so we just purchased some cappuccino’s, two wines and a beer:) We behaved that day knowing we had to walk down but not entirely… You see, along with sandwiches for lunch, we also packed about a liter and a half of wine to sip along the way:) We did behave on drinking it however because we barely cracked into it until we were heading down:) Ah, good times!
More Florence pictures- notice the very artistic pictures on the Ponte Vecchio done by Anna:)
The three of us posing as stereotypical Italians (Mamma Mia!)