Driving to Florence

Image credit: George Pearman

Driving to Florence

Weather Report: Too hot

It was hard sleeping last night due to the heat. I started reading The Bourne Identity and have been hooked since. There were lots of mosquitoes, but they prefer Vikram over me so I woke up with one bite whereas Vikram woke up with 7 bites on his left hand alone.

We departed around 9:30 from Milan towards Florence. Instead of going straight to Florence, we stopped in Pisa to look at the Leaning Tower.

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Milan, Pisa, and Florence on a map

Pisa

Pisa was very much a tourist town. There were people selling products that had recently fallen off of trucks in China (fake Prada, Louis Vuitton, you name it). The whole place was crowded with tourists; I heard a lot of English compared to normal.

The Leaning Tower is strangely small compared to what I had imagined (similar to how the Eiffel Tower was much grander than I had remembered).

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Pisa and some tourists

Vikram and I were not too impressed by the town (we didn’t really like the people-trying-to-sell-tourists-lots-of-junk vibe and found the tower to be less impressive than the hype). However, I got immense enjoyment seeing all the people taking pictures with the Leaning Tower:

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People look funny while posing with the tower

It’s pretty crazy how much the tower actually leans when you see it in real life!

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Panoramas in Pisa

While Vikram and I didn’t take any well choreographed photos with the tower, we did take some selfies (at times to take a stealthy photo of a tourist):

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Leaning Tower of Pisa Selfies

Florence

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Some streets in Florence

It was 6 before we checked into our Airbnb, so we were pretty exhausted from a day of traveling and driving around the countryside.

Our Airbnb is located in a “Limited Traffic Zone” which means we parked elsewhere and took a bus to the area. The area around the Airbnb is in the old city and is gorgeous. Here are some shots of random streets in the area:

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Florence street panoramas

After some time on Yelp, we selected Trattoria Nella for dinner due to its location (3 minute walk) and good reviews online. Dinner was excellent and the house wine (extremely cheap) was very good.

Sidenote: Everyone buys bottled mineral water in Italy, which we find quite strange. In America you get free water and a good waiter won’t let your water glass remain empty for longer than a few minutes! Also, restaurants in Italy charge cover fees (normally about 2 euros, just to sit down). This seems fine in a fancy restaurant, but our meals are only about 8-10 euros normally, so 2 euros seems somewhat excessive. Regardless, the food fresh pasta in Italy is excellent and good value.

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Dinner

This statue is in Piazza Santa Trinita which is only 1 minute from our Airbnb!

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Piazza Santa Trinita

After dinner we walked around and found a crowded bridge.

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Lots of people wait for the sunset on a bridge
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Vikram on a bridge

Everyone was waiting for the sunset. To occupy myself while waiting I took some selfies with a nearby statue:

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Selfies with a statue; wind blowing, fun hair

The sunset looked great!

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The sunset