David - or not
We have sampled several different styles of accommodation and have come to the conclusion that we like apartments the most. The convenience of making a coffee and cornflakes in the morning and being able to keep ham and cheese in a fridge is invaluable. From now on we will be looking for apartments when we are not staying with hospitality club members. I was warned before I left that accommodation would be extremely expensive and this has been the case everywhere including the eight bed dorm in Rome. I have not really been considering dorm rooms except in "emergency" but even so, we have not seen any 9 or 12 euros per night hostels as advertised online. Our average has been 25 to 30 euros each but in Florence we are paying 40. As I said yesterday, our apartment was on the fourth floor. It was nice enough and the two other Aussie women we were sharing with were very interesting, but it was really rough on my knees climbing 8 flights of stairs. We moved to a different hotel the next day - twice as good as the last one as it was on the 2nd floor.
After two particularly exhausting days, we had a late start and tackled our first museum in the early afternoon. It was a display of full-size wooden models created from designs that Da Vinci had sketched of various machines. Some of the models were actually working and I couldn't help thinking that my late father would have loved this museum. The Galleria della Accademia was quite close so we walked past to see how long the line was to get in to see the original statue of David. The line was not nearly as impressive as the Sistine Chapel line but we still opted to have food before we attempted any further museums. After a very average lunch in a road side cafe we strolled to the end of the street and bumped into a rather impressive large church, the Duomo. The white and green marble was all covered in scaffolding as somebody was attempting to clean the church, one section at a time. The line for this church was non-existent so we wandered in. The BOSS was accosted at the door and was forbidden entry until she covered up her offensive shoulders. They didn't seem to be worried about her offensive knees. Just as well I had bought a t-shirt at the Da Vinci museum.
The inside of the Duomo, expectedly, is not nearly as extravagantly decorated as the outside and I found its minimalist qualities to be far more impressive than the opulence of St Peters. We then spent the next four hours wandering the streets, viewing the mandatory piazzas, fountains, statues, buildings, bridges, etc etc. I was wholly unimpressed with Ponte Vecchio bridge and it didn't nearly live up to its postcard reputation. It is grubby little bridge full of over priced jewelry stores and the buildings have not seen a lick of paint for years. Not much of an effort has been made to retain or upkeep the bridge as a major tourist destination.
In spite of our legs screaming in pain we then walked a further kilometre to Gelateria la Carraia (Ponte Alla Carraia) to taste the best gelato in the northern hemisphere... or so everyone reckons.
Tip #16 when ordering gelato from the best gelataria in the northern hemisphere do not order mousse. Mousse is actually mousse, not mousse flavoured gelato like everywhere else. However the cheesecake is not cheesecake it is actually cheesecake flavoured gelato and it will knock your socks off.
Our plan had been to wander up the hill to the Piazzale Michelangelo and watch the sun set over Florence but the BOSS pointed out that the sun will be setting behind the hill and not over Florence at all. So we gave up the idea of a stunning sunset and gave in to the protests from our sore muscles and headed back to the hotel.
Each time we return to the hotel it is mandatory that we pass through the leather market. Please note that this is now day two that I have resisted the temptation of purchasing a bright red leather motorcycle jacket.