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Day 11: August 7th 1999 (Florence, Italy).

Breakfast was bread with cheese, orange juice and coffee.  The room had paintings on the ceiling and a beautiful picture window.  I heard from some of the others that the really loud bell tower next door woke them up quite early.  I unfortunately missed that experience because my windows were closed to keep the air conditioning in.

We had most of the day free to do what we wanted.  I visited the Bargello, which had magnificent statues, and then walked to the top of the Duomo bell tower.  414 steps and two pounds of sweat lighter, I arrived at the top, where there was a nice breeze and a wonderful view.  I then dropped by the science museum and had a great time amidst Galileo and DaVinci.  Unlike American museums, the exhibits where designed for adults and not children.

I had a calzone and coke (no ice at all this time) for lunch on the Duomo square, then visited some shops for memento shopping.  Don had said that rooster-shaped decanters were the city specialty, but I couldn’t find any.  I tired of the heat and crowds quickly.  My feet were also getting tired of cobblestoned streets.

Although there was more to see here, I instead made my way across the river to the Pitti Palace, and the Boboli Gardens behind it.  Here were grassy and shrubbery-filled fields with dozens of meandering paths.  No crowds (it cost money to get in), cooler, and very quiet.  I stayed there a few hours, then headed back to the Town Square and our Uffizi Gallery appointment at 5 PM.

Don guided us through the Uffizi, after they lost our reservation so we had to stand in line to get in.  We saw so many famous paintings it was hard to leave the place.  But eventually I started getting hungry.

The same crowd that pub-crawled together in Venice went out to find a good “bistecca alla fiorentina” (Florence T-bone steak) restaurant.  This local specialty is marinated for days and is sold by the 500 gram.  Don recommended a place close by and we marched to that location.  We don’t know if we actually found the place Don was referring to, but we found one that seemed good enough.

Unfortunately for them, everyone but I wimped out on the bistecca.  It was delicious, and I shared it with no one.  In addition to the meal we enjoyed Chianti Classico from the local vineyards.  Cindy saved the black rooster trademark from the neck of the bottle.  We ventured to the famous Vivoli’s for gelati afterwards.

We split up after dinner.  I watched the street performers in the various squares until 11 PM.  Then to bed.

     

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Last updated 11/12/2005 .  Email me at bob@besttravelbarcelona.com.

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