Tuesday, 12th of February 2013:
We are in Florence. The second day is ending soon for us, since we are dead tired after all the walking and looking and being amazed. We left Sunday morning Trondheim to take off to Italy for a week of vacation. I hadn’t been too much in the mood of leaving our Ecky-boy again after we had just been in Budapest. The last two weeks had been very packed with a lot of work and even more work, friends and friends and therefore we were actually ready for another vacation. We left our apartment very early to catch the 6.05am flight from Trondheim to Amsterdam. Our flight started out to be delayed, because the night had brought snow in Amsterdam and they were struggling with cleaning the runways. We arrived and our connection flight was delayed by an hour. Well, no big deal, let’s have a drink and something to eat at the Chocolate Bar in Amsterdam. At least we didn’t need to rush as we usually do. At 1pm we climbed out of the plane in Rome which awaited us with blue sky, sun shine and at least +10C. It was wonderful! Almost 30C difference in Temperature Trondheim – Rome. My old friend picked us up at the airport and after an interesting drive over the Italian freeway we arrived at her home. She cooked thick spaghettis with roasted eggplants for us. And in addition a Tiramisu was waiting too. It was yummy. The afternoon flew by while chatting and updating each other. Later we got a ride to Termini the main railway station where we hopped on the train to Florence. When we finally arrived at the hotel (the train ride was smooth and the taxi drive ok) we noticed that your hotel looks nice, but we were just incapable to notice anything else. In our room we hit the bed and well woke up on Monday.
Our hotel a little bit outside of Florence
On Monday then we saw it snowing when we went to breakfast and it looked cold. And as we learnt later it was cold. The wind was blowing and it’s raining every now and then. In addition I noticed that I had forgotten to change my shoes. I was still wearing my loafers.
The bike tour was nice and we learnt a lot about the history of Florence. And we learnt when having lunch, that the drinks are as expensive as in Norway. 5Euro for a cup of tea was pretty expensive and I swore to myself that that won’t happen again. During the tour we got a sense for the things we wanted to visit later again: Il Duomo, the Uffizi gallery etc Our tour guide Federica had recommended that we taste the Tuscan bread soup Ribollita. In the past a dish of the poor made from left overs: vegetable soup with white beans, Tuscan cale, carrots, old bread. We tasted it and it’s so good. It fills your belly and makes you happy.
On Tuesday then we went to the Uffizi gallery. I had tried to preorder the tickets, but they were sold out. So, when we arrived at the end of the long line in front of the gallery, I parked M in the line for the tickets and went around to see if I can do something about it. -After a short time I’d found out that you can skip the line if you pay 4Euro more and get a ticket for a certain time. Perfect! We left the line and went instead to Il Duomo. We wanted to climb up to the cupola and get the view over Florence and as a British teen said: see the Himalays. 😀
After those 463 steps up to the top of Il Duomo and down again, we needed to get some food in our bellies. We crossed the Piazza della Repubblica and looked at the menus of the Cafes. We were actually on the way to the other side of the town to eat somewhere not too touristic…. But then a waiter asked if we don’t want to come in and eat. I said, yes, we would like to eat, but we don’t pay 7Euro for a tea. So, we got it for 3Euro. Good. M had pizza margherita and I had penne all’arrabiata and tea for both of us. The lunch was good and we were ready to head out to take more pictures, when M’s Olympus camera fell on the cobble stones and since then we use the small Canon camera to take pictures. The ice cream we had to get to melt the shock was good though.
View above Florence from Il Duomo
We spent the rest of the afternoon at the Uffizi gallery. It has wonderful paintings but I was even more impressed by the painted ceilings in the hallways.
Friday, 15th of February:
We arrived back in Rome on Wednesday afternoon. We managed to find the right bus and even to get off at the right stop to get to our hotel.
Our hotel is a small, cozy one and our room has a private terrace. The hotel is situated close to the big area called “Villa Borghese”. The first evening we walked through the park and enjoyed the view above Rome with the sun behind St. Peters Dome.
On Thursday then we thought we’ll tackle the Vatican and try to visit the Sistine chapel and climb up to the cupola of St. Peters. I had preordered tickets to skip the line for the Musei Vaticani, what I hadn’t thought about that you still need to stand in line for St. Peter. And there was a long line. But well you almost always find those tour promoters who offer you a tour, the entrence tickets and to skip the lines… We did it and spent about 5 hours at the Vatican. Our guide showed us the most important pieces of the huge art collection and explained a lot of works.
We took a huge amount of photos, except from the Sistine chapel where it wasn’t allowed to take pictures. Then we climbed up to the cupola, 551 steps, and enjoyed the view with sun shine over Rome. After a pee on top of St. Peter and an ice cream we were ready to go down to ground level and have a look at St. Peter. The size is just breath taking. So far I’d always thought that the cathedral of Cologne is pretty big, but that’s like a Fiat 500 compared to a BMW X6. I’m not exaggerating! As every one knows they have a creepy crypt too. Of course we had to see it if possible. But since the basilica is so huge we had problems to find it, so I grabbed one of the guards and he showed us the enterence.
On the way to the Sistine chapel
View above Rome from the cupola
Swiss guards who are protecting the pope
Since we had spent about 5 hours at he Vatican we had missed lunch time. We were hungry. We wandered a bit around, shared a panini before we slowly went back into the direction of our hotel. But we hadn’t really thought that all restaurants wouldn’t open earlier than 7pm. We were soo hungry by 7pm and tired. But we ended up with a good pizza for M and fettucini all’arrabiata for me. Then we went to the hotel, took a bath and well I passed out. 😀
Today then we went to do our city bike tour through Rome. That were 3 hours of fun. We saw a lot, ate good ice cream and rang a lot of tourists out of our way. We managed to grab lunch: perfect pizza and then we went back to see the Colosseum a bit closer.
Our boy who is waiting at a friends place for us. We miss him dearly.