Can I just say how beautiful Florence is? Truly beautiful. As I expected, Mirinda is completely in love with it and that is regardless of it being featured heavily in A Room with a View.
Not so beautiful is the shower in the apartment. In fact it probably sits up there with the worst shower ever. The main thing wrong with it is the fact that the shower head points the wrong way. Rather than being directed along the long, thin narrow length of the bath it is over, the head is in the side wall. This means that the shower curtain is about an inch from you.
And the shower curtain is not pleasant. It is one of those persistent ones that try and grab you when you least expect it and then stick fast for as long as possible with a cold, clammy finger of plastic. Not at all nice.
The water pressure, too, is not good. In fact the word ‘pressure’ is a bit of a misnomer. While the hot water dribbles out of the tap the cold is only slightly more than a drizzle. It isn’t really very good. Which is a shame because the bathroom is actually huge. There’s plenty of room for a proper shower.
Rather than be completely negative, though, I must say that the hot water is decidedly so. So hot it could peel the skin off a lizard.
Mind you, as bad as the shower in the main bathroom is, it’s a little better than the one in the small bathroom which Bob has decided to call his. The shower is not over a bath, which is definitely better except for the fact that there’s a toilet underneath it. It reminds me of the shower I had in Marrakech that featured the column.
While on the subject of the bathrooms, most mysterious is the black toilet paper. To be completely frank, it’s quite disconcerting. I wondered what it was at first then realised. Who would think of making such an abomination? Seriously weird.
But enough about the apartments fixtures and fittings and onto Florence.
We started off at a very decent hour (post 10am) and were headed for the Piazza Della Signoria when we were stopped by the cafe shop next door to the apartment. Of course we had to stop for a coffee. It was a wonderful choice given we had to write down our own orders before taking them to the counter. A delightful way to start the day.
We then headed off, following the Most Amazing Tour Guide in the World (by her own admission) as she regaled us with facts about the film A Room with a View, which is accidentally one of her favourite films. Our first stop was rather a disappointment given it featured a fountain which was completely surrounded with scaffolding. She was not happy.
Possibly the most embarrassing part of the holiday so far and, I sincerely hope the only embarrassing part, was my declaration that the statue of Perseus by Cellini was actually Donatelli’s David. In my defence, I…actually I have no defence I was just wrong. Purely and simply. Now, let’s move on…
Having admired the Roman, Greek and Italian statues beneath the loggia we stopped for a nanosecond before the Giant Dog Turd before heading out of the piazza, towards the Ponte Vecchio.
And the bridge was just as I remember it although it was quite a few years ago when Farelli and I visited for the day. It is still amazing and still plays host to countless jewellery shops (actually that’s not exactly true, I just didn’t bother to count them…but you could if you really wanted to make a point) rather than the butcher shops that existed there once upon a time.
We strolled across, Bob and Mirinda window shopping every few feet, along with the thousands of other Christmas tourists. Not that that mattered. The place is thoroughly enjoyable regardless of the crowds. Thankfully, it was the only Florentine bridge that Hitler didn’t have destroyed.
On the other side we debated what to do next and decided to head for San Spirito to see the nativity recommended to us by the lovely Rosita. Eventually we arrived but only after Mirinda found a shop that sold antique miniatures and convinced the woman in the shop to sell her one. And she took some convincing. Bob and I were waiting at the next five way crossroad for about four days.
Actually it was quite interesting at the five way crossroad. One of the turns would have been better not to have existed because it was very tight – it was between two turns as it was. We watched a chap scrape a lot of the front of his car off trying to get round the corner. It was not very good.
Mind you, after seeing his effort at turning we then started to notice how many other cars had scrapes and dents in the same spot. Though that could be because of the extraordinary parking in the city. We actually watched a guy park in a space smaller than his car.
Something else we noticed was the number of strange signs about the place. This for instance:
We couldn’t work out if it was warning the pedestrians about high suicide rates in the road or warning jumpers to be careful when they were already halfway down.
Another favourite of mine was this one:
The whole thing was delightfully inexplicable until Mirinda explained it by telling us about an artist who goes around the city adding things to signs to make them more inventive. But, back to San Spirito…
Sadly the church was closed for lunch. There is apparently a three hour break from religion. Sad faced we decided it was a good excuse to eat lunch ourselves. I’d noticed a lovely looking place that I was quite keen to try so we headed back to it. We stood just inside the door as the crowds left. And it was very crowded.
We were quite happy to wait for a table because it looked well worth it but I suddenly discovered that the toilet was out of order. And this was something that was going to become increasingly required. We went next door instead. This turned out to be an excellent decision. The restaurant was much less crowded, had a working toilet and great food including the biggest single meatball in the known world. Even the waitress was delightful.
Having supped sufficiently, we headed back along the river before heading back across it where we went into the Museo Galileo. It houses the Medici and Lorraine Collections of scientific apparatus and inventions (my favourite was the Thunder House which demonstrates the usefulness of lightning rods). Interestingly, the Lorraine to whom the second collection refers, was the great, great grandfather of Franz Joseph I of Austria who, of course, married the lovely Sisi of whom we are great fans.
In the evening, while we waited for Denise to fly over, Mirinda filled her bath but, because of the lack of pressure, it filled slower than the water evaporation rate. This made it challenging to say the least. Then Bob tried his toilet shower combo.
Then I had a text from Denise. Then I had a phone call from Denise. 20 minutes later I went downstairs to meet Denise as her taxi appeared. She was very pleased given she reckoned the taxi driver was a bit odd. I thought he was fine and, besides, he managed to get her here okay.
After a cup of tea we adjourned to our favourite trattoria (across the road) for a lovely veal meal (three different versions) because an American couple insisted we try it. To be fair, it was delicious though I was rather wanting to try the sea bass…maybe next time.
After dinner we attempted to go for a post meal walk but Mirinda and Denise suddenly became toilet desperate and we had to race back to the apartment.
My apologies for the long post…here’s a delightful video to finish it off.