Improving outlook

This morning, after a very short sleep, we woke up in our boutique hotel not quite refreshed. And so started our first adventure. Well, after getting up, having an essential black coffee and checking out that is. (Oddly the hotel didn’t supply milk though it did have a kettle, coffee and tea bags.)

View from our hotel window

The thing was, we had to go to a Keesy place first in order to get the key then go to the apartment. The two things weren’t what you’d call close. In a British cab, I could just explain the situation and the driver would understand. This is not so easy in Italian given my language skills are minimal at best.

I should explain what Keesy is. It’s basically a luggage storage facility where you get a code then store or collect your bags. It’s a self storage kind of left luggage affair. As well as luggage there is also the capacity for keys to be left in little boxes. The owner deposits the keys and the customer collects them. It was quite complex to start with but, as it turned out, super simple this morning.

What was most simple was the lovely morning desk clerk at the hotel who explained the situation to the cab driver who then whisked us around Florence looking for keys.

We found the Keesy place and I hopped out of the cab, held up traffic for a bit, put the code onto the touch screen and a little door popped open with the keys. I jumped back in the cab with a friendly thank you wave to the patient cars behind and we set off for the accommodation.

When it became obvious we’d not be meeting them, the owners (Martinia and Saverio) sent me a video of what to do to gain access so it was as if I’d already been there. It was incredibly easy and, when we entered the apartment, Mirinda was delighted. Given past history, this meant I was safe to unpack because we’d be staying.

Our home for a week

Having unpacked we then headed out to find the Carrefour for essential supplies (milk, beer, Chianti). Though we stopped for lunch first in the Piazza San Marco.

We ate in the Gran Caffe San Marco where they have an excellent buffet brunch. You can eat all you can eat complete with bottles of wine. It was a splendid first meal in Florence. Especially the fact that I could make my own Caprese salad.

Mirinda had some Tuscan stew which she hasn’t had for yonks

After going all Homer Simpson on the food tables, we bought supplies and headed back to the apartment where Mirinda went back to bed in order to catch up with the sleep lost last night.

The apartment has Chromecast which is excellent when you have Netflix on your phone. This being the case, I watched an episode of South Park…to make sure it worked. It worked a treat. I then managed some research while waiting for Mirinda to once more join the Land of the Wide Awake.

After a cup of tea and a beer we headed out into the night for a Christmas stroll through the light decorated streets of Florence.

A bit of our long, long street

We retraced our steps of two years ago, albeit in reverse given we are staying at the opposite end of Florence. Mind you, it being such a small city, we are just as close to the duomo. In fact, to reach the duomo we just walk down our street. That’s it. Our street crosses right in front of the duomo.

Our street also crosses in front of a wonderful little restaurant, Godi Fiorenza, which serves the most amazing fettuccine al tartufo. The pasta is made fresh and is served perfectly al dente.

The Chianti is excellent too

But this was dinner. Before we sat and ate far too many carbs, we indulged in a bit of over indulgence at Paszkowski where the cakes are small and delicious and the espresso martinis are perfect.

We sat in armchairs and watched the people enjoying a carousel while throwing those whirling light things into the night sky. It washed away the annoyance garnered from the airport yesterday and any residual fear of the key operation not working.

We followed the twinkling decorations around the cathedral, admiring the big baubles, stars and bra shaped lights strung across the many side and main streets. It was all very Christmassy and, I have to say, better than we saw in Paris from the top of that bus.

But all of the walking soon wore us out and we wound up at the restaurant where I was going to have pizza until I spotted the fettuccine al tartufo. Mirinda, on the other hand, decided to have a very odd dish.

I’ve never seen a fried pizza. It contains ricotta cheese and bacon. It is then folded in half and fried. This makes it puff up like a Zeppelin. When it arrives at the table it looks enormous.

After getting over the shock of something three times the size of the table, we realised it was mostly the air trapped inside. Kind of like a puffer fish. It was actually the size of a normal pizza.

Puffer fish pizza

It was delicious. I know because I had to finish it.

Back at the apartment it was, basically, time for bed in a very quiet part of Florence. It was also the perfect end to our first day in Florence.

I’m not counting yesterday. Obviously.

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