lundi 25 avril 2011

First Impressions of Florence, Italy

Remember when I said I didn't want to go to Venice because it'd be too sad to go to such a romantic place alone? Well now that I've been in Italy for 5 days I can say that that was a stupid comment because it's romantic EVERYWHERE in Italy dammit! In France I felt that it's only like that in Paris but in Italy I feel like it's like that everywhere you go.

And being Easter school holidays, everywhere I go and look there are couples and families. I would be lying if I didn't say I didn't feel sad and that I miss my family and friends greatly. I see things and think that my mother or sister or one of my friends would just LOVE that and what a great time we'd have eating and shopping and sightseeing together. Alas, they are not here with me :(

However, I'm never sad for too long because I actually walk around with a great big smile on my face. I'm in fact quite overcome with emotions all day long whilst walking around this beautiful and historical city. I have now walked past the Duomo probably 10 times already but today I finally went inside and I almost cried! I have NEVER had such a reaction to a church before! Italy sure does strange things to you :)

Part of the reason I'm having such a great time is the unbelievably perfect weather. I couldn't ask for anything better.. low-mid 20s. Not too hot and not too cold. I don't think I'd like coming in May or in the summer. Far too hot and even more crowded, I hear. A lot of places are NOT air-conditioned and it's bearable now but obviously not later.

Apart from that I wish I could do more but I am just dead. I booked a hotel here (as being Easter it was impossible for me to find either Couchsurfing host OR cheap accommodation as I left it too late!) and it was quite a splurge - a 3 star hotel so I'm enjoying every minute of staying here and coming back at least once in the middle of the day just to sleep! It's because my first day was so tiring. I left the house at 6:45am and then had a dinner/party up until 1am. This included multiple bus/train changes and journeys totalling more than 8 hours and I could barely move the next morning but still, I managed to walk around for 7 hours straight in the quite strong sun all day long and now it's had a cumulative effect on me where I can barely do anything for more than 3 hours now without stopping for a nap! Not to mention that Italy has far 'worse' cobble stone paths than in France and even wearing the most comfortable pair of shoes that I own, my feet are dying. I'm contemplating buying another pair of shoes just to see if that will help!

I don't know how I'll be able to handle all that walking to come in Rome but we'll see! I admit in hindsight it was so unlike me to be this last minute about this trip, especially since it's Easter AND school holidays...  but I think as long as I'm enjoying myself that's the main thing. I don't feel like I need to be a typical tourist just checking off things on a big list to see/do... that's how I used to travel but not anymore! I'd rather soak up the atmosphere and if I can, spend time with the locals... I have to admit, almost all of the Italian men that I have dealt with (at the train station, in random places, at the hotel, in shops and food eateries etc) have been extremely good looking. I don't know if I'm imagining or what... perhaps I have this subconscious attraction for Italian men that I never even realised... LOL.  This morning I got my first Ciao Bella which I found amusing.

anyway it's au dodo for me!


PS Prior to coming to Italy I didn't know any Italian apart from Ciao, Buongiorno, Grazie and food words but now I know how to count to 10 and I figured out myself what Prego means just from usage (it's like the French Je vous en prie). A lot of the time I can guess meanings of words when they sound similar to French or English. Part of my whole last minute easygoing attitude was not learning any Italian before I came but so far so good! Miming and drawing helps too! haha.


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