FLORENCE – 4:30 pm, April 19th We spent our last day in Sorrento with a day trip to the Roman ruins in Pompeii. It was amazing to both of us to see the size of the ruins, it really is a city! We spent 4 hours strolling the dusty streets checking out the ancient frescos, mosaics, temples, palaces, public baths, and a few brothels. We where able to go inside the baths, very interesting how the bathing process was done, this must have taken all day. People went from cool, to medium, to hot baths, and there where dressing rooms and “saunas” It was crazy to try and put ourselves into 79 AD Roman civilization.
We returned to our hotel tired and dirty, feeling like archaeologists. We cleaned up, relaxed with a beer on the balcony, and then headed up to dinner. We had another long, multi-course Italian feast. Jeff tried carpaccio (thinly sliced raw steak), and Mel had the fried mozarella sandwiches again. And those where just the appetizers!
The next morning we had breakfast and then took the local train back to Naples (hell) to catch our train to Florence. We had failed to realize that the Friday before Easter might be a heavy travel day. The day before we visited a travel agency trying to book reservations on the Naples to Florence train. After a 20 minute searching process we where finally booked first class on an inter-city train (as opposed to direct). We were excited, FIRST CLASS! Woo hoo! Little did we realize that on trains there is very little difference between the classes. We ended up in a six seat compartment with an Italian family of four off to grandma’s for Easter.
Where do we start? The kids were spoiled and whiney, the adults never stopped yapping the ENTIRE time. Ahhhhh, get me off the train! 4 and a half hours later, we arrived in Florence. We hopped a bus (hopefully the right one) and ended up at our hostel. The hostel is an old converted monestary. This place is HUGE! Mel is a little scared of ghosts, but we did fine last night. After checking in, we left quickly to begin our exploring. We headed to the Duomo, the large Cathedral in the center of the city. We walked around till dark and found a cafe/pizzeria/bar and had dinner. We grabbed a couple to-go beers and headed for a piazza and sat drinking Heineken and people watching and watching the street artists. Catching the last bus, it was off to bed.
This morning we had reservations at the Accademia Gallery to see Micaelangelo’s David. The statue isn’t just hugely famous, it’s HUGE! We didn’t quite realize how big the statue is. After checking out the rest of the small, but great, gallery we left and headed to the Duomo to check-out the inside. Because of Easter, they only let you go partially into the cathedral, and we were unable to go underneath the famous dome. Jeff was sad, he is a geek about the dome. After that we grabbed some sandwiches and sat on the cathedral steps…more people watching! After lunch we went to the Bargello Museum, a great sculpture museum. We saw works by Micaelangelo and Donatello, and some other famous Italian dudes. Then is was more strolling, we saw Ponte Veccio, Santa Croce, Palazzo Vecchio…lots of buildings, churches and bridges. Now we are waiting till our dinner reservations at 7:30 at Acqua al 2. This is a restaurant that is here in Florence and also in San Diego! We went to the San Diego one for our 2 year anniversary, we are excited! One comment, the one here is quite a bit cheaper, curse the expensive San Diego cuisine! Tomorrow we are planning on attending the Easter festivities in the central square, and then later off to the Uffizi Gallery (another museum forced on Mel by Jeff). More later…