Having had a less than stellar day in Florence yesterday due to the sheets of rain, we were ready for another try today. We hopped on the bus mid-morning and headed back into the city center. Ben wasn’t feeling very well, so first thing upon our arrival we made it back to McDonalds to sit down and see if he could be cured with a milkshake. I think they might be magic! The guy behind us in line was entertained with our breakfast selection and apparently it looked appealing because he told the cashier he would have “whatever they are having.” It seems a little strange for us to be setting food trends in a country with such decadent food!
Having started the morning off with a bunch of sugar, we headed down the streets of Florence to get a lay of the city. We headed down a small side street where we spotted a really cool old mask shop with masks that were handmade in Italy. If I were a normal tourist, I would have packed one up and taken one home, but as cycle tourists we have no use (or room!) for such things. The shop reminded me of the old sword shop in Toledo that I visited years ago with my dad that carried some amazing handmade items that were really from Spain (not imported from China). I normally hate “trinket” stores, but these masks were practically works of art!
Further down the street, we spotted a traditional barber shop and Ben got pretty excited. His whole goal this trip has been to get his hair cut by an Italian barber and this could be his chance! Unfortunately, the barber was occupied and Ben still was feeling sick so we made a mental note and vowed to come back.
We wandered around for another few hours, taking in the Duomo and the surrounding churches and buildings, stopping often for pictures.
The actual Duomo itself was far more impressive than it had ever seemed in pictures and were were kind of surprised at how long we spent in such a touristy area taking pictures and looking at the building from every angle.
I have been to a number of busy European cities in the dead middle of tourist season and all of them have been busy, but Florence is far busier than anything I have ever seen before and it is only early May. This place must be out of control in the summer! There are so many camera wielding tourists here that this place almost feels like a Disney theme park where no one actually lives or works. We headed over to the Uffizi museum, but the wait time was 3 hours so we decided to kill a bit more time before hopping in line to get in.
We meandered the bridge and took some pictures and then headed out in search of lunch. We ended up with a plate of gnocchi and some other interesting pasta dish, both which were pretty darn tasty. We will be brushing up on our Italian cooking in the next few days!
Finally, enough time had passed the the museum line was less than an hour so we jumped in line to get into the famous Uffuzi museum. We spent a few hours meandering in the museum and seeing works by Rembrandt, Botticelli, and Da Vinci and ultimately realized that we don’t know very much about Renaissance art. Even still, it was a good use of an afternoon and we stayed right until close.
As we wandered the museum we ran into Julie Kofed, and her daughter Allie, my neighbors growing up. It is indeed a small world! They are on a 5 week European tour that sounds like a blast!
With the museum checked off our list, we had only one more thing to check off our list for the day, so we headed back out in search of the Italian barber. I had low expectations that we would be able to find him again and that he would be open, but it was worth a shot!