this trip had the intention of being a marathon weekend - but injuries and work meant that le boy and i were sidelined. and to be honest, that was maybe the best thing ever. we fully enjoyed every minute of florence, and we didn't have to spend time a) preparing to run or b) recovering from the run. and recovery would have been necessary - the weather was pretty perfect as the pictures will show, except for marathon sunday which was, without a doubt the nastiest weather i would have ever run in (this coming from a girl who trained for the london marathon during a british winter read: wet, cold and miserable).
the trip was enhanced by our friends who joined us. the w-ps have been traipsing around europe for the last six weeks, and to be honest, i was missing one of my favourites. the joy of seeing our good friends was only increased when late in the day the americans decided to come along as well. to be difficult we each arrived at different times and by different airlines, in different cities. but we were reunited and felt so good!
the americans and i flew into pisa and not wanting to miss the iconic tower we hustled on over. but not before we had a cappuccino and a panini - i needed to avert a t-minus and we wisely found a coffee bar, not that it's terribly difficult to find a coffee bar in italy. in fact i had more than my share of cappuccino over the weekend, it was a saving grace in moments of difficulty.
it seems that all was timed perfectly. as the sun slowly sank behind the tuscan hills, the famous colours of tuscany came alive! i don't pretend to be a great photographer, but i can appreciate amazing light when its given to me.
now, i'm not usually one for touristy things. i like being in a city, and rarely feel the need to do anything other than wander, take photos and eat. but the american boy wanted to go up to the top - and while i was reluctant at first, i'm mighty glad i did. let me clarify that this has absolutely nothing to do with heights, i love being up high, i just don't love paying an arm and a leg to do it.
|it really does lean.|
|american girl with obligatory 'pushing the tower' picture|
climbing up you get a sense of the lean, the worn path in the stone stairs stumbles along as you climb upwards pitching you to and fro as you ascend. as you weave back and forth like a drunken sailor you do begin to wonder why exactly you thought it a good idea to squeeze yourself into a tiny stairwell that makes you slightly dizzy as you wend your way.
but then you emerge to see the city from above. the treat was that it was sunset. and the whole of the city was basked in a glow, and the splendor of the big ball of fire slowly sinking behind the distant hills was something i'm glad i witnessed.
we grabbed a train from pisa to florence and met up with the w-ps, dinner was terribly good, even if the wine was not, and it was just awesome to be on a mini-holiday with some of my very favourite people! mind you, i was still waiting for my favourite person - le boy arrived on the late evening flight after working all day. he is a trooper.
|florence readied for christmas.|
the streets of florence and probably most of italy are the stuff that romance is made of. tiny alleys filled with bicycles and minicule shops are the name of the game, and i just love it. florence is my kind of city. pedestrian friendly, cycle orientated, dominated by old architecture and stylish shopping. plus there is quality coffee and hot chocolate thick enough to eat with a spoon on every corner!
the city is dominated by the duomo. an enormous and impressive cathedral.
|doesn't the cap suit him?|
we wandered, hitting the gallery academia which houses 'the david' - enormous. and then onto the ponte vecchio.
unfortunately our girl lj wasn't feeling on top from due to a back injury and while she would have been 'fine' with us leaving her to explore the city, we were not to so fine with that. we had a feast of spaghetti bolognese, fresh cheese and prosciutto. add to the mix some good wine and you have yourself an evening.
as mentioned, sunday was a bit of bust weather-wise. and as we wandered around getting soaked, ducking into shops to spend way too much money on italian wool garb, leather and soul-warming cappuccinos, we continually said to each other - thank goodness we're not running in this! no pictures were taken on sunday. that is how awful it was. but we did go to the uffizi gallery which holds some of the most impressive art ever. including a huge collection of botticelli. galleries don't allow pictures.
|art deco coffee bar - told you i spent a lot of time drinking coffee.|
|i've developed a strange love of photographing bicycles when i travel.|
monday morning we awoke to blue skies and warm temperatures, after looking around the cathedral, which is enormous, but also kind of empty, we headed to piazzale michelangelo and up and enormous set of steps.
but the views were worth it...
in his relentless pursuit to win my favour and prove he is indeed a good egg - le boy carried my (new!) purse for a good portion of the day to allow me to take the lovely pictures you see here. in order to preserve his dignity and masculinity we called it a "man-bag."
|auto-timer. never been done before. will have to practice.|