florence + the machine

ah, florence! ciao. what a busy city. it always boggles my mind how many people there are on this planet.

for starters, our hotel was not the nicest. lewis and i have been spoiled thus far when it has come to sleeping arrangements, but not so much in italy. the hostel in pisa was okay but really hot and we had to pay for anything extra. soap, towel, etc.

this hotel had good intentions, but we were greeted with 5 to 7 mosquitoes the moment we got in to our room. we spent the first few minutes noticing the already present squash marks/mosquito remains on the walls from previous guests and adding our own. guess that’s what €55 a night gets you.

on the other hand, the receptionist was too kind and gave us plentiful recommendations. the breakfast buffet provided in the hotel also made up for what the rooms lacked.

we ate at a delicious pizzaeria a block from our hotel that night. that is really the only kind of cuisine here, and i am okay with it. portions are large but you’re always told it is a serving for one person. i have noticed no matter your age, size, or gender – you order an entire pizza and you eat it yourself. if you don’t order your own, you get a raise of an eyebrow.

it was extremely hot and humid walking around in florence the next afternoon. lewis and i had to buy tank tops to change in to because it was 92 degrees. i understand why all the statues were naked.

 

speaking of clothing, i noticed that the italian women wear mostly black. they also do not shave their armpits. not every woman, but it was not uncommon to see under arm hair. bras are also very, very optional. it is not a rare sight to see someone without a bra.

at one point during the day, lewis and i were having a “moment” on the bridge. we were looking in to eachother’s eyes and forgetting the rest of the world around us, until we were interuppted by a man who came right up to our faces. “selfie?” he was carrying 7 selfie sticks. i held the one up i already had in my lap. he says, “what about this?” and holds up a portable battery power bank. i also had one of those and lewis pointed to it in our backpack. still, he wouldn’t go away. we turned away and ignored him until he walked away. romantic moment interuppted and ruined.

 

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something interesting we saw was three soccer hooligan busses being escorted by police officers. 8 or so cop cars to prevent them from rioting. ha! i like that they escort the fans to soccer games.. from what i have seen online, they can get crazy. i am glad this attracted me because we ended up walking a different way to find a taxi, leading us to find a bus that took us to our hotel.

 
we could not for the life of us figure out the bus schedule when we got there the night prior. there are 8 or 10 different hubs/main stops surrounding the rail station and we needed bus 35. i asked two police officers and they almost seemed offended i was asking them for help and brushed me off, saying they didn’t know what i was talking about. thanks! so we had been taking cabs which are convenient, but €10-€15 a pop.

when we found bus 35’s station, it was 15 minutes to get dropped off by our hotel and only €2 a ticket for 90 minutes of use. that would have been helpful to know yesterday..

 
that night we ate pretty damn good pizza (surprise!) and calzoni 3 blocks from our hotel, about 15 or 20 minutes away from downtown. it was nice we were a little far away from the touristy area so we could get a taste of what the locals ate.

nobody spoke english here and the menu was 10 pages long in italian, nonetheless. we went with our instincts and tried to see what we knew when it came to ingredients. my calzoni had egg, meat, and mozzarella. lewis’s pizza had basil, meat, and some cheeses. they were out of this world. we also got some spaghetti which was so fresh. the tomatoes were perfectly ripe and noodles were handmade. ugh.

 

there was a little girl there with her family, wearing a tiara and a princess elsa shirt, probably 6 years old or so. she ordered a calzone and ate more than half of it. everyone else around us ordered whole pizzas for one. why am i not italian? then there would be no shame in eating an entire pizza to myself.

after checking out of our hotel in the morning, we headed to pizzale michelangelo. this is a platform raised over the entire city with promising views of florence and many tourists with selfie sticks, myself included.

i ended up buying a tanktop for €2.99 that says “but” on it. i looked up the translation and it is “ma” in italian, which means “however” in english. not sure why “but” would be the english word to put on a shirt. whatever, it was so hot i needed something without sleeves.

 

  

i then had the best meal of my entire life before leaving. ah, no words.

 

with very full bellies and countless mosquito bites, we are going back to germany. i liked italia (and their food) but there’s just something about germany.

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