All it took was one day. Firenze sneaked its way in and made a clever getaway with my heart. It’s funny really, I had planned out the itinerary for every city to a T. Except Florence. And perhaps, that was the reason I fell in love with it. There were no trains to catch, no tickets booked for places to see, just a long day ahead of us full of promise and possibilities.
But first. Let me put things in context.
While Europe had been full of adventure so far, each place had had its share of crazy – an unpleasant old lady, a train missed, a bunch of rowdy Frenchmen, a budget hotel from a horror story, a map that made no sense…the list is endless!
But Florence, with its pretty streets echoing a million lovely tales, seemed to embrace us with the familiarity of an old friend. We didn’t feel the need to visit all the “must-see” attractions. It was a day for spontaneity, to saunter leisurely through the city and see where it took us. And Firenze was on our side.
A (Slightly) Romanticised Account of Our Day in Florence
The 19th century Hotel
Our experiences with budget hotels so far had been…not too exciting, to say the least. But Hotel Crocini effortlessly rescued the reputation of budget hotels everywhere. Situated in a historical building from the 1800s, it has preserved its rustic charm while offering all modern amenities. It’s like going back in time, but with Wi-Fi!
Tucked away on a quiet street, the hotel was walking distance from all the important places (but then, Firenze is so tiny, I think everything is walking distance). Breakfast was served in a small room overlooking a delightful little garden and before we took off, the staff at reception provided us with a map that would be our guide for the day.
Streets From a Musical
As we set out, we couldn’t help but feel that there was happy dust in the air. Cool air played with our hair, the sun shone brightly, everything seemed to be in technicolour. People walked by us humming to themselves, eyes twinkling, looking as though they would burst out into song and dance at any given moment. An ice-cream shop was just opening up it’s shutters and so, of course, we made a quick stop for gelato (Mission Stuff-Self-with-Pizza-&-Gelato-While-in-Italy was a go).
We had found our way to the Duomo and after a tiny bit of shopping (my trolley backpack was bursting at the seams so I bought myself a mini-backpack and a T-shirt for the hubs), we were in the midst of deciding where to head to next.
Before this important decision could bear any fruit, it started pouring! Unprepared and unsuspecting, we ran around like headless chickens in search of shelter, giggling to ourselves about how ridiculous we must look.
A man seemed to appear out of thin air, selling umbrellas (it was like he was hiding in the shadows all along!). We quickly stuffed cash into his hand, bought one and attempted to squeeze under it. But the wind was having none of that. The umbrella breathed its last just a few minutes later.
Thankfully, we spotted another man selling raincoats. After a discouraging experience with the umbrella, this seemed like a worthwhile investment. The whole time we were chuckling with amusement and, once under the protection of raincoats, we felt fully equipped to brave the rain and continue exploring the city.
Sounds like a bit of an oxymoron, doesn’t it? Goodbyes are, by their very nature, meant to be sad. But this one wasn’t for some reason. Perhaps it was the fact that the day had been so magical, and there were no regrets about not having seen enough. Or perhaps, it was the strong belief that someday, I would be back…