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I’ve had two full days in Florence, during which I saw the Duomo, the Arno river, the statue of David, the town of Fiesole and lots of tiny cars.

My first evening in Florence, after finding and settling in to my accommodations, I took all my clothing to the laundromat to be sure to kill anything bedbug-related left over from the place I stayed in Rome.  Afterwards, on the advice of my friend Matt, I went searching for Trattoria Zaza for some dinner.  Didn’t do much sightseeing, but even so, saw a few things I would come back to the next day.  The place I stayed was about a 10 minute walk from the Duomo and several other sights.

Thursday I went to the Duomo, and took a Rick Steves guided walk around this part of central Florence.  He left me off at a cafe on the far side of the Arno River, across the Ponte Veccio, where I sat down to write out this week’s postcards.  I walked back to the Duomo plaza and walked through the cathedral as the line had died down and it was free to walk through.  Very big, very dark, lots of beautiful stained glass pieces which did not photograph well with my crappy camera…

I also walked through the Palazzo Vecchio, which has a full-size replica of Michaelangelo’s David statue.  I understand from talking to a local that the original was in a nearby museum, but that the replica was identical enough to not be worth the price to go see it.  Since I’ve spent entirely too much already, I took her advice and was satisfied with looking at the statues that were in the Palazzo.

I also found a small Leonardo da Vinci museum that had replicas of many of his inventions, some of which were hands-on experiences to see how they worked.

I got to do a Skype call with a friend back home and tell her son that I’d seen work created by ALL FOUR of the ninja turtles.  Apparently he didn’t know that they were named after famous artists.  I’ll have to educate him when I get home if she hasn’t already…

Friday I went and found the Hop On/Hop Off bus lines for Florence and rode around on those for most of the day, seeing sights that weren’t in easy walking distance from my lodgings including Piazzale Michaelangelo, the city walls, and the town of Fiesole, about 9km away from Florence.  The Piazzale Michaleangelo and the town of Fiesele both had amazing panoramic views of the whole city of Florence, both from opposite sides.

After I tired of riding the bus, I got back off at the train station, walked back to the Duomo plaza, and got in the line to actually climb the Duomo.  It wasn’t until I’d stood in line for half an hour that I needed a 10 EUR ticket that had to be bought before getting in line, at which point I said “Screw that” and went and found dinner.

Now I’m off to Venice, where I’ll only have one full day to explore before I’m on to Paris.  This trip is moving fast now, only about 20 days left until I’m on the cruise ship.

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