I absolutely fell in love with this city all over again yesterday. After a really late night...Abby, Greg and I found some Italians to escort us to a disco called YAB, where we danced until 4 am!...A&G were really tired, so I slipped out to let them sleep and took myself on a little adventure.
I had planned to go to the Uffizi, but being that it was a rainy Sunday, that was the place to be and I couldn't bear a 45 minute line. I walked to the Duomo, thinking I might climb the tower again, but it was closed for noon mass. I really wanted to go to mass, but it was full, so I kept walking. I head across the Ponte Vecchio back to where the Palace gardens are and on my way found a little chapel, where I ducked in just a few minutes late for mass and took a spot in the back. Although I could understand very little, it was a moving experience listening to all the voices melodic chants...always ending in Jesus Christo, amen. That's all the commonality we need anyway. It was beautiful.
I ventured back out into the rain again and found my way to a rather lonely park on this dreary day. It took me back into this little community on the hill, which I think was mainly housing for military families...and I'm pretty sure I wasn't supposed to be there, but the people were friendly enough. I then continued to traipse across town, thoroughly soaked by now, and spotted a fort up on a far hill. I decided I wanted to go there and spent the next two hours hiking through a gorgeous, peaceful nature preserve with a view of olive tree orchards and quintessential Italian villas from the very top. I didn't see another soul for all of that time, which was wonderful. I love finding the unique places in cities where you forget entirely where you are. Forget the Duomo, the Uffizi, the Ponte Vecchio, this is by far my favorite part of Firenze...at least in those moments.
Coming down from the hill I assumed I would be pretty lost, but I found my way directly back to the Arno and quickly back to the hotel. I showered and hung all my clothes and then head out into the city for some lunch with Abby and Greg. I had my first true kebab (essentially a Turkish burrito with mystery meat) and it was delicious. We spent some time relaxing and then head out to our favorite restaurant from the other night for Nelo (the bossy, but entirely gregarious owner) and his fabulous pizza. One of the things I love about little restaurants here is if you talk to your server or the owner even for a couple minutes, you are family. Even though we had finished a liter of wine between the three of us already, Nelo would not let us leave until we had a shot of Limoncello, on the house, of course. We had a night cap of gelato and paid our respects to JJ's Cathedral (the heralded American bar), which we found entirely too American...and called it a night.
I'm hopping on a train to Pisa this afternoon. I'll post again when I get to Espana! Ciao Ciao!