After arriving in Florence at noon on the 2nd, I spent most of the afternoon relaxing with Abby and Greg in their sweet apartment and fighting off the jet lag. I didn't sleep much on the plane because I was sitting next to this fascinating Yogi from Iran. He spent hours telling me about various levels of human potential, levitation, meditation and the basics, like home-made cheese (he wouldn't touch the airplane food). He was on his way to an Ashram in the Himalayas to study with his Teacher. I told him about the recent chick lit hit Eat, Pray, Love and my fascination with Ashrams. He just smiled. Oh, simple mind. Anyway, I have a hook up in India if any of you want to go. ;)
It has been so fun and relaxing to hang out with "locals" here in Florence. My last tour of Italy was phenomenal, but the 4 day per city tempo lent to a pretty packed schedule and I have been so happy to hang out, stroll about town, visit their favorite eateries and stomping grounds, eat pasta, gelato, walk, rest, and then repeat it all over again a few hours later. :) Last night we hiked up to this incredible view of the city that I somehow missed last time I was here. After that, I convinced them to wander with me for a while until we found a restaurant that was "off the beaten path", should we say? The 45 minute walk proved so worth it as we finally stumbled upon a place with smoked window doors and a non-descript sign "Antica Porta." It was phenomenal. Napoli style pizzas, a liter of wine for 7e, and two desserts later we happily made the hour long trek back to the apartment.
Today Abby and Greg have to move out of the apartment (thank God, their Brazilian roommate has returned from Paris, with drunken early morning antics and all) so we are all moving to a hotel on the Arno. It's amazing how cheap it is on the off-season! I have to make the trip back to the airport to get my bags. They were supposed to deliver them here by yesterday morning (they were lost in Chicago), but when they had not arrived by 3 I started calling the airport incessantly and all they would do was hang up on me! Abby told me it's a right of passage. How I love Italy. ;)
p.s. I have no camera cord, plus, let's face it, I am a terrible camera person...so I stole these. :)