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Day 7: Florence

After Wednesday's unexpected but amazing visit to Florence, today was scheduled as a return trip to see some of the sights which we were unable to fit in first time around. Having already been there once this week, I didn't think there was anything which could conceivably go wrong with the journey, until I managed to sleep through the alarm (or "chose to go back to sleep", as Tim prefers to put it!) and didn't wake up until 07.45, leaving us without enough time to catch the 08.59 train.

Whoops. Luckily there was another cheap train at 11.02, so we were able to enjoy a relaxed start to the morning. When we did head out to the train station some time after 10.30, the thermometer above the main archway proclaimed that it was already 34 degrees. Wow.

We arrived in Florence some time after midday and immediately thought about getting lunch. The place were we'd had pizza on Wednesday was fantastic, and Tim managed to navigate us halfway across Florence to find it again, only needing to consult with the map once. The walk was marred only by the fact that I got my foot stuck in a hole in the cobblestones, twisting it painfully, and then accidentally touched my leg against a red hot sheet of metal.

The pizza was just as nice as on our previous visit, as was the half litre of wine, and it was well after two before we motivated ourselves to move out of the shade and investigate the rest of Florence. Crossing the river Arno, we began to walk steeply uphill, along roads which probably would have been pleasant on a milder day but were punishing in temperatures of well over 30 degrees.


When we eventually arrived, sweating and exhausted, at the top of the hill, we found hundreds of other tourists looking wonderfully cool, on account of just having been dropped off there by their air-conditioned coaches. Humph.

There was a beautiful view out across Florence though, which was well worth the climb.


We wandered a bit further, trying to stick to the shade as much as possible, but it was so hot that it was difficult to carry on for very long. We tried to stop for a drink at a cafe, but upon finding that the price of beverages increased dramatically if you sat at a table, had to down our water while loitering outside instead. Descending the hill, we unexpectedly found ourselves in Florence's old town - something which our guidebook had failed to mention the existence of - and enjoyed some time strolling around the shadier streets. Crossing the river again by most popular bridge, we found ourselves right in the middle of tourist central, and were horrified when we stopped at a small cafe for more refreshments to find that the price of a bottle of water was €3.50!

All in all it was a day dominated by the heat, but fun to go back to Florence again. Perhaps next time we'll come back earlier in the year when the sun might not be so strong.

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