So today I ended up making a day trip back to Florence.
It was kind of a last minute decision. Kadie's parents are here to visit and they flew into Florence so Kadie needed to go meet them there. Next weekend, I will be taking the train to Florence by myself in order to catch my flight to Norway, so I figured it would be good to re-acquaint myself with the train system. Not only that, but Mark Leslie told me I HAD to find this "Fountain of Monkeys" in the Boboli Gardens so I was going to Florence on a mission. Sam wanted to go to Florence too, so he ended up tagging along.
Immediately after we found Kadie's parents they checked into their hotel and then we had lunch at this great restaurant. I had the best salad I've had here with an omelette which was equally tasty. I expressed to them my keen interest in exploring Il Giardino di Boboli and they were interested as well, so we ventured off to find the gardens. Unfortunately, by the time we got there, we only had an hour and a half to visit the Gardens! It was a very very short visit, but well worth it. They were beautiful. The weather was gorgeous - t-shirt appropriate during the afternoon, but a bit overcast, so it was perfect for walking around. The only debbie-downer about the gardens was that the fountains were all turned off and the flowers weren't in bloom. I have a feeling that once it gets more into spring time it will be stunning - in which case I will probably re-visit. Mark: I asked EVERYBODY where this fountain was and nobody could tell me. :( I'm hoping that I was in close proximity at least. I found one little fountain with monkeys on it, and the fountain itself wasn't incredible but the view was all of Florence. Is that the one you were talking about? Or is it the fountain itself that is breathtaking? You will have to let me know, because if I missed it, I WILL find it when I re-visit the gardens later in the spring.
We got kicked out of the Gardens at 4:30, and afterwards Kadie's parents wanted to go chill back at their hotel for a bit because they were exhausted from the flight, so Kadie went with them and Sam and I wandered. We ended up people watching for quite a bit, and then we re-visited the magnificent Duomo, which I have pictures of in my "Firenze" post. As we were walking around the outside, we saw that the Dome part of it was open. I said to Sam, "Oh man, I bet this is a church service" and sure enough it was! I went to the door and the guards said, "Buona Sera" and then asked us what we wanted and I said "Service" and voila: Sam and I went to a church service in the DUOMO OF FLORENCE! The cathedrale part of the Duomo is absolutely gorgeous - the best part being the Dome. It was painted with the brightest, warmest colors and was in such intricate detail. Although I couldn't understand a word of the service, it was such an experience. Hearing the voices of those speaking and singing ring throughout the duomo was pretty magical. There was a huge age range of people attending the service. The smallest spectactor was my favorite. He was probably about two years old, and although his parents were very into the service, he was not. Instead, he liked to hang out around my feet and smile at me. Also, he liked grabbing on to this old woman's coat in front of him. Everytime he got a handful, he smiled. Adorable. How sweet though - to be in such a beautiful, historical, artistic landmark attending an authentic Italian church service. Beautiful and Intense - church in Italy is not like church in America. Well, religion in Europe in general is just completely different. I mean the church is, by law, the highest building in every Italian City. There ya go.
^look in the window. Crazy picture, huh?
After the service, Sam and I met up with Kadie and her parents again for dinner. They took us out for drinks at this bar and then afterwards we went to this really nice restaurant and I got a salad, Salmon and then Tiramissu for dessert.Her parents treated us (both for lunch and dinner) which was SO nice and unexpected.
I took the train back so I am now home in Arezzo. Tomorrow I need to study for my Italian mid-term (EEK), but I want to do it in town so I'll probably either go into Arezzo or I might take a quick 20 minute train ride to a neighboring town and study there. Either way, I need to get work done.