Florence, what an amazing city! We were travelling for many days just to reach the great renaissance city, and it didn’t let us down! But of course, the last few km to get there had a surprise for us, or at least for Javi’s bike.
We woke up late, in the yard in Empoli, knowing that in a couple hours we would be regular “bikeless” tourists in Florence. We finished the fruits and the cake the neighbors had given us. We tried to say goodbye and to thank them in person, but nobody answered the door. We left a note, and now we know they are following our webpage! Thanks again, nice women from Empoli!
On the way to Florence, when I was riding behind Javi, suddenly … I see his panniers dropping several centimeters! Everything started touching his back wheel and he could not continue. We stopped and we saw that both screws holding the rack had broken in half.
Luckily in the town we had just crossed there was a bike shop, and the mechanic was nice and he really knew what he was doing. In a few minutes everything fixed, and without paying! Lately Italy is treating us very kindly.
Just a couple kilometers before entering the city limits we stopped at a tourist information office and we booked the cheapest camping, and without stopping again, we got there (yes, we finally paid for sleeping). After lunch we decided to go visit the city, but we had different ideas about when and where to go, so we went separately.
I think it was the right choice, and not only did we see the main points of Florence but we also rested from each other. The cathedral is simply astonishing, and walking around the old bridge and streets was great.
When the sun started going down I bought a Moretti beer and I went to the Piazzale Michelangelo. And as it’s a nice viewpoint where you can see the whole city, it was full of other tourists like me. There I just sat down, enjoyed the view and drunk my beer.
On the moment I finished the can, the guy sitting next to me touched my shoulder and asked -do you want to join us and have some wine?”- I had no choice but to accept. And I stayed with them for a couple hours. They were a group of Turkish students going on Interrail, I talked about my trip, but they seemed to be more impressed with the fact that I’m vegan. They offered to host me in Istanbul, so we might see each other again!
Not too late and afraid they might have gotten me drunk if I stayed longer we got several pictures together and I left, saying that we were going to meet in a month or two.
The next day Javi and I saw a bit of the city together, with the intention of leaving soon after lunch. When we were heading back to the camping site Javi found a hole in his wheel, so we had to go to a bike shop and buy two new covers. Putting them took longer than we had hoped so, as always, we left this great city later than we had planned.
For the first time in this trip I completely enjoyed a place, without stress, being able to relax and not hurrying to find a place to sleep before it gets dark.