Thursday 11 December 2014

Fun in Florence

Gosh, where is the time going?! So much has been happening around here that I don’t seem to have had time to take a breath, let alone blog! I did manage the Christmas Club post on Sunday, but I arranged that to post whilst I was away!

Yes, Hugh and I had a wonderful trip to Florence last weekend. I booked up through and we got a brilliant deal with flights from London City Airport and a hotel with bed and breakfast literally 30 seconds from the Ponte Vecchio.


We left Friday morning, getting the train from Wickford to London City – apart from there being no seats on the train (well it was rush hour!) the train journey was really easy. We checked in and then got ourselves a cup of tea/coffee and did a bit of reading whilst we waited to board our plane.

Hugh getting us a drink and a pastry!
The flight over was uneventful – just what you need really! I did have my phone with me for once – I nearly always leave some sort of camera in the overhead locker and so can’t get at it – and so I was able to take a couple of snaps as we were flying.

The Alps from the plane
Upon arrival in Florence we got the shuttle bus into the centre of the City and then our hotel was only a 10 minute walk. We dumped our cases in our room and headed off to explore.

The first thing we did was stop at a little cafe and have a slice of delicious pizza each and a drink. When we left I took Hugh’s photo out the front – not a very Italian named cafe!

The sun had set and all the lights were coming on – it was magical and so wonderful to see all the historic sites lit up. We strolled around for a couple of hours, soaking up the atmosphere and getting our bearings for the rest of the weekend.

We had our evening meal at the Hard Rock Cafe as I had never been to one before! I know it is not very Italian, but it was fun and we had amazing food.

We returned to our hotel at about 9.30pm – completely shattered! We both slept well that night!

Saturday dawned bright and sunny, a few clouds, but quite warm. After a lovely buffet breakfast we set off to ‘do’ the sites.

Our first stop was the Bargello Museum. Wow! The statues there were fantastic and we saw all the old masters – Michaelangelo, Donatello, etc.

 From there we went on a stroll towards the Duomo and stopped for a gelato.
Once we had finished our gelatos we went into the Duomo. It is such an impressive structure, but in fact I think more so from the outside than the inside! The museum is not open at the moment and so we didn't get a chance to go in there and the Baptistry, although open, was included in a group ticket including the museum and I was a little cross about that and so we decided not to go into the Baptistry! However, we did get to see the doors, which were impressive.
 We haggled with a street vendor and bought a selfie stick!
We then went for a mooch around Florence. We had time to kill as we had a guided tour booked at the Uffizi for 4.30pm. So we took in the sights in the daylight!
The Ponte Vecchio

Me outside the hotel

The foyer of the hotel (and Hugh in the mirror)

Sante Croce Church and the Christmas Market
We met the tour guide outside the Uffizi and after a 25 minute queue got into the museum! The tour guide was excellent and we spent a very pleasant 1 1/2 hours in the museum. My favourite piece was the Botticelli - Birth of Venus, but we also saw works by Caravaggio, Titian and Michelangelo to name but a few.

This is a view of the Palazzo Vecchio from the viewing terrace of the Uffizi
Having had a very enjoyable tour we then found a restaurant with a view of the Palazzo Vecchio and ate outside - there were patio heaters however!

On our return to the hotel, over the Ponte Vecchio we had a wonderful view of the Duomo all lit up.
We got back to the hotel and collapsed! 

I'll do another post for Sunday as I should think you are exhausted if you have managed to read this far! But as you can tell, we had a wonderful time and I am still excited about all the things we saw whilst we were there.


Sandra said...

Florence is on my places to see list. I adore Italy.

More photos the better I say, and it looks like you had an amazing time

Karen said...

I'm so envious that you can get to Florence for a weekend! I was there the summer I graduated from college, and had a fabulous time. Looks like you did too.

Sian said...

You managed to Christmas Club in the middle of that? Wow!

It looks like you had a wonderful time and I'll bet it looked magical at this time of year

Melissa said...

Wow, looks like a fabulous last minute get-away!!

Anonymous said...

Oh wow, that's funny. I just blogged about Florence too. Looks like you saw a lot more than we did. That's the trouble when you're on an organized tour I guess. Love the nighttime pictures. By night we were back on the ship.

Jo said...

It looks like you had an amazing time in a beautiful place x

alexa said...

What a lot you fitted into a short time frame! Lovely photos and I feel as if I have had a mini-tour myself :). Sounds like a great thing to be doing this time of year.