21 day Best of Europe-DAY 10 Florence
We arrive in Florence but our hotel isn't easily accessible by bus. Ben drops us off as close as he can and we quickly unload the bus and move our belongings to our new home for the next 2 days. As usual, Colleen fills us in on what the next couple of days will entail. We will check in to our hotel then Colleen will walk those of us who are interested to the San Lorenzo Market. I knew this is something I wanted to experience so we followed along so we would know how to get there the next day. No plans until later this afternoon when we would meet up with the group for our tour of the Accademia, which I like to call "The David's House".
It's time for our walking tour of Florence and we'll head towards the Accademia, which is our eventual destination. I am so excited to see the David! First we will pass the Duomo and let me tell you, I was NOT prepared for its immense presence. The colors and vastness are so consuming, it'll bring you to tears (something I felt at many stops during this BOE tour)! These photos capture our walk towards the Accademia museum.
Our tickets for the Accademia Gallery say we can enter between 1700-1715 and times are strictly adhered to in order to keep crowds at a minimum in the museum. Colleen is explaining the Prisoner statues in the hallway inside and all I can do is gawk at the David at the end of the gallery. So let's gawk together at him first!
Okay, now that that's over with, let's get on with the tour of the rest of the museum......more of David and The Prisoners.
We were done at the Accademia and walked to our group dinner together. We walked the long way because our dinner reservations weren't until 19:00 or so and we had time to kill. Afterwards most of the group went back to the hotel....it was raining but we wanted to see more of Florence at night. Walking in the rain is fun!
21 day Best of Europe-DAY 11 Florence
Our day is free until 15:15 when we meet Colleen at the Palazzo Vecchio for our Uffizi Gallery tour. Our initial plans were to climb the Bell Tower at the earliest opening time because we wanted to beat any crowds that might develop. Climbing the Bell Tower gave us the opportunity to see the Duomo and the rest of Florence from a very unique viewpoint. However, after we made it back down from the tower we walked over to the Duomo and saw that a few of the guys from our group (Dave, Bradley, and Don) were waiting to go up. I talked Steve into climbing the Duomo too! We were behind them in the line but we caught up with them at the top. I won't say doing both was easy but it was worth it for the views!
We didn't really feel that terrible after climbing both so we joined Bradley and Darlene in a walk on the Ponte Vecchio. We also found a fun place for lunch across from the Pitti Palace. Our group meet up was for 15:15 so our timing was spot on.
It's about time to meet up for our Uffizi Gallery tour so we wait for Colleen at the Palazzo Vecchio statue of "Fake David". We'll walk as a group to the Uffizi, which is close by and we'll meet Cindy, our local guide for the gallery. Again, it's important to be on time for these museums as entrance times are strictly enforced. Also, I can't express enough the value of being on a Rick Steves tour. Our tickets are purchased for us and there is very little waiting to enter!
At some point we returned to Mossimo's Leather shop where I purchased a purse for one of the kids and for myself. We went to the marketplace where Steve purchased a nice leather wallet. Dinner tonight was on our own but many of us enjoyed last night's meal so much, we wanted to return to the same restaurant. Colleen called ahead so they would be able to handle a larger than normal group. Tonight is our last night in Florence so it's early to bed as we will be venturing to Rome in the morning.