Beautiful Florence Nov 16

I arrived in Florence and planned to stay for four nights, but ended up staying for six nights! It was that good.

There were three reasons for my extended stay in Florence:

  • The beauty of the city
  • The weather
  • The company

Firstly, the city was beautiful. I loved walking around the city and looking around at the art. The streets were wide and clean. I even saw someone clean up after their dog! During the weekend, they closed off piazzas for main attractions to cars. This was fantastic for picture taking! I was able to pull off some shots I would never shoot unless I stood in the road.

There’s a real syndrome that is caused by looking at Florence’s beauty. It’s called Stendhal syndrome, and one of the effects is dizziness. I saw some writing on the hostel walls describing this syndrome, but thought it was a joke. Then, on my first trip around the city, I actually became dizzy and light headed even though I’ve had food all day! I had to return to the hostel early and relax. Stendhal syndrome exists!

Secondly, The weather in Florence was fantastic for the first four days. It rained the fourth night and was the reason why I stayed for an extra two nights. I tried to sit the rain out so that I could head to other cities, but it’s rain season. And the worst part about rain season are wet socks. I hate having wet socks. HATE. HATE.

Finally, the company I had was great! Adrian and Marcel, the two swiss guys I met in Naples, came up to Florence for the weekend. They brought some friends and we hung out all weekend.

The evening they arrived, we went out to eat and then went to a crepe/bar joint. The chef was from France, and the crepes were delicious. Marcel ordered a flaming crepe!

I can’t remember the name of this, but it has a specific alcohol as an ingredient.

I ordered my favorite crepe – banana and nutella. It smelled so good!

The best part of the bar was the DJ playing old 1950s American rock and roll music. On top of that, he had a telephone rather than headphones to mix music! Initially, we thought he was making some phone calls, but as the night went on, we realized he wasn’t talking into it and only picked it up when he switched songs. At that point we figured it was his headphones for mixing music. This was beyond cool. If he were in San Francisco, he’d be the only hipster that was cool.

His phone!

If you’re ever in Florence, I highly recommend this bar. It’s called Volume and it’s across the river – where the locals hang out – near the Ponte Vecchio bridge.

On the second day, we decided to do some sight seeing and we climbed up the cathedral’s dome. While up here, one of us decided to make a reference to Chuck Norris. This snowballed into an entire weekend of Chuck Norris jokes. It was stupid, but we couldn’t stop laughing. I think Marcel was annoyed by the levels of stupidity that Adrian and I were churning out. I had to stop at one point because my stomach hurt.

My favorite Chuck Norris joke that we found: when playing NES’s Super Mario Bros, Chuck Norris plays to the left.

Some runner ups:

  • Jesus walks on water. Chuck Norris walks on Jesus.
  • When Chuck Norris looks into a mirror, it breaks. The mirror isn’t stupid enough to stand in between two Chuck Norrises.
  • Chuck Norris can punch a cyclops between the eye.

Stupid, yet so funny. The problem was that everyone was laughing and we couldn’t stop. We all had the giggles. When one person started laughing, we all laughed. It was stomach-hurting funny.

Other than stupid Chuck Norris bits, I also had two great restaurant experiences. At the first restaurant, I had Fiorentina Bistecca. Another name for this meal is the bigger than Texas steak.

At this restaurant, you order the steak by weight and the minimum weight was 1.2 kg. That’s a minimum of 2.6 pounds worth of meat! Luckily, I had two other friends who wanted in, so we ordered a 1.5 kg steak to split amongst ourselves. This was some serious meat. I barely finished my portion of the meal.

Although the three of us split a big steak, another one of our friends ate an entire 1.2kg steak by himself. Talk about ridiculous.

The second restaurant was all about the experience and quality of food. When we sat down the waiter immediately brought us an appetizer full of the best slices of pig meat I’ve ever had. I don’t know what they did with the pig to make it so tasty, but it was juicy, salty, and made my taste buds explode with joy. To help the meat go down, they also gave us some bread, sun dried tomatos, mixed up liver on bagettes, and some sausage. The liver sounds nasty, but it was extremely delicious. Then again, only two of us ate it, and I was one of them. After this huge appetizer, the server asked us what we wanted next. We asked the server for a menu because we couldn’t decide on what to order. Instead, the waiter suggested that he could bring the three types of pasta they had made for the day and we could split it amongst us. We took his suggestion and were amazed. Among the three pasta dishes he served us, the ravioli was my favorite. The little pockets of deliciousness were stuffed with goat cheese and some herbs. I have never tasted ravioli so good before. I wanted to cry because the flavors were so good. Normally, after the pasta, the main course was served, but we were so full from the appetizer and pasta that we all had to stop. So instead, the server brought us a party plate of all their dessert. There were some fruit cakes, some chocolate cakes, and some cream filled puffs covered in chocolate. Everything was tasty. Everything.

It blows my mind that the food was this good. The dishes were simple and most were in their raw plucked-from-the-ground state. The pasta didn’t have a lot of ingredients either – tomato sauce, meat, and pasta – and they weren’t saucy like what is seen in the U.S. This was the best food I’ve had on my trip so far. Unbelievable.

That’s it for my Florence trip. I’m off to Pisa to check out the tower. Here’s some more shots of my trip!

The cathedral’s dome had some crazy artwork on the ceiling.

Florence from the dome of the cathedral.

I was told people come here to put locks with their significant others. Then they can come back when they’re older and pick up the lock. Would suck if you lost the key!

The Ponte Vecchio

Ponte Vecchio at night

I ate at Ben and Jerrys three times in two days and they gave me a pen! The cow’s bikini in the pen drops when you hold the pen upside down.

The hostel allowed people to draw on the walls. So they did. Every floor and stairwell was covered in writing and drawings. It was pretty cool.

The fake David. The real one is in a museum a few blocks away. I saw both, and the real one is amazing.