Sunday, October 6, 2013

Chelsea in Florence Part II

After our interesting adventure arriving in Florence, we finally got to meet up with ROmeo's brother, Javi, and sister-in-law, Shannon. We had planned the start of our adventure around their time in Italy, so the one day that overlapped was precious to us! Around noon, we met them at their hotel (which we had conveniently found last night already) and started a long and fun day!

We started by getting lunch altogether. Romeo and I had already eaten sandwiches, but we went with them to the restaurant anyway. It was really nice to finally meet some of his family. They were awesome!

After lunch, we were able to actually go to the hotel room, It was super nice! Like, as soon as you opened the door, you walked up steps into a seating area with a pullout couch (how convenient!), then there was a suitcase closet room, a bathroom, and finally the "master suit" with the main bedroom and another big bathroom. It was a very posh room, to be honest. We didn't have long to appreciate it, though, because we were off to a bike tour of Florence that Javi had booked for us.

We started the tour around 3pm. The bikes were comfortable and the tour guide was friendly, and even better, spoke understandable-English (not like some tour guides I've had in Korea,which were impossible to understand!)

We got to go to the 4 districts in Florence, which corresponded with 4 main piazzas and buildings. We got to see the Duomo, Santa Maria Novella Square, Santo Spirito Square, and another one that I can't remember. And, I am not at a computer at the moment, so I am not double checking my information; I could be wrong on names or something.

Anyway, the tour was very informative. We learned about some floods and saw statues and cool buildings and weaved in and out of massive crowds in all the places we went. We crossed Ponte Veccio bridge, and my favorite bit of information was about the reason that Ponte Veccio only has gold shops on it, rather than any others: back in the day, the very powerful family that kind of ruled Florence didn't like that the bridge had mostly butcher shops. Apparently, they would dump the bodies of the animals in the river and it would stink. So, being the classy people they were, they made a law that only gold could be sold on the bridge. And, it has lasted til today.

These are some of the best photos from our bike tour!

After about 2 hours on the bikes, we got to have a gelato. My first gelato of the trip, I got a traditional Florentine flavor that was similar to vanilla but more creamy. I enjoyed it a lot.

After the tour was over, we freshened up a little at the restaurant then went back to the Santo Spirito square where there were many restaurants. We ate outdoors at one of the crowded ones, and enjoyed wine and pastas. It was really fun, and the food was great! It has been a culinary delight being in Italy, with so many kinds of meats, cheeses and wines, especially after being in Korea, where there is basically none of the above.

At one point, Shannon (Romeo's sister-in-law) and I went to the bathroom and saw a breathalyzer machine. Of course, we had to figure out how to work it. After some hilarious attempts, we figured out that you use a straw to blow into a hole. I think the machine was messed up, though, because it said we both had 4.0, which if it was true, we would both be dead. It was fun, though!

After dinner, we went next door for some drinks. We met a very interesting old Italian man named Jimmy, who dressed and acted like a 17 year old. He was funny but a little annoying. He kept kissing my hand and trying to chat with us at the table. We had all had a little to drink, so we didn't mind him too much. Finally, around 1am we left and headed back to the hotel. I crashed out and Romeo and his brother went to a bar near the Duomo, which I was later informed that I totally missed out on.

It was a really fun day spent with awesome people. We both had a blast and it set a great tone for our trip.

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