Sunday, July 15, 2007


Our initial plan was to leave Turin early in the morning and drive straight to the coast near Genoa and take the scenic coastal route all the way to Pisa and then to Florence, stopping to see the sights of the Italian Riviera. Because of the nocturnal activities of the last night in Turin there was no way the boys could get up early and even then I knew they would be sleeping in the car all the way and wouldn't see anything. I also wanted to get Chris some closure for all his efforts the night before and so I wanted to take him to a police station to report the theft - a process I knew from experience would take a long time. I would be driving so wouldn't have much chance to enjoy the scenery so I made an executive decision to take the Autostrada straight to Firenze (aka Florence). I will luxuriate on the Riviera on my next visit to Italy, funds permitting.

The weather was very hot (almost 40 I think) and stopping for meals on the Autostrada was not pleasant. Huge queues, fast food and failing air conditioning. Our hostel was next to a church and formerly a convent now used as student accommodation during most of the year but tourist accommodation in the summer. There was no air-conditioning so we had to leave the window open. I provided some lotion for insect protection but as usual not everyone felt the necessity so there were bites the next morning. We walked to a nearby restaurant for dinner. I felt like going into town but saw the sense of going back to the hostel with the boys and having an early night.

I was able to get up early this morning and walk the 6km or so into the city getting some good photos in the early morning light. I caught a bus back to the hostel and waited for the boys to get ready and we all caught the bus into town. Chris went off to mass at the Duomo while Richard, Darcy and I cruised the streets looking at shops, stalls etc They then joined up with Chris to climb to the top of the bell tower to see the panoramic view of Florence and walk to the Ponte Vecchio, while I meandered around on my own just soaking up the sights as this was my fourth visit to Florence having spent a week here for work-related activities three years ago. I arranged to meet them in the Piazza della Signoria, one of my favourite spots, and from there we did some more shopping and went back to the hostel for another early night. I had bought myself a leather jacket for riding the motorbike and I arranged for the sleeves to be shortened (quite an operation with the cuffs etc) overnight and arranged to pick it up the next morning on our way to Rome after checking out of the hostel.

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