Florence

I left Nice about 3 PM, in this bus service called BUDA bus, which I had never heard of before, which runs just once a week. It’s a miracle I even found this service as I didn’t find it on any bus search either! I was half scared that it was a scam, but well, I had no option but to go with it. Thankfully, it was one of the best bus services I’ve seen! Free refreshments and towels, I’m sold! This is even better than OUIBus! Haha. I felt slightly awkward as the entire bus was filled with Italians, but majorly excited : I was going to Italy!! I was determined to kill the awkwardness, and to learn the language. I didn’t want to speak English either. I struck up a conversation with my seat neighbour, and the most epic thing happened : I learnt italian through french. I asked him to teach me some basic important phrases, as well as some basic flirting. I’d be honest, that’s the first thing I like to learn in any language. Here’s why :

  1. It’s the best ice breaker! You see a beautiful girl who you’d like to approach but don’t know how? How about addressing her in her own language. Sei molto bella. Vous etes très jolie. You’re beautiful. sie sind sehr schone. Linda!
  2. It gives you confidence to speak the language, which is any day the best way to learn.
  3. You look forward to learning more.

Hmm, I forgot how to say it in spanish.

I reached Florence pretty excited, and left the city 5 minutes after I reached, for I was couchsurfing again! This time, in this town called Prato, right next to Florence. A small 20 minutes train ride away. This was the best decision I could have made, because I got to meet some awesome friends. Katja, Mirko, Michele and Alice( maybe I forgot the name of your girlfriend, Michele! . She’s awesome though 😉 ) I’ve never felt more welcome in a place! They came to pick me up at the train station, and that’s how it all began.

We went back home, where I got to taste some of the best authentic italian pasta. Now wasn’t that to die for! Some of the best pasta I’ve ever had.

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Heavenly.

I loved living here, to see an italian home, which I couldn’t have otherwise. No hostels aren’t the same, there’s a reason they are called hostels and not homes. Don’t get me wrong though, I love hostels too! Both have their pros, and I refuse to look at the cons.

One more thing Italy is famous for is : Its strong coffee.

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and their concentrated coffee maker.

Surely, it is really strong! Since I am not much of a coffee drinker, my experience with this was minimalist. However, I did have a coffee everywhere I went! Kind of needed it while travelling, and I could smell and taste the difference with this specific home brewn italian coffee.

Oh yes, another thing you’d notice is that Italy has gas stoves, like India, unlike France or Germany.

Fresh with this coffee in the morning, and this super cute “snack for the day” left for me by Katia, who had already left for work, I had breakfast with Michele and was off into the city of Firenze.

No wonder so many people are attracted to this city, it is so freaking beautiful!IMG_2357.JPG

I roamed around for a bit, taking in the beauty. This city was so full of character!IMG_2366.JPG

Sure enough, I was soon on a free tour. It was overwhelming, to hear so much about the city. There’s a lot of history here. A lot of art. Loads of artists! This occurred because of a very specific set of families who were generous enough to donate their private collections at the decline of their legacy. The most notable one being the Medici family.

We soon reached the main center, home to the Florence Cathedral, which boasts the 3rd largest dome in the world, after X and the Vatican City’s St. Peters Basilica. Yeah I don’t remember the second biggest.

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Wow.

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Yeah, the weather wasn’t perfect, but that just gives me another reason to return to Florence. What that simply means is : not a very clear day.

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View from Michelangelo Hill. Same view in Season 3 of Hannibal. Hell yeah!

En route this slightly steep climb, I was fervently looking for Pizza. Come on, Italy is supposed to have the best pizza. I wanted to have the best pizza in my life. I saw this pizzeria on the way up and I wouldn’t lie, I was disappointed. It tasted so.. normal. Hmm..

I wanted to get to know my hosts better, so just after sunset, I returned back to Prato. I was offered Pizza for dinner, and that’s when I shared the story about the earlier Pizza I had that day. Sadly, I was told that the best pizza is in Napoli, or Naples, which is south of Rome. Did this mean they didn’t enjoy their pizza? Hell no! They knew this guy from Naples who had moved to Florence to open his pizzeria. Traditional wood fired pizzas. YES, THIS PIZZA WAS OUT OF THE WORLD! So epic, that today, 3 months later, I still haven’t touched a pizza. I don’t want to destroy the taste in my mouth. ( which I am trying real hard to remember ) Haha, another epic observation : The italians like to cut their own pizza. They have these specific scissors to cut pizza, which I found pretty cool!

Michele is an aspiring musician, with some awesome singing and guitar skills. He had a meeting for a gig/competition, and wanted me to come along. Thanks a lot for inviting me with you, I get to add another memorable event to my life : crazy driving in the foggy night through winding roads by the hills, to a secluded recording studio.

I had never been to a recording studio. It was awesome to see so many musicians gathered around. And ofcourse, who can forget the PIZZA! I ended up talking a bit with the owner of the studio, which felt great. My vocabulary was pretty limited, so we evidently switched to English.

French, Italian, Spanish and Portugese, all share a common root, Latin. How does that benefit me? Well, I understand 30% of all these languages, and about 90% French.

Mind = Blown.

True, this wasn’t enough time to do everything I did. But I got to make the most with the time on my hands, and I’m getting extremely good at that. We got back home after that adventurous night, and soon we were off to bed. The next day, I’d leave Florence, to get to this city I’ve been dying to visit ever since I was a kid. Ever since I saw Jumper, and the actress wanting to go there really badly. Rome.