10-02-2018 Day 8 First Day in Florence

Cloudy, a bit rainy, and 58F 14.4C

View toward Michelangelo Piazza from the apartment bedroom window

Neither of us slept well last night.  Perhaps Deanna may have slept better if I hadn’t been so restless, since we shared the queen sized bed in the bedroom.  There is also a sofa bed in the living area, but we decided to skip making that one up  since it takes up most of the space, and we had no problem sleeping together.

The problem with that plan is that the bed, much like our bed in Montepertuso, is very hard. In addition to being hard it is also lumpy, and sags a bit.  I can’t believe how attached we both are to our comfy beds.  Is this how Europeans sleep? 

I got up in the middle of the night and tried to sleep on the sofa, (at least here we HAVE a sofa) but that didn’t work for long either.  Hips and knees are arguing in a serious way.  I have a feeling it is the damp and cool weather rather than all the hiking we have been doing, because I was much better back on the sunny coast of Amalfi!

Rainy morning view from the kitchen window

We have already decided that this will be a catch-up day, so the rain is quite delightful.  No need to rush out and explore, and our main outing for the day will be a walk to the market. 

Breakfast was simple, with NesCafe conveniently left in the cupboard,  some of our lovely breads from Sara, and the last of our yogurts that we brought with us.  We can drink the water here in the apartment and are quite happy that we don’t have to be buying and hauling bottled water every day as we did in Montepertuso.  No clue if that was necessary or not as we never thought to ask Sara.  We bought a lot of big bottles of water while we were there. We saw locals filling water bottles at the square  in Montepertuso from a water vending machine so I am fairly certain we did the right thing.

This apartment has a lot of charm, with delightful art from the owner’s world travels in Africa.  I should mention that while Isabella speaks excellent Italian, she is actually Canadian and speaks perfect English.  Her home is outside the city on a small farm and she has lived in Italy for 18 years.  She was kind enough to leave us a lovely bottle of olive oil from her home orchard.  The apartment has two fat and fluffy down comforters, plenty of pots and pans, a microwave, and even a small washer which is currently taking care of a week’s worth of hiking clothes.

Isabella tried to give us a good overview of how to live in the apartment when we arrived.  The most complex instruction was concerning the heat and air conditioning.  It has a very strange system controller that is on the wall over the stairs, requiring a long lean over the railing and a flashlight to see the tiny settings which are in Italian of course.  So far we haven’t been successful getting the heat to operate, but hopefully that will be attended to before it gets cold again next weekend.  Tomorrow is supposed to be much warmer with no rain for a few more days. I did just receive a WhatsApp note from Isabella saying that in the city of Florence it is not legal to turn on the heat before November 1.  Ok then! Back to the jackets, socks, and comforters!

The bathroom in our little apartment is well appointed, with nice fixtures, excellent plumbing, and a window that opens for fresh air.  We had seen the photos on the Air BnB website, but they really don’t do justice to the small space.  It is very very small, so tiny that turning around in the space is not really possible.  The other laughable thing is that you have to step over the bidet to get the to toilet. 

We sat at the table this morning for breakfast, on hard little chairs with a thin cushion, and came up with a great idea.  We moved the extra cushions from the other chairs and now sit on 2 or 3, just right for computer work.  Are Americans really this soft??  I guess so, at least we are.  I want my cush!

The very best surprise for this morning, however, was our decision to open up the sofa bed and see how it worked.  Out popped the most lovely memory foam mattress, and we looked at each other and almost cried we were so happy.  Ahhhh.  We WILL be sleeping on the sofa bed, and are incredibly grateful that the next two weeks in Florence won’t be marred by aching hips from a hard bed.

We looked at each other and at the gray skies outside, the wet terrace through the window, and said, “Time for a nap!!”  I think it was about 9 AM.  Yes, this is a day of rest and recuperation, with the most difficult tasks being napping, processing photos, and actually writing for the blog. 

By midafternoon with rested bodies and minds it was time to brave the streets of our neighborhood and make an attempt to find the market. Although Isabella said that the market was just down the street, we had no clue how to find it.  It was still a bit cool and rainy and we donned our jackets, made sure that Google Maps had downloaded the proper maps for the area, and set off on the hunt.

Even with google maps for imagery the directions for walking don’t work when offline.  We wandered off in what seemed like the proper direction before we finally arrived on a street that had some shops.  The Carni (meat market) was closed, but down the street was a small pharmacy where they told us that the Carni would open in November.  The young woman in that shop told us to go to the COOP.   We managed to find the shopping center where the COOP was located on Google Maps.  After a couple of miles we at last entered into a huge supermarket and spent a long time looking at fabulous food and filling our carry bags with groceries for the coming week.

It was a long walk back to the apartment with those heavy bags.  We had to stop for sustenance at very nice little gelato shop where we were allowed to sit with our treat at the empty table without an extra charge.  While tasty, the gelato was nothing like the amazing treat we had in Positano. 

A bit farther along on the same road we found a bakery with take away pizza slices and bought two for our supper that evening.  We found Italian pizza to be much like any other, always different, some fabulous and some so-so. These first slices of pizza in Firenze were a veggie mix that was truly yummy.

Continuing along the road we passed the Carni once again and it was wide open! It had only been closed until 3pm, in the Italian tradition of closing in the afternoon for a long lunch.  Most shops are closed between 12 or 1 and 3 or 4 at least.  We also discovered that we had simply made the wrong turn when leaving the big intersection and in the future wouldn’t have to walk all the way to the COOP for groceries.

Just for fun, check out this Google map street view image of the intersection to understand why we were a bit confused on that first day in the big city. Just trying to get some groceries had turned into a major undertaking.

the main intersection near our apartment

Tomorrow will be a big day, as we begin to explore the magnificent history of the city center of Firenze.

Author: kyotesue

Soil scientist/mapper working for 35 years in the wild lands of the West. I am now retired, enjoying my freedom to travel, to hike without a shovel and a pack, to knit and quilt and play, to play with photography and write stories about all of it.

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