In Florence you can walk out the door and be confronted with building after building of old time charm. Knowing this, I spent my next two days taking walks around the city while catching up with Suzy and Annie when they were free.
My first solo day in Florence was a relatively slow one. I slept late before heading into the city center to wander the streets and find some lunch. A simple outing but yet so very rewarding as I had no idea where to go and I didn’t care. I had no plan, no direction, just the desire to take in the latest city I was stopping in.
The only regret was leaving my daypack and camera behind, but with the sun looming high above I didn’t need any more reasons to get hot and sweaty. It was nice to just look with my eyes and not through the LCD screen of my camera. Of course now that I’ve departed Florence and am relieving the experience I very much wish I had taken that camera along for the walk.
The day progressed with watching some World Cup action on the massive projector screen setup at the hostel and me heading out twice for some gelato which was of course the only way possible I could think of keeping cool.
That evening I then caught up with Annie and Suzy at a pub called The William for a few social drinks. A fitting way to end what was a very relaxed day for me. It was also where I was invited to watch Annie’s boyfriends band play the following night.
My second solo day very much resembled what I would have done back home on a sunday afternoon. I bummed around on the internet catching up with family back home and producing the content that you lovely folk come here to read (I hope). I did make time for a gelato run but on the whole I hibernated inside and loved every minute of it. Had I been able to get back into my room I’m sure I could have easily taken a nap as well.
The real fun for the day started when I headed off to watch the band play. I may have got slightly lost on the way, but given how far away from my hostel it was I think I did pretty well. I arrived at the park area beside the Arno River, finding a food/drink setup and of course a spot for the band to work their magic. Finding Annie I grabbed a beer and sat down with the group of friends that had gathered.
Before long it was time to be dazzled by the bands performance. Now even though I have no idea what they were singing about, the flashy lights and music was still enough to make the night a great success.
Thinking about that night now I know I was very lucky to have been able to attend. As a backpacker passing through I’d never have heard about this if it wasn’t for friends living in Florence. It re-enforces my belief that when you travel it is worth making the effort to meet the locals. Maybe that’s via the Couchsurfing Community ,Twitter/Facebook or even through a friend of a friend. To put it in perspective just think about your home town, how many secret places do you know of that the average backpacker would never find.
To finish I’d like to know about your favourite travelling experience that was the direct result of meeting up with someone local to the area you stayed.
I’ve met some amazing people abroad. One of my favorites was actually in the Whitsunday Island’s of your country! A guy named Ecka was a mate on one of the sailboats we took around the island. He had quite an adventurous and rebellious life and I loved learning about his experiences throughout Australia and aboard the boat. Months later he quit the gig and returned to Sydney where I was living. We met up for drinks and he told me about some great hidden spots to check out along the east coast up to Cairns.
Steve mate sounds like an awesome time. Even back home I’ve met some amazing people as I moved from home to Melbourne to study and then to Ballarat where I spent 6 years working. Can definately say the country has some characters.
It’s all about the people you meet, the places tend to fade in the background after the section of the trip is done.
Rob I totally agree. While I saw a lot in Florence I’m always going to remember hanging out with Annie and Suzy there.
Great photo of the band! 🙂 I was happy to have you there since I am usually lost in a sea of Italian words any time I hang out with Lorenzo’s friends! I am glad that I get to be the awesome “local” you met and showed you a great experience!
Although I don’t have a lot of cool local stories (yet), the people that I met in Australia that were living there at the time definitely made my experience what it was! I am so thankful to have made so many great friends!
Thanks Annie, I was looking over the photo’s from that night and a lot turned out terrible due to it being so dark. Luckily there were a few gems. I even have one I need to send you of you and Lorenzo together.
Well, this is a very simple one, but just the other day in the Kapiti Coast we caught up with a couple of fellow travel bloggers who took us blackberry picking. The berries were sweet and free…apparently they grow all over the area. We had a nice chat while picking and it was one of the nicest experiences we’ve had so far!
Andrea what a fun afternoon and a rather nice place to be doing it as well.
Ouch – a camer-less day in Florence. This is a really nice post, though. Andy you can always go back 🙂
Sabina it was fun to wander around free of my backpack and camera, made me feel less of a tourist for a day at least. I do miss not having photos from the day though.
I have always wanted to visit Italy. Reading your blog about Florence only affirms it that I must visit Florence soon. I better hurry up as we have family friend living there. It would be more fun visiting the country while they are there. Walking around without a backpack, as I imagine, can be a real nice break. Also, to feel like a local for the day or so. 🙂
Nancy you have to go. I loved it so much I’m trying to get back there this summer to see a bit more and visit the spots I stayed at as well.
It really was a great place to finish up my travels for the summer.
Thanks for all the information. I admire what you have done here. We will look forward for your future updates. Thanks!