Italy: The Day the Slushie was King, to the Trini Queen!

Walking along the Ponte Vecchio was really awesome. During a tour later in our trip, we learnt that initially, butchers set up shop along the bridge but the members of the Medici family, when having to walk along the bridge to get to work at the Palazzo Vecchio, did not appreciate the smell. Thus out went the butchers and in came the gold merchants and to this day, gold, art and beautiful souvenirs rule the roost on the bridge.

I eventually decided that I did not want to pay money to go into the Boboli Gardens. I had been in enough free gardens during vacations, and truly, after the huge lunch I had, I thought it best to keep walking and exploring the city. So I decided I would head to the Piazza Michelangelo, where the view was supposed to be breathaking.

What was breathtaking was the trek to the square. Literally. No...it really took my breath away. My guidebook had detailed directions to the square, with both a bus option and a pedestrian option. Brave traveller that I am, I opted to walk. Travel tip - uphill walking is not recommended in 36 degree Celsius heat and in a floor-length sundress. When I got to the base of this hill I was supposed to climb, I almost turned back because it was so incredibly hot, I was incredibly tired and the incline was incredibly steep, but then the Cuban woman, who looked almost 100, put me to shame taking her steps up the incline gingerly. I continued going up, taking little breaks with my fan and stopping to chat with other tourists who had taken similar breaks along the way. Tip: Take the  bus up the hill, folks. lol

By the time I made it to the top of this hill, I was dead. I was hot, sticky and exhausted. I immediately got myself a strawberry slushie (the best!) and sat down with my fan for 5 minutes to "ketch mihself". But the view at the top was well worth the exercise. It was a clear, sunny (did I mention, hot?) day so you could see the entire city for miles. Just gorgeous.



There is also another replica of David in the square, so again, the desire to see the original was not an overwhelming one.



I got myself another slushie and sat in the sun where I baked for 3 minutes before getting yet another slushie and some water and found a shady corner. It truly was a breathtaking experience.

The walk down of course was much more pleasant, and with slushie #4 in hand I took a leisurely stroll back to the city centre, back to the corridor of the Uffizi where I realised my feet were a black, dusty mess from all the dust and grime. You can imagine the length and bliss of my shower that night.

I looked around as the day started to wind down and the doors of the gallery were closing and the tourists started heading back to the Duomo where seemed to be Tourist Central. I sat on the Duomo steps, hoping Francesco did not make an appearance, and had a tiramisu gelato and some water, while chatting with a Mexican man and his fiancee who had also climbed the hill to Piazza Michelangelo and who were also going to the Tuscan countryside the next day, though not with my tour. One thing I absolutely love about my adventures is meeting all the fellow travellers and sharing our experiences. I did mention to my uncle yesterday that I am always the lone black tourist, which is a bit sad.

I window shopped for the rest of the evening, with of course, a Sephora stop, where I indulged in a smoky eye and a lip gloss application (remember I travelled via Ryanair, so I had only cabin baggage, and left 99% of my makeup behind, so this was free bliss!). Ready for dinner!!!

I decided to try Trattoria da Guido for dinner since I had a hankering for ravioli and Florentine steak. I love the outside dining of Europe, and I chose a table which gave me a good view to gape and observe people passing by. The food here was excellent (dunno what the one negative review on Tripadvisor was about), even better than the food I had the night before. I especially loved the bruschetta and I remarked the next day that even something as seemingly simple as toasted bread with olive oil and tomatoes tasted different everywhere I had it. This was good bruschetta though. I had 3 glasses of wine with my meal, and was toasty and very happy after that.

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