Trip Start May 22, 2012
52Trip End Jul 06, 2012
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Typically a new station is built a couple of hundred metres up the line, and the old station is left and often covered wtih vines and undergrowth. We found the same was true for many homes. These homes were quite large, double storey big hones that appearedto have been abadoned for 20+ years, perhaps more. Just not something you'd see so very often in Australia.
We noticed immedaterly the difference betweeen the italian stations and the swiss stations, and for that matter, the UK. Huge, unbelievalbe amounts of train graffiti, like we've all seen on tv from Los Angeles. Lack of ticket machines, lack of turnstiles, you could see the dip in infrastructure - lack of signs, and staff, the Florence information desk was closed ... whereas in the UK, there were staff to assist everywhere we went.
Having said that, inside the Italian trains, they were cleaner and with nicer seats than Melbourne. Sam was really surprised, they were much cleaner what she'd remembered from past trips in Italy. We only had one delay in Italy, in Cinque Terre, when a regional train was cancelled. The whole train thing was better than we'd heard.
Florence was quite a whirlwind, having only a single day to get a taste for what it was like. lots of flash shops, lots of clothes shopping that we would have liked to have more time to pursue. One of the first things we saw was the Duomo. It was huge. Very ornate, we are quite sure Franco Cozzo had a hand in its building :)
Dave was snapping pictures whilst being dragged along by Sam, and this picture looking back across the bridge with shops along its length was very unusual. Every inch of real estate in Florence is used to its maximum. Very much a walking city.
Fountains and bronze statues are all over the place, Sam remembered these two and aimed for them on their way to the Uffizi Gallery.
The statue of Dave was very impressive. At 5.17 metres, Dave wasn't expecting the size of the statue. As you can see from the two photos Dave took, photographs were prohibited. A small Italian lady came over and told him off - fortunately, she was too slow off the mark.
As for the sculpture itself, Dave mumbled something about gym membership as we were leaving.
Finally, we got to the real statue ...
The stepthrough bikes were everywhere ... it's nice to see them zipping through the city.
Most of the places we visited in Italy are really made for walking, not cars. The cobblestone streets, tested the notoriouskly weak Rees ankles, one of which, you may recall, was badly twisted from an accident in an outdoor adventure store, while he was trying to get to the dressing room to try on some travel pants. With this preexisting injury in place, and the worlds most unsupportive business shoes, Dave had a winning combination for the walking tour of Florence.