Florence was a Bust…and a Photobomb

Planning is so important when traveling & I had everything mapped out for our day in Florence.  I researched the port of Livorno, the port city where we were to dock, as well as travel on the busses and trains.  I checked out all of the museums and other interesting sites.  I did comparison shopping for excursions and group tours.  I even looked at the restaurants beforehand, but things don’t always work out the way you plan them.

A view of the opposite bank of the Arno river from the HOHO bus

By the time we got to Livorno, it was our third day in port.  On the previous two days, we’d been in Marseille and Genoa back-to-back.  We got back late the day before and I honestly didn’t look at my research on Florence, at least not until that morning when we were getting ready for our day out.  We all slept in a little later than normal, too.  The internet has been a constant hassle as well.  It’s made posting on the blog almost impossible.  I’ve been getting up at 4am to upload photos since it’s the only time the internet is even usable – and the speeds are still really, really slow by today’s standards.

Our tour bus in Florence

Anyway, we got up later than usual and realized that by the time we took the two busses and the train we’d need to take to get to Florence, we would only have about 2 hours in the city.  Even though Pisa was closer, we still wanted to go to Florence and see what we could in that short time.  We had to modify our plans:  no Accademia Gallery with its original statue of David.  Instead, we opted for the HOHO (Hop on Hop Off) bus and did a whirlwind tour of the major sites in the city.

A square in Florence

I do not recommend the HOHO bus for anyone who is planning to go there.  It was impossible to hear the audio during the ride and the bus was going too fast for us to get any good photos.  It was a real letdown for all of us.  We saw some beautiful places, but we didn’t know what we were seeing for the majority of the time.

A street in Florence

We did stop at the Piazzela Michelangelo, which offers stunning panoramic views of the city.  We walked around in the square and checked out the souvenir vendors.

Kyle checking out the local souvenirs

Then we just stood for awhile and enjoyed the awesome views.  Check out the photos!

One of the stunning views at Piazzale Michelangelo
Piazzale Michelangelo has some of the best panoramic views of Florence
Fred is enjoying the gorgeous views

Of course, *some* of the views could have been better…if certain people would stop messing around 🙂

Kyle photobombing our shot

There is a bronze cast of Michelangelo’s David in the center of the square.  It wasn’t the same as seeing the actual sculpture though, but it was still cool.

A replica of the statue of David at Piazzale Michelangelo

Since we had some time while we were waiting for the HOHO bus to return, we took a few photos of the family … mostly just goofing around.

This is what happens when you’ve asked your family to take more than a hundred photos over the past several weeks. They start to take weird photos.
Goofing around on the steps at Piazzale Michelangelo.
Fred wants one like this  😉

After the HOHO bus, we stopped near the train station in Florence to grab something to eat.  We were really impressed with this place.  It turned out to be a great find.

Shake Cafe in Florence has great wraps, juices, and smoothie bowls.

We just happened to pass by here and the menu had some great vegan and dairy-free options for me and Kyle.  We are always looking for places that list all of the ingredients or note the potential allergens in their dishes and this place did just that.  The wraps are really tasty and the prices were not outrageous, either.

Waiting for our wraps and smoothies at Shake Cafe

After eating, we rushed back to the train station because it started raining and hopped on the first train back to Livorno.  Then we took the two buses back to the port and called it a day.  There is one thing upon which we all agreed:  Florence is definitely a city we’d like to return to when we get the chance.  All we got was a really small taste today, but it was delicious!