24 January 2008

Ostello Archi Rossi (and other things)

When we got to Florence we were greeted with cobblestone streets and had tons of fun dragging the suitcases over that to our hostel, the Ostello Archi Rossi. Happily, it was daytime this time and it was only a four minute walk from the train station. The hostel, though, told us that our room wasn’t going to be ready until 1400h, which meant we had a little over two hours to just hang around Florence. The man behind the desk was very nice and let us stow all of our stuff in their baggage room and we walked back outside. Where to go when you need a table to sit at so that you can do some money calculating and figure out other planning sort of things? Hmmm….a place with big tables….but all the cafés were pretty stable with their mini tables fit for cappuccinos and croissants….so we headed to McDonald’s, feeling like idiots. Maggie and I walked in and looked at one another. It was a “I can’t believe we are letting ourselves even walk in these doors we don’t even eat here in America” sort of look. We dumped our purses and sat down and did some money figuring, and set down what we wanted to do during our stay.

I think after that we must have gone wandering for a little bit, it couldn’t have possibly taken us two hours to write down how much hostels were costing us…maybe we even got back to Archi Rossi closer to 1500h. Either way, we finally got to our room and met our roomie Rebecca. The three of us have decided that Rebecca was a very special person. She was maybe 27 and an Aussie with boyfriends in pretty much every country. Every single day we were there she was supposed to be checking out, and every single day we were out of our room by 9, and when we came back around 3, she was almost always in bed. She was a sweet girl, I guess. Just didn’t seem to be doing anything at all with her life. She studied art history in school and was hoping for a job restoring art somewhere so that she could hang out in the city for even longer. The thing that got us the most was how much she talked. Oh. My. Gosh.

She talked so much. One day we came back from walking who knows where and were all laying on our beds trying to sleep or at least be quiet, and she just kept talking to us about her dates and boys and how our other roommates were such good guys.

[Oh, forgot to mention that in order to save moolah in Florence, we stayed in a six bed mixed dorm room. It was…interesting. Actually, the one other girl was more awkward than all of the boys who went through.] Ariel and Maggie were on their beds by 1500h and sleeping, I was talking to Rebecca until 1605h, when she had to leave to meet one of her boys for a cappuccino by the market. She said goodbye and then came back in, right when I was falling asleep for my nap. At 1630h, I finally was able to be in a silent room and I slept until 1700h, the time I had set my alarm for. Ugh. That was fun.

So our first full day in Firenze was a Sunday. The night before we sat around trying to decide if we should try to go to a mass or not until about 2200h. I really wanted to go to one, two of my closest friends had told me that it was a must, so of course I was running on that information. Maggie, being Catholic, was for the idea, but when she looked at y map and saw how many gazillions of churches there were in the area, she kinda went caput. Ariel seemed to just not care. I wanted them to join in the decision, so when we decided that maybe it was best to go ask at the desk for a good place to go, I wanted them to come along to hear what the guy had to say. Nope. I ended up going alone, walking through the drizzle to the other building and asking the guy, who told me either to go to his church (“Nombr twenty foourr. Thasa may church”) or to the Cattedrale del Santa Maria di Fiore.

The Cathedral, where we ended up going, is one of the most beautiful buildings I have ever seen. I can’t for the life of me remember any of the back story to the building itself, except for it kept on being built, and construction was restarted…and then something about the church being without a façade for a super long time, but it finally got one in like the 17 or 1800s, so really the church as we know it is incredibly modern. But it is still breathtaking. I think we walked past it at least once a day and every single time we did all three of us had to stop and just stare at it for at least five or six minutes.

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