Travel Review: Two Days in Florence, Italy

15 Oct

I mentioned in my last post that the Italy portion of our trip became sort of a “fail” because we had exhausted ourselves in Germany. Venice might not have seemed quite so much of a failure, but Florence certainly was! We didn’t get out and about nearly as much as we should have and spent a lot of our time here sleeping. Oops! Oh, well–it turned out that Florence wasn’t quite up our alley anyway. While there is TONS of stuff to see–art, architecture, museums–we just weren’t all that into it.

We arrived around 2 p.m. that first day and honestly, spent the rest of the afternoon in our room before heading to a “ghost tour” (more on that later!) in the evening. After, we simply went back to the room and fell asleep again.

728On the second day, a Sunday, we decided to get our laundry done at a laundromat. We had washed our clothes in a sink back in Germany but we knew we wouldn’t have enough time for everything to dry without a fan in our room, so Cal took everything off to a laundromat in the morning while I was still waiting in line for a shower (more on THAT later too). After, we wandered around a bit… and went back to the room and took a nap.

I KNOW, you guys, I know! LAME. We were in FLORENCE, for goodness’ sake! But we were seriously just so exhausted. I write this post as a warning to everyone of what can happen while you’re travelling. Seriously, if you’re going for more than a few weeks, schedule in some time for yourself so that you can take a breather. Don’t wear yourself out like we did.

So, because of your lameness, I leave you with just these two reviews:

Accommodation Review: Hotel Garden

Hotel Garden was an easy enough walk from the Santa Maria Novella train station, and the directions provided were easy to follow. When we arrived, we were given our keys and the man behind the counter showed us to our room, which wasn’t in the building at all, but one block over. We thought this was a bit odd but didn’t think much of it–the street we were on was actually a bit less busy than the street the Hotel Garden building was on, so I think we might have escaped some road noise.

Our room was a private double, but with a shared bathroom. We hadn’t run into any problems with shared bathrooms so far in our travels, but this one was a big problem! There was one bathroom (shower + toilet together in one room, not separated) for at least six double rooms, all of which were full that first night. There was something about locking the bathroom door when you left, too, so it was impossible to know if anyone was in there, making it awkward to knock every time there wasn’t a line outside. I HATE the idea of people waiting for me, so I always felt awkward when I was in there and once took all of 7 minutes to shower, brush my teeth, and put make up on–a record!

Aside from the annoying bathroom situation, the room was clean, comfortable, and the staff service was good. Breakfast, which was included, was in the Hotel Garden building (short walk, honestly, and not that big of an issue to get to in the morning). It was pretty basic, the standard fare that we ended up getting in all our Italy accommodation–croissant, those weird giant crouton things, various condiments, juice, and a selection of hot beverages.

All in all, an okay stay, but I would definitely recommend paying extra for a private bathroom and avoiding that whole mess!

Activity Review: Dark Heart of Florence Walking Tour

729This tour, offered by Dark Rome, is advertised as a “ghost tour” with ghost stories, historical stories, legends, myths, etc. I thought it would be something I’d enjoy, but I have to say that I was sorely disappointed! We found the place where the tour met up easily enough, and when we got there we had to put in headphones and listen to our tour guide through them–I guess I understand that this was to a) make sure everyone could hear and b) others not on the tour couldn’t join in without paying. But it was difficult to understand our tour guide through these devices, the sound kept cutting in and out, and every time we all tried to fix it, there wasn’t much of a fix.

The tour itself was not at all what I was expecting. The tour guide went over things like architecture and art, which was interesting enough for some but I was expecting history and legends and stories. I’m not going to lie, I was SO bored! The most interesting part was when we were told a story about the Medici brothers, but that was the only story that was told that I can remember. :/

I will say, my husband was much more interested than I was and took it all in stride. At the end of the tour, we were treated to a generous cone of gelato at an excellent gelateria. While this was a fun surprise at the end of the tour, overall I was not impressed and wouldn’t go on this tour again.

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