I woke up the next morning to the sound of a blaring iPhone alarm. I reached for my phone and it was 6o’clock in the morning. Who in the world set an alarm for such an early hour? I looked around our eight-person hostel room (which was comprised of seven of us and some asian dude next to me), waiting for someone to shut off this evil sound. No one. The sound continued on for a couple minutes until the iPhone snoozed itself. We realized that it was our dear friend Keith’s phone. “KEITH!” We would yell. “TURN OFF YOUR PHONE!” 10 minutes later it would go off again. “KEITH! TURN OFF YOUR PHONE, DON’T JUST SNOOZE IT!” “Yea, Yea you guys. I got it,” he would reply. This went on for about an hour. Finally, after the asian guy next to me had just left out of frustration, I got up from my bed, walked up to Keith’s bed and yelled “GIVE ME YOUR PHONE.” He handed it over begrudgingly, and I turned off the alarm.
The next morning, all of us yelled at him for his alarm. He looked at us confused, What were we talking about? Apparently, all those times he responded to us, saying he had turned off his alarm, he had been sleep talking. His only recollection of the entire fiasco was me, standing over his bed yelling at him, as he wondered why in the world I was so angry.
For breakfast, I tried to lead the group to some “Secret Bakery” my friend had told me about. For directions, she had taken a screenshot of a sketchy alleyway from Google Streetview. We wandered around alleyways for about an hour until we finally gave up. Apparently you need to do some secret door knock and its only open at night for a late-night snack. My friend had not informed me of any of this until after I told her I couldn’t find it…. If you do find yourself in Florence though, apparently this place is amazing. Good luck finding it though.
After this fail, we picked up some croissants from a bakery and headed over to the Piazza del Duomo to climb the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore. We had to mount the thing to a) say we had some exercise to burn off all the Italian carbs b) see a pretty view c) get a closer look at the beautiful paintings on the dome d) there’s no better way to cure a hangover than climbing up a tall building. Climbing up cost us 8E, but the class before us told us that paying those extra euros to see the cathedral views are definitely worth it. While most of the advice the earlier class provided us with was complete and utter crap, this little gem of advice was one worth following. But as a warning for travelers venturing to Florence, if you are claustrophobic, scared of heights, or clumsy you might want to find another viewpoint in Florence. Summiting the dome was pretty scary because the pathway is extremely narrow yet is magically supposed to accommodate both those ascending and descending AND the steps get really steep and small when you are at the dome spot. (The descent is far scarier by the way.)
When we finally made it up to the top, it was beautiful; the red roofs were a welcome change from all the grey I had been experiencing in France. While there, we had to take a group photo. While taking a group shot is not usually something worth noting, this was particularly funny since Zoe had her Colgate sweatshirt on and someone came up with the idea that this would be the perfect moment for us to take a (cheesy) Colgate study abroad picture to land us in the Colgate Scene magazine. I think the photo came out pretty good (besides the fact that I look gross), so I’m going to look out for this photo the next Scene that comes out.
After, we headed to the other side of the river to get some pizza. My friend had recommended a place called Gusta Pizza. very casual, take a number place. fucking awesome pizza, def the best I had there. very inexpensive. its on the other side of the arno though so a bit of a hike. So as we headed over to find Gusta Pizza, that’s all I knew about it. It was on the other side of the Arno, but I had no address. Somehow we magically found someone that knew where it was, and he pointed us in the right direction. I am so glad we found it. I got this spicy sausage pizza and it was incredible. As usual, I finished the whole thing and tried some other peeps’ pizzas who apparently can’t handle as much food as I can. At our table, there was a bunch of papers and various currencies hidden under the glass with tourists name’s written on them, so we signed one of our number slips with Geneva Spring 2013. The Americans at the table next to us asked if they could borrow or pen. They also wanted to leave their trace in Florence. So if any of you head over to Florence, definitely go to Gusta Pizza and then go to the back room, sit at the table in the left far corner and try to find our paper! GO! NOW!
After, we had to wash our pizza down with something and since we were in Italy, we chose some gelato. Faith had been to Florence before and said this place called Grom was amazing and my friend Sarah had also recommended it. Once again, we had very limited knowledge about where exactly it was. What I knew about Grom? In terms of gelato, it is all amazing. Grom is supposed to be the best, right next to the Duomo. Faith said it around around the Duomo, on the Arno side. At this point, it had started raining and we were aimlessly wandering around the streets of Florence, hoping to stumble upon this gelato spot. When we were about to give up, I decided to see if I could catch any available wifi (pronounced WeeeFeee) in the middle of the street. Surprisingly, I did and led the crew heroically to Grom. The gelato was amazing. The Asian tourists in line after us thought the same thing.
For dinner that night, we went to this fancy place called Zaza. a huge place with a ton of outdoor seating and a massive menu. really good food, had a great truffle risotto, my sister had steak tartar. eggplant parm is supposed to be good. Since it was winter, we sat inside. And since we were in Italy, we just gorged ourselves on pasta. I actually got an artichoke appetizer and pasta for my main course, accompanied by multiple bottles of red we had ordered for the table. The six of us just sat there eating, drinking, and talking for hours. Although we didn’t go out that night, we didn’t have to. We got tipsy enough off our classy red wine and just chatted away until 11pm. Sometimes, just talking with friends is so much better than going out.