|The Uffizi Museum|
|The Duomo's beauty is impossible to capture with photography|
|The shop down the road from our apartment filled wine bottles that you brought in from a tap.|
|Sara and I before heading out on NYE|
|Natasha and Sara at dinner|
|Music in the piazza|
|It was not warm. We were wearing coats, but Sara wanted a photo without our coats on.|
|The Ponte Vecchio and Arno River|
That evening, we had another wonderful dinner. Chris wanted to try a famous Florentine steak - a thick T-bone weighing in at over a kilo (2.2 lbs.). Having personal experience with Italian beef, I thought better of it and stuck to pasta. Surprisingly, the steak was fantastic, perfectly cooked (really hard to do with a 2 lb T-bone), wonderful flavor. Smartly, Chris didn't even attempt to eat the whole thing.
The next morning, as Chris and Natasha headed to Chianti to do a wine tour, Sara and I headed back into town to take a free walking tour. As a former tour guide, I can admittedly be a bit of a tour guide snob. I have certain expectations and I have generally found that these free walking tours offer some of the best tours (better than many paid tours I have taken). As they generally work for tips only, they have to be good in order to make money. There is an art to corralling large groups of people, regaling them with interesting and (mostly) truthful stories about art, history, food, people, and culture. Give them more than they can get from a guide book. Oh, and be on time and make it easy for people to find you. Like I said, I am a bit of a tour guide snob. The tour that we went on was easily the worst tour I have ever been on. The guide was late, leaving dozens of people wandering around the square wondering if they had the right time and place. She spoke like a mouse and her microphone system was broken. The only information she provided was opening and closing times and the cost of visiting sites. She gave some vague information on dates and who built stuff, but none of it came alive. It was worse than reading your high school history book. After our third stop, I made Sara leave the tour (she wasn't enjoying it either) and we ventured off on our own.
|I loved the calm reflective waters of the Arno|
|Look at these oranges!|
|And the artichokes (artsy photo courtesy of Sara Caniglia)|
|Our final walk over the Arno|
One thing I forgot - the Gelato!!! We ate tons of it. Sara got mad at me a few times because I am a gelato snob and won't just eat it anywhere. She complained as we stopped at several "gelaterias" and I made her turn around again. When we found one of the good places, she admitted it was worth the extra walk. God the gelato was good.