In Florence you can walk out the door and be confronted with building after building of old time charm. Knowing this, I spent my next two days taking walks around the city while catching up with Suzy and Annie when they were free.
My first solo day in Florence was a relatively slow one. I slept late before heading into the city center to wander the streets and find some lunch. A simple outing but yet so very rewarding as I had no idea where to go and I didn’t care. I had no plan, no direction, just the desire to take in the latest city I was stopping in.
The only regret was leaving my daypack and camera behind, but with the sun looming high above I didn’t need any more reasons to get hot and sweaty. It was nice to just look with my eyes and not through the LCD screen of my camera. Of course now that I’ve departed Florence and am relieving the experience I very much wish I had taken that camera along for the walk.
The day progressed with watching some World Cup action on the massive projector screen setup at the hostel and me heading out twice for some gelato which was of course the only way possible I could think of keeping cool.
That evening I then caught up with Annie and Suzy at a pub called The William for a few social drinks. A fitting way to end what was a very relaxed day for me. It was also where I was invited to watch Annie’s boyfriends band play the following night.
My second solo day very much resembled what I would have done back home on a sunday afternoon. I bummed around on the internet catching up with family back home and producing the content that you lovely folk come here to read (I hope). I did make time for a gelato run but on the whole I hibernated inside and loved every minute of it. Had I been able to get back into my room I’m sure I could have easily taken a nap as well.
The real fun for the day started when I headed off to watch the band play. I may have got slightly lost on the way, but given how far away from my hostel it was I think I did pretty well. I arrived at the park area beside the Arno River, finding a food/drink setup and of course a spot for the band to work their magic. Finding Annie I grabbed a beer and sat down with the group of friends that had gathered.
Before long it was time to be dazzled by the bands performance. Now even though I have no idea what they were singing about, the flashy lights and music was still enough to make the night a great success.
Thinking about that night now I know I was very lucky to have been able to attend. As a backpacker passing through I’d never have heard about this if it wasn’t for friends living in Florence. It re-enforces my belief that when you travel it is worth making the effort to meet the locals. Maybe that’s via the Couchsurfing Community ,Twitter/Facebook or even through a friend of a friend. To put it in perspective just think about your home town, how many secret places do you know of that the average backpacker would never find.
To finish I’d like to know about your favourite travelling experience that was the direct result of meeting up with someone local to the area you stayed.