Perhaps we skip the harrowing journey that I endured as we made our way through several hundreds of kilometres to our destination.
Never a great traveller as I have reiterated before but I've yet to medicate myself in fear of appearing before the approaching immigrations officer as inebriated, incoherent or worse, insensible. Add that to a dizzying train journey from the sadly blighted environs of Bologna to our final destination of Florence - and you can imagine me desperately stumbling out from the Santa Maria Novella Station seeking salvation on the steady, thankfully unmoving ground.
Despite emerging from the dullness of the station into a dismal, unprepossessing section of the city, the late afternoon sun was already painting the staid brownstones of Florence in vivid reds and yellows. Balm enough to force my throbbing headache into a retreat - and more than enough for me to seek out the surprisingly friendly tourist information office.
Directions were given and soon we had our bags, our maps and our taxi driver. Unquestionably an unforgettable taxi ride from the station as we - seemingly purposefully - were driven past the many sights and attractions of the city from the dazzling Duomo to the sombre Palazzo Vecchio on our way to the hotel on the other side of town. Interesting vignettes of life on the streets gave us a tantalizing preview of what was to come with backpackers huddled together in the endless queues up the Campanile to several teenagers slurping their gelato in the brisk autumn breeze.
|Presumably not everyone's quite as impressed with the view but I certainly was!|
Whatever aches and pains that ailed me during the interminable flight were forgotten when I caught sight of the unmistakable beauty of David perched on the Piazzale Michaelangelo high above the city.
Certainly would be hard to beat all the amazing displays we'd seen but our room managed to amaze us with one more view. Raising our heads to the ceiling, we found an amusingly aged fresco of flora and fauna right above the beds.
It was enough to make me drop my bags and insist on rushing out to take in the sights again.