The final part of the Italy trip was Florence. Dave had a conference there and one of my besties and Fresh Sugar office manager came too!
It was so great to meet up with friends in a foreign land.
Our first day consisted of climbing the bell tower of the Duomo. 414 steps up a VERY narrow, dark and curvy stone passageway. I’m slightly claustrophobic, so it was with a mild sense of panic that I climbed to the top. Completely worth it though, you could see all of Florence all the way around, as well as seeing the dome of the Duomo. Just gorgeous and such an amazing memory.
We had an incredibly late dinner after having drinks at the stunning rooftop bar of our hotel. We stayed at the Hotel Continentale which is an incredibly stylish boutique hotel owned by the Ferragamo family. Our room was two floors and decorated in a modern, all-white way. We even had a balcony that overlooked the Arno river. I love staying in nice hotels, and this was my favorite room of all time.
The next day we took the train for a day trip to Pisa. It rained, boo, but we were still able to get the requisite cheesy “holding up the tower” photos. We had lunch at a small cafe and bought umbrellas to stroll around with. We had an elaborate and delicious dinner with all the company employees there for the convention – a many course meal that lasted hours. Of course we finished with a trip to a gelato shop.
Sunday brought shopping and lots of red wine drinking. Therefore Monday brought a magnificent hangover, lol! It was time for everyone to work at the tradeshow booth of the convention, except for the spouses that came. So Tara’s husband Daryl and I wandered over, checked out the booth, and then went to visit many cafes to sample their bellinis.
Honestly, the last few days of Florence were VERY low key. Daryl and I spent a lot of time wandering around, eating and drinking.
I had a very memorable evening attending the SPE conference dinner at Palazzo Vecchio. We ate while surrounded by the most amazing frescoes. I’m still pinching myself that I was able to experience these things. (Even if I am less-than-mature sometimes, playing the game “Find The Dirtiest Part of This Painting” with Dave’s co-worker and my friend Leanne)
On my last day, we visited the Uffizi Gallery, which was THE highlight of my entire trip. The Botticelli gallery moved me to tears. The colors are absolutely breathtaking, I could have spent the entire day in that one small room. It seemed life-changing to see the works of such talent in person. Rembrandt, Caravaggio, Lippi, da Vinci, Botticelli, Raphael, Michelangelo. Magnificent!
After the Uffizi we broke for lunch, then headed to the Accademia to see the statue of David. It’s pretty indescribable. The mastery of the sculpting leaves you without words.
I felt so sad on Wednesday night, as it was my last night. Dave was staying on to teach a course, and I was heading to an annual girls’ trip in Florida. I had to get up at 4am, catch my flight at 6:30am. It was Florence to Frankfurt, Frankfurt to Toronto, Toronto to Atlanta, Atlanta to Panama City, FL. By the time I went to bed, I had been up for 27 hours. So exhausting but worth it. It was surreal flying for 20 hours, I felt like I was in Groundhog Day. No matter where I went, it was always afternoon! LOL!