We had no clue how tired we were.
Like, mind-numbingly, horrifyingly, exhausted. I was on the verge of having a nervous breakdown and depression was looming overhead.
Remind me why we do this again?
Our bank account was almost non-existent. We had been doing back to back press trips for 3 weeks. We hadn’t had a single day to ourselves. Oh, and I realized that this isn’t how I want to travel in the future.
We are slow travelers. It sucks that it took us to get to this point to realize it. More power to you backpackers that fly through any place in a matter of a few days.
Italy had brought me to tears multiple times. Rome is hard. Not only was it the only country where we had a serious language barrier (they refused to allow me to speak Spanish to get points across), but the chaotic nature was just a bit too much after going full speed for long.
How did people vacation here?
It wasn’t until we arrived to Florence and into the company of the amazing guys over at Beers & Beans that we were able to feel okay. They allowed us to slow down.
For the first time in months we were able to slowly get to know a place. And over a period of 2 weeks I became enamoured with Florence. This is my type of town.
It was clean. It was kept. The buildings were freshly painted. The pigeons were held at bay. I didn’t feel scared to walk around at night. It was small things like this that allowed me to finally breathe – to relax – to enjoy what we work so hard to have.
It is an art hub. Michelangelo called this place his home along with Leonardo, Raphael, and (no, not Donatello) Botticelli.
While walking around the city lost in my thoughts I realized that this was the Italy I had iconicized in my head. Street performers had accordion music bouncing off the walls. The golden hour here was one of the most magic I had ever seen.
Eye candy was everywhere.
I got to have an awesome cappuccino and a cannoli is the amazing Piazza dei Republica.
…and when I needed solitude, Shaun and I would walk to the only open air museum in the world. Open 24 hours, this place is where we would sit on the steps, talk, and just stare in awe at the beauty of the sculptures exhibited. The place was virtually a tomb at 2:30am but one of the most calming locations of the trip.
Every couple of days we would make our way down to the farmer’s market to pick our our produce for our homemade meals. We would stock up on local house wine or peruse the aisles of the grocery store picking multiple cheap bottles to try with our pasta. An evening stroll would turn into a quick gelato run.
Things were just so perfect.
I feel so incredibly lucky that we got the opportunity to live like locals and to slow down. I think I would have given up everything and headed home had Beth and Randy not had been there to be our guardian angels.
There really is nothing else like being in an amazing city with amazing friends.