I know I said I wanted adventure and boy have I been living up to that these past few months. I tottled, tootled, buzzed off to Florence for a week, came home for a day and then jetted off to Croatia for 4 days. I then came home for a solid 2 weeks and flew over to Dublin. I have so many things lined up for the end of the year I am ready to burst with excitement. To cross 2 new countries off my list this year already makes for one very happy Tea Lady girl lady. I think it’s best if I show you all what the devil I have been up to hey?
I was feeling a little overwhelmed with how much I have to share as I got click happy when I was away. So I thought a little brief rundown of Florence was the best way to kick start this travel series then we can delve a little deeper into my travels, tipples and tinder dates.
I don’t really want to go into the ridiculous car hire scenario that was endured at the start of the trip but lets put it this way. Don’t risk hiring a car without your driving licence no matter what the old internet may say, because no Carli you can not blag it and it may cost you another £200. I have learnt a fair few lessons with hiring cars recently and was told not to dwell on it too much as it could have been a lot worse. So it was time to scramble for a car park and sink some Italian beers.
This trip could not have been sorted without my good friend Giancarlo. He wasn’t even in the county but a few photo messages of street signs and translations later we risked a car parking space and hid our little beauty down a residential road. Naughty I know. But the parking situation here is insane and we didn’t factor that in as lol, we went a bit thick and forgot about this. Word of advice if you hire a car abroad – Always check to see if you can get parking included in your stay if you are to visit Florence as it is super expensive, and man, this girl wants pennies for pints not parking.
Day One – We decided to explore Florence, discover what the devil was around us and drink some beers. We were staying in an Air BnB in the heart of Firenze right near to Santo Spirito and it was quite late by the time we headed out. This and the fact we didn’t really have a plan turned into us stumbling across a supermarket that you could go into and grab a beer from the fridge and get decanted into a plastic cup that you could take out into the night and take in some Italian air. We took our beers and sat and sipped them right next to the fountain deciding what we wanted to do here in Florence. A supermarket bar is the next big thing, let me tell you. Gap in the market right there Tea Bees.
Day Two – This is where it starts to get interesting. My holiday pal had something well planned before we even arrived. Organisation to the max and the best way to get to know a city is by hitting up some girls on Tinder and planning a date that then turned into a double date, which then turned into triple date. Eating Pizza in a park and drinking yet more beers was the ultimate start to the trip just one one day in. We explored Florence during the day and ate pasta by erm, midday. Then it was a ‘get your Google Maps out’ and find the Giardino dell’Orticoltura (Horticultural Garden). As we sat waiting for our pals to arrive, who were actually some of the best humans ever, some live musicians took to the little stage in this park and that’s when we knew this week would be a blooming delight. This place was pretty special.
Day Three – We had such a brilliant night the eve before and we made a couple of great friends on this really odd group date thing which turned out to be absolutely fantastic that we thought why not hang again this eve. We were invited to their apartment which was dreamy as ever to spend some good quality time laughing at each others pronunciations of the word Turmeric. It was funny I swear. Chinese food was ordered and my new pal Lorenzo appeared just in time to whisk me away on his scooter to grab a beer and sit on secret river ledge and take in Florence by night. Meeting people can be so easy when you find the right ones who love a good thriller film and are as enthralled by conspiracy theories as you are. We would have never have experienced these places if we hadn’t met these guys online who are actually from the city and know all the cool spots away from the tourist traps.
Day Four – Sienna bound for us. We got told to visit here from my friend, so off we went in our Fiat 500 to Sienna. This medieval town was just delightful and only a one hour drive from Florence. It was so nice to take in the Tuscan landscape by car at our own pace. We didn’t really know what to expect because this was a spur of the moment trip out but this town was like something out of a film. As we were walking into the main square we realised we had stumbled across their yearly festival of Il Palio. It was heaving so we decided to go on a little adventure down the side streets to discover some gems and mingle with the locals. We perched on some wooden seats and scoffed down some homemade pasta that Fran had whipped up and caught some rays before we headed off to Florence.
As we were heading back I got a lovely text from our Air BnB host to see if we wanted to join a party at the shop she works in later that evening. So we got home, freshened up and hit up a party in a cool as clothes store. We were greeted with Aperol Spritz, ate loads of nibbles and bought a shed load of clothes from MMega.
That evening we went for pizza, extra spicy, and got chatting to the sweetest Australian couple and shared a bottle of wine with them, because that’s just what new friends do before we do all ventured out into the night.
Day Five – Driving and exploring and dating the heck out of these Italians definitely took the better of us. We had a lazy morning of eating breakfast slower than a snail and I headed out to grab some snaps and drink beer, because obviously I’m on my holidays and my hangover was nowhere near as bad as Mr Hammil’s so this felt like the right thing to do. The weather was pretty rubbish on Day Five and quite overcast but it was nice to just relax and take an easy one instead of burning my little pale face.
We had plans to meet Claudia, Francesca and her boyfriend this eve so we inhaled even more pizza and off we went to meet our new Italian friends in Santo Spirito We drank Moscow Mules and fine wines at the coolest bar in the square. It was so tiny and everyone spilled out into the streets, chatting away and dancing.
Day Six – Fran smashed out another classic avo breakfast and we took it easy this morning. We took a walk across the bridge to check out some vintage shops and the coolest bar/shop/workspace ever called La Menagere. Absolute interior goals. We glugged down a beer and headed for the Duomo, which was closed, of course it was, as we have zero luck between us. As we were heading to Pisa the next day we didn’t make this eve one a late one and decided to get the zeds in ready to hit up the leaning tower and what it had to offer.
Day Seven – As we need to grab an 11am flight the next morning we decided to set off and stay in Pisa for our last night. A mere one hour drive and ten minutes away from the airport in a cheap ass hotel with parking for €55 was not to be sniffed at. It wasn’t really as described but we were up early the next day so we took off to track down that wonky tower and spend the day in the sun.
Claudia our Tinder babe told us about Marina di Pisa so we headed out for a 20 minute drive and were greeted with the most beautiful Marina you ever did see. We took a stroll and watched the sunset and scoffed our last stone baked pizza before I popped off a brace bracket with some coconut before we headed back to our accommodation. We were up at 6am to get the heck out of there and chill at the airport before our 2 hour 20 minute flight back home.
I even mastered some Italian words such as Grazie and Ciao to the point where two people thought I was actually Italian, lol!. Another two people thought I had great perfume and it was 100% my dry shampoo, so, I obviously came back from this holiday a winner.
I feel like there is so much more to tell you about, but, this is not a dissertation, so stay posted for some more Florence posts in between some Croatian delights and Irish treats too. Who do I think I am with all these travel posts? I am not too sure. But I kind of like her….
Love Carli x