What an amazing 48 hours!
On Wednesday I woke up in my apartment in Lyme Regis with just my sisters as they had been for a sleepover. Thank you to Trevor and Jim for looking after all the children – we did enjoy ourselves. I always enjoy visiting Lyme Regis and this had been a particularly good visit as I had seen so many members of my family. This is the ‘mushroom house’ which is the subject of one of the drawings my Aunty did which are on the wall in the apartment! Lyme Regis is such a pretty town, I will miss it. I most enjoyed the central and beachfront location of the apartment as it meant so many people popped in. This is Chris, my cousin Miranda’s husband who lives less than a 5 minute walk away and he came round for a cuppa.This scene of the beach is very Lowryesque!
We have experienced extraordinarily high tides and also incredibly low tides during our visit which all contributes to making the beach a dynamic area which is constantly changing. We relocated from Lyme Regis in the afternoon to Grandpa Ian’s in Sidmouth where we enjoyed the sunshine and caught up with Mera. I always enjoy sitting on this patio, especially when it is so sunny and I have so many lovely people to chat to. Ian had made a fabulous shepherd’s pie following a recipe from The Ivy – delicious. We also had Banoffee pie and a chocolatey yummy something and more wine vicar. Yet another diet disaster of a day but a really lovely day. I was up very early on Thursday morning. Up in time for sunrise actually which was spectacular for about 2 minutes. Farewell lovely Lyme, we will be back soon.We spent Thursday travelling to Florence in Tuscany in Italy. I was very excited as it is a part of the world I have not visited before. We had a very long and frustrating journey but got there in the end.
Everywhere we go, Harvey always checks the pool first and this one did not disappoint. I had really wanted to relax by the pool to get over travel traumas but unfortunately it had just closed as we checked in to our hotel.
Nevermind, we can look forward to relaxing in it the next day.
We decided to eat straight away as we had not eaten since a sandwich at Gatwick about 8 hours earlier and were all hungry. We settled in to the restaurant at the hotel and enjoyed the sunset over Florence. A decent Chianti helped us relax.Lara and I had conchilgie with goose ragout and black truffles. To be honest the hotel restaurant is a bit poncey and the waiting staff are too fussy for my liking. I am more of a homely trattoria type of a person, especially when tired and hungry but this was all tasty enough but so expensive. This bowl of pasta cost more then a good steak at home! Dessert was fabulous. Chocolate fondant with vanilla ice-cream. Worth every over-priced Euro.
Buongiorno Firenze :-)
We sat and had breakfast looking out over Florence this morning. I had a lovely coffee flavoured yogurt with a large portion of fruit salad and a cappuchino.
Followed by salami, ham, cheese, brown bread tomato and scrambled egg. That set me up for the day and apart from some crisps with a beer in the afternoon, it kept me going until supper time. We then set off in to Florence centre which was the first time for us all which made it exciting. I took so many pictures and many of them I do not know what they are. All of Florence is like an art gallery or museum and you could happily photograph everything you look at. Statues like this one are all over the place. This is near the Ponte Vecchio. This is the Ponte Vecchio – we had started walking along it before I realised we were on it as either side is full of shops so you think you are on a street. Mainly jewellery shops, not all of which were open. There is a large area in the middle where you can see you are definitely on a bridge. This bridge was built in 1345 and is the only bridge to not be blown up in WW2. Hard to believe we were walking over something built so long ago. It did look like a set from a film!
There are lots of charming doors everywhere too. This is Ponte Vecchio seen from the river banks. The River Arno was looking very green. A very Italian scene! The Uffizi which we did not visit today but we do have tickets for tomorrow. Round the corner and we walked in to the Piazza della Signoria which is like a sculpture gallery. My little darlings beside the Neptune Fountain. Unbelievably it was very cloudy in the morning and it even rained – I really don’t believe it. The grey skies soon changed to blue though so good humour was quickly restored. There really are little things of interest EVERYwhere you look. Another typically Italian street scene of all the mopeds. Limoncello. Postcards. I do have a guide book but apart from that I know very little about Florence except it is stunning and gorgeous and lovely and I need to know more about it. The trouble with booking a trip so last minute is that you have no time to prepare or read up in advance but luckily the helpful ladies in the tourist info’ did know lots about their city.Even Tourist Information is in a beautiful building.
Of all the iconic images of Florence, this must be one of the most famous – the Duomo. My chin was practically dragging along the ground as my mouth must surely have been gaping at such incredible beauty. It is so huge and so stunningly beautiful it is almost impossible to believe what you are looking at is real and was created by human beings. The queue was too long to go in so we enjoyed the outside and we will try to get inside another day. I needed a coffee and I am in the right country for one of those. I tried an Espresso which was great. That and a glass of cold sparkling water and I was back in action. The Florentines do have very fancy doorbells outside their apartments.
They really are quite lovely.
We did not go inside any of the galleries or churches today. Instead we walked around to get our bearings and to check out the famous buildings.
And the curious buildings! Why has this building got all these bits of paper stuck on it? Very strange. This is the exterior of the Mercato Centrale, which is Florence’s huge food market. All around the streets outside are market stalls,
selling mainly leather goods such as these desk tidies.
Wallets. Belts. More belts. Wrist bands. I am having camera trouble :-(. My best camera is being temperamental and often refuses to work so I use the little one which is good quality for its size and type. I found a new setting today which I tested on the Little Fella.
He liked it but I think I will stick to a more conventional setting.
I love the buildings standing out behind the stalls. We went inside the Mercato Centrale and could not believe our eyes. It was HUGE !!! Look at the size of the lampshades. This building is made of cast iron and glass and was built in 1874. When it was restored in 1980, a mezzanine floor was added. The building seemed to be mainly taken up be takeaway foods but we were not hungry from breakfast so we just looked around the stalls. This is absolutely nothing like the kitchens I have ever learnt to cook in. This is a very smart looking school. So many of the products for sale had really pretty packaging. I would have loved to try some of these and next time I think I will. Back outside in the heat and throng of Florence. I do keep thinking I am looking at a film set. But I am not, it is all real.
We relaxed by the pool at our hotel in the afternoon and in the evening we wandered down some streets near our hotel and came to this restaurant which my guide book reckons “is probably the best pizzeria in the city”. I can’t comment as I have nothing in Florence to compare it to but it is definitely one of the best I have had. Lara had the 4 cheese and ham which was excellent. Harvey had one with hot dogs on it which he was thrilled about as he loves a hot dog. I had the 4 cheese with a beer which hit the spot perfectly. Followed by a Tiramisu which may not look very interesting but it was superb. I would highly recommend this fantastic restaurant if you like eating casually but to a very high standard and we will have to exert some will power to not return tomorrow in order that we can try somewhere new! We ended the evening watching sunset over the city with a drink at our hotel.
An incredible day and I can’t wait to see what we can see tomorrow.