Tuscany Part Six: Tuscan towns and leaning towers

My last post may have made it sound like I just didn’t leave the hotel for a week (apart from for food). That’s not really that far off but it’s not entirely true. We had a whole two day trips. Okay, perhaps they were more like afternoon trips – we needed a minimum daily quota of pool time after all. Continue reading “Tuscany Part Six: Tuscan towns and leaning towers”

Tuscany Part Five: a very chilled hotel-based week

13th – 19th August 2016

The next week of my Tuscan trip passed way too quick, in a blur of outings to nearby towns, tasty meals and a whole lotta pool time at the Grotta Giusti. I had planned to swim everyday and use the hotel gym but in reality I didn’t enter the gym (obviously) and only managed to swim three times. My sunlounger was just so comfy. I did make it into the pool on more occasions but only really to cool down in breaks from sunbathing. My dedication to lying in the sun did pay off however as, very unusually for me, I managed to actually get a proper tan – and it was almost completely real (full disclosure: my aftersun has a bit of fake tan in it). Continue reading “Tuscany Part Five: a very chilled hotel-based week”

Tuscany Part Four: out of Florence and into the Tuscan Hills

12th August

Friday brought with it my last morning in Florence. Since my to do list was still no where near done I was up and out before the rest of my family were awake. I had a quick breakfast on my hotel’s terrace (stocking up on as much of that smoked bacon and scrambled eggs as I could) and headed over to the Bargello museum – close to the Palazzo Vecchio – so I arrived just after it had opened at 8.15am. This was very early for me but it turned out to be an excellent time for sightseeing. The city was relatively free of tourists and the museum only had a few other visitors.

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Tuscany Part Three: a big David and multiple churches

11th August 2016

My second morning in Florence began a little slower. Instead of splitting up first thing, the five of us were all going to head to the Duomo – Florence’s elaborate cathedral. You had to get tickets to go up to the top (which I would have done if I hadn’t already found excellent views from the Palazzo Vecchio) or into the museum or the Baptistery of St John but we just wanted to head into the church itself, which was free. We aimed to get there when it opened at 10am but we arrived after a lovely breakfast on our hotel’s roof terrace (smokey bacon and scrambled eggs, pastries and fruit – yum) to find queues upon queues stretched out before us. A nearby tour guide told us it would be hours before we got in. Admittedly, he probably just wanted us to sign up for his tour but having seen the amount of people waiting, he can’t have been far off.

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Tuscany Part Two: Firenze Cards, a big gallery and a palace

10th August 2016

Having been desperate to go to Florence for years and since I only had three days to see everything (actually only two and half days to be more precise), I needed to use my time efficiently. So I drew up a list of all the artworks I wanted to see and where I could find them but, when the realisation came that there was no way I could see them all, I narrowed them down.

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Tuscany Part One: arriving in Florence

9th August 2016

This year my family decided to go on our first family holiday altogether in seven years. When the idea of Italy came up I – probably not so subtly – suggested Florence. I’ve wanted to go since then age of about 17 when I studied art history at school and the majority of stuff we looked at seemed to be there. I’m now 24 (or at least I was when I was there – hello quarter of a century) and I can now say that I finally made it, having spent the first three days of our trip there before moving onto a town in the Tuscan hills. Continue reading “Tuscany Part One: arriving in Florence”

Eight beautiful cities in Europe

I have to admit that I am pretty lucky to live in Europe, the continent has so many interesting and beautiful cities that are just a stone’s throw away from good old Blighty. Even if you do live a bit further out, however, there are many that are worth the trip:
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