Tuesday, September 16
Shelly found us a gym about 10 minutes from our hotel. It was tucked away in a non-descript building, but once inside it occupied an old studio or home, and every room had some kind of equipment in various stages of decay. The machines still worked though, and we managed to get a decent workout.
For you Knight Rider fans, David Hasselhoff and Kitt graced the TV screens at the gym. I guess Knight Rider follows Charlie’s Angels during the week. Now, if we could just time our day to watch an Italian-dubbed “Love Boat” or “Fantasy Island” …
On the way back to our, hotel we walked past a tiny store that also sold take-away food. They were still putting out food, but we managed to get some interesting choices. Armed with our picnic lunch, Shelly looked into an archway and stopped. We were right in front of the oldest botanical garden in the world. The Firenze botanica has been in existence since 1545. And it was a perfect place for a lunch. A little oasis in the middle of the city. We used their bathroom and instead of flushing the toilet, Shelly pushed the alarm (it was a handicapped bathroom). It kept ringing until a woman came running over and turned it off. That was fun.
Our lunch was terrific. Ratatouille, another veggie dish with eggs and carrots, and the best eggplant parmigiana I’ve ever had. The sun made it bit warmer today so being outside and in this garden was quite nice.
Later that night, we asked for restaurant recommendations again, and this time decided to leave our immediate surroundings and head over the Arno for dinner. The 20-minute walk across town, at dusk, past the Duomo, through the heart of the city, over the Ponte Vecchio went by quickly as we weaved through all the tourists, past restaurants crowded with students, and bike shops.
We arrived at Golden View Open Bar, a scenic riverside restaurant that overlooked the Ponte Vecchio bridge. Equivalent to a Fisherman’s Wharf restaurant, but hey, we’re tourists, and this was our last night. The dinner was quite expensive for our budget at 70 euro, but I guess you have to pay for the view. I had my first draft Peroni and remembered why I drank wine in Italy.
We supplemented our walk back with gelato. I had a three-some of Nutella, coconut, and Menta, while Shelly went for yogurt and banana. Good stuff.