We arrived in Florence by train, after almost missing the stop (where was Dad? Having a coffee of course in a completely different part of the train!) – see Amy’s blog for more about this!. We caught a taxi to our apartment, and Elizabetta was there to welcome us and show us around the apartment which was lovely and spacious, even though it was only one bedroom.

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Venice had felt a bit cramped ( I think Venice apartments are mostly small, property is so expensive and the buildings are so old), so we enjoyed being able to stretch out a bit.

Our favourite things of our time in Florence include:

  • Seeing ‘real-life’ models of dinosaurs in the park of the Natural History museum. It was lovely weather and the kids had fun running around and pretending to catch dinosaurs.

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Peter caught a live monster

  • The Galileo Science museum. We had a tour guide, who was doing the tour for children. She did an excellent job and we all learnt a lot and enjoyed the museum, instead of wandering around in daze wondering what we were looking at and why it was important! She explained what the instruments were for and how to use them. When we were in Spain, our neighbour had showed me how to find the North Star, and the tour guide now showed us how to use the North Star and a Nocturnal to tell the time at night. It was really fascinating.

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We met Galileo himself!

  • Walking around – we visited all the main sites and saw all the statues. Peter thought a good April Fool’s joke would be to sew some undies on the Statue of David. Daniel wondered whether or not ancient Roman men really did go hunting in the nude (bit cold for blokes to do that in NZ). I, being of a more seemly mind, wondered how big a statue of Goliath would be if he was in proportion to David (Goliath of course, would have clothes on). Some of the other statues were kind of barbaric and should really have had a rating!

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  • Coming across a medieval dance performance, complete with flag throwing, on a festival day. We watched it for ages.

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  • Walking around at night and listening to the musicians. Wonderful atmosphere.

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  • Visiting Pisa – Daniel really wanted to go, PC and I weren’t so keen but it was better than last time (20 years ago!). No scaffolding this time!

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  • Even better, going on to Lucca after Pisa. We had thought to do Pisa then go to Sienna but it was going to take too long. We asked a local what he would do, and he said ‘Go to Lucca!’ So we did and it was great! One of the best days we’ve had. We hired some bikes and rode around for an hour. Lucca is a lovely place – definitely on my “Come Back To” list.

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We left Florence on Wednesday the 9thof May by train, to Rome. No problem catching the train, we caught a taxi again thankfully.

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We’ve been away almost 3 months – Rome is our last stop before England! We almost know what we’re doing – here are the comments most often heard by each of us:

Daniel: “Look, a toy shop”

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Amy: “Can I buy some lollies?”  (Who needs lollies – or toys – when you’ve got a crazy Dad:)

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Mum: “Just look at the sign”  (I look at signs, Peter wants to ask someone)

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Dad: “We’ve got too much gear”.

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(Week 11B-12A: Wednesday 2nd May 2012 – Wednesday 9th May 2012)