Another day of traveling, waking up at 5am to head to the Tegel airport, where I flew out around 9:40 to head to Paris. From there, a brief layover, long enough to grab a bite, have a 30 minute delay, then make my way to Florence. A 15 minute bus shuttle to city center, and 25 minute walk to the AirBnB, and I had arrived at my destination in Santo Spirito. Let me give you the picture version below, for those who don't want to read, but, if you've gotten here already, you probably did read. So, gold star for you.
So, I'm exhausted, right, because although it is only something like 4:30 in the afternoon, I've been up nearly 12 hours at this point. The struggle is real, I know.
I hung out a bit then went exploring, walking around the narrow streets, enjoying the sounds of the holidays, as the lights littered the walkways, and carols sang out from who knows where. The spirit was abound. I walked down via Romana, full of artisanal shops, their owners working in the studios in the back, sewing clothing, knitting, working leather, or creating timepieces. In the front, their hard work shown off in their stores.
I made my way back to the Basilica di Santo Spirito, where the square was filled with Christmas music and the F-Light Firenze show was being projected on the church. This light festival was taking place all over the city with 15 locations, bathing monuments and squares with video-mapping, projections, games of light, art installations, educational activities and meetings.
From here, I headed back across the river to find more lights and explore more streets until my belly ached.
Finding food in foreign countries is the hardest part for me. Between not knowing the language and not knowing the customs, I want to eat, but without offending. I had done my homework and knew that most restaurants had a cover charge of about 2 euros, but tipping wasn't necessary as servers in Italy (and Germany and I'm sure others) make a living wage. If only, America...if only...This first night, I went all out - antipasti, first course and second. If you have never eaten pecorino with honey and pine nuts, stop what you are doing right this second and make it happen. I've never hummed out loud like this before. I'm sure it was embarrassing, but I was too busy enjoying myself to notice or care.
With a full belly, I walked around exploring a little more before heading back for sleep. I had some fun playing with long exposures, since it was well after 10pm and the streets weren't as busy.