International Visit to Florence by the Rotary Club of Furness
After an early start and an uneventful flight to Pisa from Liverpool, we boarded the airport bus to Florence. After a bit of a trek through some narrow streets, the Hotel Le Duc Fontaine beckoned. After settling in, we dined at a nice restaurant just round the corner with the waiter reminding us of the Fat Controller of Thomas the Tank Engine fame!!
The next morning, after a typical Italian cold breakfast (lovely cold ham!) and a delicious cappacino, our party split and Colin, Frank, Martin & Dave had a wander to the Duomo, the impressive mediaeval Cathedral, and then on to the Piazza Centrale with the Castello and all the famous Statues of David, Perseus etc. Very impressive. We then wandered down to the River Arno and the famous Ponte Vecchio with its jewellery shops. After a lunch of pizza and cappuccino to follow, we went to the Market and picked up some bargains!! Back to the hotel and a rest then out for a meal in the Carthedral Square. After a Limoncello to the hotel and bed.
On Wednesday we spent the day on the tour bus. To our first stop at the Piazza Michaelangelo with its lovely views over the City and on to a hill Town, Fiesole, where we stopped for lunch and a serenade by accordion. Back to the City and I got a great selfie with two Carabineri Officers. After a rest at the hotel, we thought we would try a Chinese Restaurant but it turned out to be Korean. Very Strange(you had to cook your own food on the table!!) so we went at Roy and Mike’s suggestion of an Indian, which was delicious. After another Limoncello at another cafe, back to the hotel.
After another lovely breakfast and our waiter giving us another delicious cappacino, we headed back to the market and Martin and I picked up a massive bargain of two beautiful leather bags at a really knockdown price. After another leisurely lunch and great service we wandered to another church, Santa Croce, with its vast Piazza. An impessive marble facia and the piazza is used once a year at the Festival to play Florentine Football, a mediaeval game of beat up your opponents. The ball is secondary as is scoring goals! Back to the hotel to pack and out to The Westin Excelsior Hotel for our Rotary Club Visit.
The Members of the Firenze Certosa Club were very hospitable and the number of English speakers was surprising. I got sat at a table with three beautiful Italian Senoras with the others mixing well. Mike and Colin were sat with the President of the club. The speaker for the night was a wine grower and producer and translated to English for our benefit. There were also samples of course! Mike exchanged banners and gave a short speech, the I tried out my Italian but stumbled a bit as I couldn’t read my own writing!!. With a nice meal and good fellowship, it was a splendid night.
After a short night’s sleep, we were all up for 6-15 to catch our Airport Bus at 7am with our last walk through the city. Again an uneventful journey, although the airport at Pisa was very busy, and in no time after landing in Liverpool we were back home.
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