Travelogue: Cultural Florence, Mediaval Pisa and Metropolitan Milan

So after a disappointing Macs dinner, we await what surprise will breakfast bring. I must say, breakfast that day was probably one of the better ones we had from all the days so far. It was actually quite a spread. Hotel for the night was at Novotel Firenze Nord, which looks decently big

The cereals are actually pretty good

Look, hard boiled eggs! I didn’t know hard boiled eggs are such luxury until I tried their scrambled eggs and I wanna cry

And bacons!

If you realised, my portion of scramble eggs get smaller and smaller. The thing is Italian scramble egg tastes super weird. I have no idea what they add or what they didn’t add, but we must be so accustomed to our version of scramble eggs that theirs, in comparison is a whole different level

Travel to the city after breakfast to start our sightseeing where we met our local guide, who was a football fanatic and also a super enthusiastic guide. She was going to catch a football match right after our tour ended. I guess it’s good to have a guide to be so hyper if not the tour would be very boring

Santa Croce

A minor basilica of the Roman Catholic church and the burial place of some of the most famous Italians, such as Michelangelo, Galileo, Machiavelli

Statue of some very famous poet which was just outside the church

Then we made our way towards the main square with a stop at Santa Maria del Fiore

Buildings of Florence

Santa Maria del Fiore

Honestly we were in awe when we saw this, for it was huge but the guide said this was the back of the church so we walked to the front to see how it looked like

Paintings everywhere

Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral is the 4th largest church in the world, which took over 600 years to complete. The details of the church is really exquisite and the use of green and red marble added some colours to the church though I start to get dizzy after staring at the photos for too long. Even though it looks really big when we walked the perimeter, the guide said the interior of the church is actually really small. We didn’t get to go inside cos they were having a mass

Gates of Paradise

Which has ten panels depicting scenes from the Old Testament

You know you are really in Italy when you see the flags everywhere

Palazzo Vecchio

which was also pretty crowded that day

The famous David statue, by Michaelangelo. But this is the replica, the original statue is being kept in the museum right now. According to the guide, it was quite a feat for Michaelangelo to carve out this statue that showcases the minute details of the human body at a young age

Ponte Vecchio, above the Arno river

Known as old bridge, it is one of the still functioning and existing bridge that houses tenants. In the past, it used to be occupied by butchers but now home to jeweller, watch and art dealers

So nice to just read newspaper along the river though I don’t know how they are able to concentrate with so much noise above

Lunch was free and easy (yayy) so I brought the parents to try this famous panini shop that is supposedly one of the better ones in Florence. The place is quite easy to navigate and you can spot a line coming out from the shop. I was so excited to try already!

Don’t understand a single word at all but the servers were very friendly. They asked what you like and if you look lost, they asked ‘you trust me?’ And then they just start doing their own thing. Okay, yes just give me your best panini

Slicing the flat bread

With all the delicious ingredients

And all the red wine

Pruschetta

Cos Italians drink wine anytime of the day, so we got one of their red and omg, so good!! No idea which one but they just pour and I said okay. Haha

And beef mixed with pruschetta

The panini was really delicious. The pork was sliced thinly but you can taste the amazing flavours in that one thin slice of meat. And the sauce and ingredients they put in was generous. All this for €7!

The queue when we were done

Give it a try if you are in the area! It’s filling and good for value 🙂 For those who are looking for a sit-down kind of meal, they have a restaurant opposite this panini shop as well

All’Antico Vinaio

Via de’ Neri 65/R50122 FlorenceItaly

Florence was kind of scary. I was followed at some point in time until the dad called me to the other side of the road to let them pass. Gosh, but, I think I would still come back Florence one day. It looks like a promising city to be explored

Left Florence and proceeded on to Pisa, a small town which is famous for the leaning tower of Pisa! The guide was saying there will probably be lesser tourists once the tower collapsed. I thought Florence was scary, Pisa was worse! The whole group of us was waking though this alley to get to the attraction and there was this group of people about 8 of them waiting at the alley, ranging from 10 to 20 odd years old. The tour guide was telling all of us to keep our bags near cos they are all pickpockets. We were like &@!?&@?! So we walked and one of the small kid suddenly just jumped and scare us and we just quicken our pace. Ohmygosh, why so scary.. We have to be suspicious of everyone around us. At that point, I really miss Singapore. Haha the safety of Singapore streets, is something I’m really grateful for so I decided, okay Pisa, I’m not coming back here.

 We finally reached the baptistry, and spot the leaning tower in the distance

The leaning tower is really a sight to behold

With the tower in the background

My next gelato 🙂 Rum and raisins and Hazelnut!

Yeah, I’m totally on a one-gelato-one-day mission

Our hotel, NH Brescia, was located at an ulu location, surrounded by lots of negro so I think everyone was too scared to venture out of the hotel even though the hotel dinner was really horrible

It’s so bad, I ate biscuits for dinner. It’s strange, how the bread basket offered in all places I’ve eaten is always cold and hard. I’m not sure if it’s the norm there or I just didn’t meet a place that offers warm bread. Either way, I never had a plate of good pasta in Italy, believe it or not. I honestly can’t believe I had even better pasta in Singapore

I think this leg of the tour instilled quite a lot of fear (lol). It started in the morning and lasted all the way till night. Too much of an adventure, isn’t it? 😉

xx

Breakfast was an assortment bread and ham again, what’s new? I’m so sick of the food I missed my international breakfast 😦 but the croissants here are really good! So I happily ate 3 to keep myself full. It was a wet day and we spent half the morning at Milan which has nothing much unless you really want to do some serious shopping here

Bread and pastries and croissants

Look at the pathetic sausages. They really allocate one to each person, like seriously?

Good croissants, strange eggs and pathetic sausage

The Duomo, or otherwise Milan Gothic Cathedral

Which looks quite gothic but I guess it’s beautiful in its own way

Galleria Victtoria Emmanuel

One of the world’s oldest shopping centre, named after King Emmanuel II which houses a lot of Italian brands

It’s interesting cos the structure is mainly made of glass and iron

I would actually recommend to venture out of Galleria Victtoria Emmanuel to Via Montenapoleone or Corso Vittorio Emanuele for shopping. The brands at Victoria Emmanuel, are actually quite limited

Well, it is said if you turn 3 times standing on the bull, good luck will follow. No, I didn’t do it

City Hall

The statue of Leonardo Da Vinci

I’m sure you know who he is

La Scala Opera house

One of the most established opera house in the world. It looks simple from outside but supposedly very grand inside but nope, we didn’t get to go in

Ending my last gelato with vanilla and chocolate which they made in the shape of a flower. How innovative!

Milan is a financial hub of Italy and other than museums and more museums, the above are mainly the main attractions so it gets pretty boring. It didn’t help it was raining and gloomy and such a downer to take pictures in such weather. I particularly didn’t like to take pictures when the weather is so disappointing so which concludes my Italy leg on a sad note. That being said, I’m glad to say bye to bad pasta and pickpockets and nope, thinking back, I don’t think I will miss Italy at all

xx

Spent the afternoon just traveling to Lucerne and it takes about 5 hours so more sleeptime on the bus it shall be!

Arriving at a pitstop for toilet break and look at how low the clouds are hovering. They look like they are within reach, okay maybe not

First thing we saw, Marche! Ha, such welcoming sight

The scenery just gets prettier as we proceed our way to the hotel. It’s like the perfect postcard landscape. We were blessed with good weather when we reached our hotel, which we got a good view of the lake and the awesome scenery. Honestly when you travel from Italy to Switzerland, the latter just feels like heaven

We stayed at Postillon, which is the only photo I took of all the hotels I’ve stayed cos it looks pretty enough for me take a picture of it

I can live with this view everyday

And just stoning..

Dinner was like one of the better hotel-arranged food. Even though there’s pasta again (we wanna faint), but somehow the pasta here is cooked more al dante than the one in Italy, such irony

Better food = better start to the next leg!

Pretty scenery and more edible food than usual, I am falling in love with Switzerland already ❤

Read here for Travelogue: Pretty Venice, Baroque Bologna and Ancient Rome