Sunday, January 29

I made it. I am officially in Florence, Italy.  I went from a mitten to a boot.  The weather when I landed was warm and inviting.  The sun was out and I couldn't have imagined it any other way. The bus ride was a daze. It is real. I am finally here!

I met two of my roommates at the Hotel Baglioni where we share a room.  Their names are Julia and Jennifer.  I have yet to meet Christina and Samantha.  Julia and Jennifer seem fun!  Now I am anxious to get moved into the apartment and get settled in.

The roommates decided to take a nap because they were feeling jet lagged so I decided to go walk around.  Its always uncomfortable and nerve-racking walking alone in a new city but even more when it's a whole new country.  However, I felt confident so I headed east on Via Panzani.  After a block I saw the dome of the Duomo in the distance.  I hadn't realized that my hotel was that close to the Piazza del Duomo.  Normal people probably look at a map and realize these things but I was in to big of a hurry to get out and see Florence.  Plus, once you are outside walking around the last thing you want to do is pull out a map.  Walking around with a map is a great way to tell people you are a tourist.  Here you want to blend in.  Put your sunglasses down and your nose up like the Italian women do and just go.  The Duomo is huge and incredibly stunning.  I have a tour of it coming up and I am beyond excited.

I circled around the Piazza del Duomo and headed down a narrow road with no idea where I was going.  I walked past shops and restaurants, crossed a few streets and then down a road full of vendors selling leather purses, belts, and wallets, as well as scarves and sunglasses.  The booths all looked the same and went for a few blocks.  I was tempted to stop but I kept going.  Eventually I will have to buy an authentic Firenze leather purse because they are known for their leather.  I kept walking and right about the time I felt nervous that I might be lost I ended up right back where I started.  I walked in a giant circle back to the Hotel Baglioni.

Here are the pictures from that walk: