I was in Italy last year, and I really didn’t think that I would be there again only one year later. But Anders wanted to meet his colleague, an online buddy Lorenzo. So – hi again, Italy!

Our ferry arrived to Livorno in the middle of the day. This time ferry wasn’t that fancy and foot passengers (us) had to leave the ferry together with all the cars. Eek. The seaport was no better. We were following the signs for the cars to get out of the area, but at some point we were stopped by an officer and he called us a taxi. Isn’t that cool? We drove to the railway station and didn’t see anything amusing on our way. At a railway station we took a train to Florence.

Florence

There are many people, who say “Florence” as it would be the best place on Earth, a dreamland. However, we were not super amused – maybe our minds were still blown off by Corsica, or maybe because we aren’t that interested in antique art. We did find beautiful buildings and statues and looked at jewelry on Ponte Vecchio, but it didn’t impress us much. Then we stumbled upon Savoy hotel and remembered that one friend recommended it very much for its especially good cocktails. We gave it a go. I ordered “Angel’s face” and I have to admit that I haven’t tasted anything like this before. This cocktail has a very particular taste. It is made from apple cognac, peach liquor and calvados. Only alcoholic ingredients, what was I thinking? Also we were served a little snack. It was olives, salty almonds and some fried puffy balls with olive-meat (?) filling (maybe somebody knows what it is and can tell me the recipe?). It was so delicious.

Alcohol made us hungry, and we started looking for a restaurant. It was hard to find one which wouldn’t be completely packed with people. But once we found one, we found a good one. Our waiter had a big paunch and was singing “Yesterday” all the time. He was so funny. And the food we ordered was really delicious. Sadly, I didn’t write down the name of this restaurant.

We stayed at “UNA Hotel Vittoria”. If there’s one word to describe this place, it’s “funky”. It’s decorated in a very particular manner, and I guess it’s not for everyone’s taste. But we liked it. Actually, the first time we stepped in, the first moment I was a bit worried that this might be gay hotel, because the guy at the reception was smiling and looking at Anders in a very weird way. But once I noticed more traditional couples in there, all my worries went away.

No matter how cool this hotel would be, there were things that probably weren’t thought through properly. It took a while for us to figure out how the lights and the shower work. But that was ok, because we were not in a hurry and actually had some good time. The biggest drawback is that in the breakfast area all main surfaces are made from hard materials, which cause a terrible echo. I wanted to run away from there as soon as possible. And also they didn’t have big cups for tea.

Other than that we really enjoyed our stay there. I’d recommend it to anyone who is tired of traditional hotels and is not afraid of seeing oneself in the mirror while taking a shower🙂 Oh, I also should say that we forgot to turn off the air conditioning before going to sleep, so I was freezing during the night. Ironically, a few days earlier I was complaining about the lack of air conditioning.

The next day we didn’t have much to do before our train to Bologna left, so we went into a shopping street. Anders bought two T-shirts, Superman and “1up” (from Mario), and I got a Vespa tank top, earrings with Jack Skellington and other earrings with hearts and bones. Oh, also we bought an Opeth patch. Sometimes I like shopping. Sometimes. We also noticed a lot Americans there. I guess they heard legends about shopping in Florence and decided to check if they are true😀

Speaking about shopping, quite close to our hotel there was a gothic shop, “Black Eden”. Anders had a hope to find a studded belt there, but no luck (as well as in that shopping street later). Are they out of fashion or what?

To sum up about Florence, I’d say that it’s a nice town, but not as special as others say (aren’t I weird?).

Bologna

Here we met Lorenzo. He’s a cool guy. Together with him and his wife we did a little bit of sightseeing.

Asinelli Tower. A long way up the stairs and then a beautiful view on the city.

Santo Stefano – Seven Churches. Impressive.

Then we had a big Italian dinner at some restaurant. It was once again proved, that if all the cooks around the world would be Italian, the world would be a better place.

This time we were staying at “Best Western Hotel Maggiore” (not giving a link, because their website… is not so good). They failed and prepared the room for only one person. We didn’t bother much, because we stayed only one night anyway and we had our own towels. And their breakfast was very delicious. They had big cups for tea.

Although my description of this city is brief and absolutely not thorough, I liked it (the city). However, there’s not much greenery in this town, so I probably wouldn’t have liked it if I had to stay longer.

And I have to say “Grazie!” for Lorenzo and Miroslava for their hospitality🙂

Milano

It was the second time for me in Milano, so I already knew several things there. For example, that with one ticket you can go around metro as much as you want, until you get out. This was very useful, because at first we took the right line the wrong direction.

Our hotel was probably the highest class of all that we’ve stayed in during this vacation. There was a bellboy who took care of guest’s luggage. This hotel had two towel sets for both of us, but for some reason only one bathrobe🙂 we don’t really need that anyway, so it’s not a problem. And also there were ashtrays on both sides of the bed (both of us are non-smokers). Oh, the hotel name is “Hotel Carrobbio“. They serve very delicious breakfast; I even got a whole teapot of tea🙂

On our way to the cathedral square I did some shopping at “Triumph”. Then we went on top of Duomo di Milano, which was quite disappointing for me, because much smaller area of the roof was open for visitors than the last year (and last year it was one of the best things through the entire journey). But Anders had fun there, so it’s ok.

Then we had to wait for half an hour until the restaurant that we were supposed to go would open, so again we went to the shops to do some shopping. Found nothing – either we didn’t like the fashion or the prices were sky high.

The restaurant we had our dinner at is “Di Gennaro”, which is very close to the Duomo (see on map). Last year our travel guide recommended it for us and it was really good. So, I was dining at the same place as last year and was even sitting in almost the same place😀 It was so good. And then when we were already full we noticed some special tourist menu, apparently traditional Italian dinner at the last page of the menu card. Oh well. Next time🙂

After this we went out to search for some pub, recommendation of which Anders found somewhere on the Internet. We found it, had several cocktails, had a good time, found out that they don’t accept credit cards, paid with our very last cash. Then all happy we went back to our hotel and next day discovered that it was some other pub, not the one we were searching for, LOL. Anyway, it was good, and it’s called Memphis.

Last hours of vacation we spent in a park which is near Milano Nord Cadorna train station. It was nice.

What can I say about Milano? It seems I really like it (although last year I hated it and only the roof of the Duomo fixed the day). We were not like real tourists there; it was more like feeling the spirit of the city… And it felt like home. Yay for Milano!

(photos of the whole trip are here)

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