Being late for almost half an hour, the night train from Munich arrived at Florence at about 7am. Without much delay, we (two friends and myself) headed to Galleria degli Uffizi, the largest museum in Italy, and more importantly, tourists usually need to wait for hours before enter it simply because it is too famous. It was early in the morning, and the narrow streets in the city were almost deserted. Businessmen were opening their stalls and getting prepared to the tide of tourists later on. Everything seems quite and peaceful. I pretty much like this city, but not when it is flooded with tourist.
After a fifteen minutes’ walk, we got to the museum, and we were so happy to find that we were the earliest there. So we sat down on the bench outside to entrance and started waiting, also to recover from an exhausting night trip on the train. We waited, and waited… time went by but nobody else came. That was surely not the situation described in Lonely Plant. So I went around to seek any kind of explanation and not to difficultly found a notice at the entrance, which read: on May 1st the museum is closed. No wonder! But that is to us extremely unreasonable. How can a world renowned museum be closed in a holiday when tourists gathered from all directions? That is perhaps the Italian way. Later I found out from an Italian guy that museums in Italy were opened only on weekdays. It is difficult to understand. Anyway, that was not the end of our bad luck.
We then went to the information center (luckily it was open, though for half a day only) and acquired a free map, before starting to plan the rout for the two days. There is a whole bunch of places for us to visit, numerous plazas and museums. We marveled the beauty of the marble sculptures at Piazza della Signoria, the staggeringly huge Cattedrale Santa Maria del Fiore and Ponte Vecchio (the Old Bridge) over Fiume Arno. But we didn’t really get excided until we discovered a food stall in the market outside Mercate Centrale. We had ox tripe sandwich for lunch, and it was so tasty that we went back there again in the afternoon.
After lunch we went to the bus station to check the timetable for the bus to our hostel. To our surprise or even astonishment, the bus was not operating on public holidays! You know what, our hostel is in a town somewhat 15kms away from city centre, and it would cost up to hundred Euros by taxi. Schuuu, our morale was all of a sudden down to the bottom. We started complaining about the public service in Italy, but it didn’t help. We tried to find wireless access, but in vain. Luckily, we had the phone number of the hostel. So in the end, after another half day’s walk around the city, we took a regional train to the small town and called for pick-up. The hostel was actually a camping site and on a hill. The view along the way is nevertheless nice. After a long day, we finally could lie down and have a good sleep.