Tour Guide: Who here speaks English? Me: Woooooo hoooooo!

I’m catching up on the last two days because last night I was just too exhausted to write….plus we had to catch an 8:15 AM train this morning. So, I will begin with yesterday, our last full day in Rome. We got up and headed to the Catacombs of St. Callixtus on the outskirts of the city. It was fascinating (and admittedly a little creepy), to learn about the early Christians and their burial practices. Plus, the cool temperature underground proved to be a comfortable relief from this heat we’re experiencing! 

Beach Babes
Saying ciao to the Colosseum 
That afternoon, we decided to take a day trip out of room to see some of the surrounding area. Originally, we wanted to go to Ostica Anticua, but we got to a bit of a late start with our afternoon because we had quite the adventure getting the right bus from the catacombs. Basically, we were on the right bus, just going the wrong way….so we ended up getting off at a random stop in a rather, ahem, interesting suburb and waited for about half an hour. All a part of a traveler’s adventure! On top of this detour, it rained fairly hard for a while, so our hostel host instead suggested us visiting the beach, as the ruins would close soon and were muddy. Excited to see the cost, we followed his instructions on how to reach the seaport of Ostia. After taking a tram, light rail, then Metro to reach this spot, we were relieved to look out onto the Tyrrhenian Sea, which was beautiful with its jade water and calming breezes. 
We made our way back to central Rome that evening for dinner and gelato, of course. Then, we sat outside the Colosseum til nightfall so that we could see it lit up against the dark Roman sky. Laughing and chatting, we playfully reminisced on our adventures the day had brought, and I once more was reminded of how lucky I am to share this journey with two such incredible women.
At the crack of dawn, we gathered our belongings and made our way to the train station. I had my first pickpocketing encounter — not to worry, I caught him before anything was taken — but it just goes to show that you can never be too cautious, especially when you look so vulnerable carrying luggage and whatnot. The train ride to Florence was nice, with the exception of us breaking down and causing a 45 minute delay. Our attempt to reach the hostel only became more aggravating because the bus we took resembled Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, but…..we finally arrived!
I have completely fallen in love with Florence. The city is so romantic, and not in a gushy, cheesy way. Sharing the qualities of a quality romantic match, Florence is charming, intellectual and, well, beautiful. It’s Renaissance history gives the city an exquisite culture, but you won’t find the atmosphere to be pompous or closed-off. No, Florence is all the good things about Rome mixed with the friendly and welcoming Tuscan attitude. 
We first got a feel for this on our walk to the Galleria Academia to see Michaelangelo’s David. Upon arrival, we were stunned by the marble’s perfection. It is hard to comprehend that this was formed from a block — it seems so lifelike that it’s head might turn at any moment. My description may sound silly, but until you see David in person, you won’t know the depth of his realism.
We then continued to the Uffizi Gallery, where we beheld works from Boddacelli and even Da Vinci. Being the daughter of Liz and Warren Fisher, I love going to museums, so this afternoon spent among Florence’s most prized exhibits was right up my alley.
Because it was such a nice day, we decided to go to the Pitti Palace’s Bologi Gardens. Here we experienced the most breathtaking view of Florence. It was quite the hike, but we keep telling ourselves it’s in preparation for tomorrow’s climb up the Duomo’s dome!

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