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: