Aug. 31, 2012
Following a big win Thursday night, the Wildcats traveled to Florence Friday morning to set up camp for the next few days and to get settled in for Saturday's game. The three-hour ride through Tuscany was beautiful, despite the steady rain as we drove northward. Here's the inside scoop from one of our own, Dannielle Diamant, who sent this update to her family Friday evening. Enjoy!
Got up, had breakfast, then drove to Florence, which is like four and a half hours away from Rome. We watched Angels and Demons on the way (filmed in Rome), but I just slept the whole way. Buses in italy have a weird law where they can't drive more than 4 hours without stopping and having a break for at least 30 min so after we were about halfway there we stopped for lunch. There are places called AutoGrills along the highways that are like rest stops with a food court in them, except there's only two different places to get real food. The rest is just like a mini grocery store/gas station. After we had lunch I fell back asleep until we got to Florence.
Once we got into the city our tour guide, Fabio, who has been with us the whole time started talking to us about Florence and what we were going to be doing the rest of the day. He's pretty great. We got to our hotel to drop our bags off, then started a small tour of the city. Fabio walked us through the city center to get us familiar with the place and show us different important buildings. There's a huge dome in the middle of the city that is part of the largest chapel in Italy. We passed by different statues, including a replica of David. We're supposed to see the real one on Sunday, which should be really neat. There was at least five other statues we passed in the same area but he didn't really touch on those. We also got to see the building where Michelangelo is buried.
On our way we stopped off at one of the best gelato places in all of Florence. Since my team from the scavenger hunt was in the top two teams we got ours for free :) (well, we just didn't have to personally pay for them). Fabio then took us to a leather shop where they gave us 50% off their items just because we were with Fabio. I didn't buy anything though. After getting bombarded with different purses, wallets, etc. from the salesmen we went outside and decided to stop at the hotel on the way back before we changed for dinner.
Afterward, we went back to the hotel to shower and change for dinner. We walked to the bridge that is over a river that runs through Florence because Coach McKeown and Fabio both said that the view is wonderful especially right before sunset. And, they were right. We stopped to take pictures overlooking the water then moved on to find a place to eat. As we were walking we ran into the guy that owns the leather shop, Stefano, and he suggested a place. It ended up being an awesome restaurant. It was so nice out that everyone else eating there sat outside outside. We were the only people inside the place, which meant we didn't have to worry about being too loud... lol. The restaurant was run by an old man and his wife, who handmade the meatballs after we ordered them and who both were extremely good spirited. All throughout the night they made jokes with us and started conversations. Stefano came in often to check how we were doing, and before we left brought in a guy that played the same kind of instrument Steve Urkel played...an accordian. It was so fun.
As we were walking back to the hotel, we stopped on the bridge again and listened to some guitarists play and sing. Me, Inesha, Alex and La'Terria had a mini photo shoot (haha) we got some really cute pictures though. Then Alex and I stopped off and rode the carousel and got some more pictures. Lol. It was a nice chill night.
Not doing much tomorrow. We have another game at night which is like two hours away so were leaving around 1:30. I'm just going shop some more probably :) ttyl!!