On our way to Florence we stopped at the leaning tower of Pisa. It was pretty impressive, and I was surprised to find some other big buildings right next to it - a great looking cathedral and a baptistry. Here's all the buildings in one picture.
Here's me trying to punch down the tower. It didn't come out very well but I didn't want to look like a stereotypical tourist trying to push the tower up/down.
Here's a pic of all the stereotypical tourists.
After seeing what there was to see and eating some pizza, it was back on the bus and onwards to Florence. Florence is a really cool place. It's a very balanced city. By balanced I mean not completely overrun by tourists like it is in Venice and Rome, but yet having plenty of things to do and places to see. The first night we got there we had dinner at the camp site and then headed into the city to a karaoke bar. Everyone had plenty of fun dancing and singing along to the karaoke.
The next day we went back to the city and headed to a well known local leather producer for a look at how leather products are made in Florence. After all, the very first leather fashion accessory was invented in Florence, and of course quickly caught on around Europe. Fun fact: many street vendors may try to sell you fake leather and say 'real leather doesn't burn' and then hold a flame to the leather for a few seconds. Well of course it burns, it's not like cows are fire proof. The trick is that they simply don't hold the flame there long enough.
After learning about leather all the girls and some of the guys bought these crazy puzzle rings where there are four pieces to the ring and it's next to impossible to put the ring on if you haven't been taught step by step how to do it. Google "florentine puzzle ring" to see what I'm talking about.
After that we went for a walking tour of Florence where a nice Italian woman told us all about the history and plenty of interesting facts like how before world war 2 Hitler went to Florence and liked a particular bridge a lot and so during the war he was bombing all the bridges in Florence, but decided to spare that one bridge, and so it's still standing and has all the city's finest gold shops on it - pictured below.
We saw the replica of the famous statue of David which was made by Michaelangelo. The original is kept inside in a museum, but the replica pictured below is very good quality and stands in the exact place where original once was.
There is also around a dozen other statues in the same square, some quite interesting like this one.
We stopped for lunch and I just had to try a famous Florentine steak, and it definitely lived up to it's reputation. Once the day was about over we got back on the coach and went back to the camp site to get showered and dressed up for a big night. We stopped on the way back into town for a group photo, which is available to us to buy at the end of the tour. I did get someone to take a photo of me with Florence behind me, but for some reason I kind of forgot to smile. Oh well, here the picture is anyway!
We then rolled back into Florence and had a huge 5 course dinner with the whole group. Everyone was very full after that. We then walked to our first proper night club of the tour - Space Discotheque. It was a good night had by all, I only got back at around 3am. Below is Brett and I plus two of our mates in Space Disco.
The next day it was back on the bus and onwards to Rome!