Our yurting experiences have given us a preference for travel - experiencing life in an unfamiliar cultural and geographical environment rather than tourism which typically feels like an artificially curated experience based on some iconic sites.
But it is almost impossible to live this for two reasons. Firstly, when you arrive into a new country, the compulsion to do the typical tourist trail is strong. Iconic places are so for good reason. And secondly, it takes a period of time to orient to unfamiliar surroundings and in the that period of orientation the well worn path is great for finding your feet.
Maria and I have written before about our travel theory based on three days and three weeks. Essentially it takes three days to feel like you are at first base in appreciating a city and three weeks to have got to an elementary level in discerning the rhythms and culture of a country. And so we tend to structure our excursions around that idea. Our time in Italy will be made up of blocks of at least three days and then three plus weeks overall.
The three days, at least for us look like:
Day 1: Orientation; get around some of the well worn path,
Day 2: Select a few things to do,
Day 3: Slower; more time to 'be'.
And so yesterday was about orientation. We wandered around some of the iconic sites in Florence and did some iconic things! Coffee and pastry at a little cafe, alfresco lunch in the sun, our first foray into a restaurant in the evening and of course you simply cannot come to Florence and not prioritise a gelato . And inbetween we meandered around ancient churches and palaces and through markets with more leather goods at 'special prices just for us' than we could digest.
Maria's thorough research almost guarantees great choices for accommodation, food and excursions. Our apartment in Florence sits on a little piazza in the middle of the action .... Johanna is here enjoying the morning sun streaming into her room.
We are staying just around the corner of the Basilica San Lorenzo
inside the basilica
Piazza della Repubblica
along the river
the other direction