Saturday, May 21, 2011

The smell of roses...

Sorry I have been a little off the radar at the moment, this is partially due to the fact that my camera decided to stop working and I am in the process of getting another, partially because I am lazy and partially because I have very little to report...

But just so give you something to read... I have been frequenting the Giardino delle Rose (The Rose Garden) of Florence, which is only open to the public for about a month or less at this time of year. It's such a beautiful place to sit and relax, with views over the city, birds singing all around and as you sit there, the smell of roses simply consumes you. I love it...

Thursday, May 12, 2011

A new addition to the family...

I have some more exciting news... I want you all to meet Bianca. Isn't she beautiful?! I bought her second hand yesterday from a shop here in Florence... Florence is notorious for having your bike go missing, so once fitted with nice red chain and a big gold padlock our first excursion was to fill that pretty black basket full of food and have a picnic by the river. I think we're going to be good friends.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Una notte sola...

What does one do when they have a night to themselves in Florence? Cook!.. What else! Yeah, shake your heads and call me nana, I went out last night O.K.?
After feeling hungover and mopeing around for a good three quarters of the day I went for a run, just a quick one up to the best lookout in Florence (I know... spoiled?) upon my return I decided that I had earned some dinner...

Needless to say, I think I have a date with that lookout tomorrow... and the next day and the day after that too... but it was totally worth it!

Welcome to Italia...

So getting a visa for Italy, is only the first step in being able to stay here... Within 8 days of arriving in Italy you have to make your presence known at the Questura office (the police station) and apply for your residency permit. Easy. I decided to head in at 8.30am so that I could try to miss the queue, which backfired when I found out the office opens at 8am.
After getting some help from a French guy, who spoke to me in French and relayed in Italian to the Police officer what I needed, I was issued with a number. A260. Excellent... "Ding- A048" shit...
After an hour of waiting and having gotten the cold shoulder from an American girl I tried to talk to, I decided some breakfast was in order. I returned half an hour later fat and happy to "Ding- A160"... Have a seat.

At 10.30am I finally got to the window, the lady didn't know what I needed so got someone else. Who then informed me that I was going to need more documentation; a stamp from a tobacconist, a slip from the post office and a photocopy of my visa and my passport. Then issued me with another number (B063) and sent me on my way. An hour later I was back in the Questura, documents in hand and ready to roll... "Ding- B043" super duper.
At around 1.30pm I got up to the window, my documents were processed and I was given a piece of paper telling me that I need to come back in a month to pick up my permit... Welcome to Italy!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Gli sbandieratori degli Uffizi...

There is a place (literally) around the corner from where I'm living called I Fratelli, which had been highly recommended to me for their different panini... So the day after Notte Bianca I was on my way there when I heard the sound of drums and cheering... turns out I was just in time for the parade of the Flag Bearers of the Uffizi! (gli sbandieratori degli Uffizi)

Traditionally dressed people paraded through the streets of Florence before gathering in Piazza della Signoria where the teams competed against each other with their drums and flags. It was really cool to see!

In the street over, in one of the other public squares, I came across some more entertainment!
These two guys were really good... and I think they were funny- but I couldn't understand what they were saying so I can't be too sure!

Monday, May 2, 2011

La Notte Bianca.

I arrived in Florence on Saturday night and by pure luck walked straight into "La Notte Bianca" (literally White night, sleepless night or all-nighter) which is a night where all the museums and art galleries are open, bands are playing throughout the city and the streets are filled with people all night long.

Close your eyes. I have a suprise for you...

  No peaking...


Just a little further...


Ta Daaaa. Welcome home!

Once again I've fallen on my feet, though I certainly can't say this was an unassisted fall... I am lucky enough to be staying with Lorenzo's friend Romina, and her beautiful daughter Rebbecca. Smack bang in the centre of Florence! It's an incredible place and I get to call it home for the next 3 weeks! Yippee!!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

New London

For some reason I have always had an opinion in my mind about London... That I'm sure it's a great city, but it's really not for me. Yet after the last three days, my mind has been completely changed! To start with, two of the three days were actually sunny! Oh my god!! On top of that I was staying with some amazing people and (although I rarely like shopping) was introduced to some fabulous shopping areas. I also realised just how many pubs there are in London (and yes, we visited quite a few) and how patriotic Poms can be when their prince gets married!
The fact that this is the only photo I took for the entire time I was there must mean I was enjoying myself right!! (I realise this isn't the most exciting photo... but it's all I've got!!)

It's hard to believe, but my 6 week return to Australia has come to an end. I didn't catch up with nearly as many people as I had hoped or earn any of the money I should have... but alas, the time has come (and gone) to say goodbye again.

For the last 2 weeks that I was in Australia, I got to play tour guide for my Italian friend Lorenzo, who flew over from Dubai to visit.

Being his first trip to Australia, Lorenzo naturally wanted to see as much of Australia as possible in the short 2 weeks that he was there, so we based ourselves at my unit in Brisbane and did a few short trips around the east coast...
We spent 3 very rainy days on Moreton Island watching movies, eating average, extremely overpriced food at the resort and complaining about the lack of sunshine in the supposed sunshine state.
Followed by two beautiful days in Sydney, seeing the sights and enjoying the food and sunshine.
A night in Tea Gardens (a holiday town north of New Castle) to visit a good friend of mine and her family and enjoy the pristine beaches there, and finally a quick trip to Toowoomba to visit my parents and fill my “home cooked meal” quota before I left.



We saw parrots and cockatoos, possums and kookaburras, dolphins, red back spiders, native bogans and after much searching, even (live) kangaroos. Unfortunately the evasive Koala is still on the list, along with the dingo and platypus, but we had to leave something for next time!