Day 30 – Florence

In the morning we went out and got patches at a nearby alternative store. I finally found something I liked and I didn’t even know what it meant, which was a Ducks Unlimited patch. Apparently, as I learned later, Ducks Unlimited is a hunting club of some sort. Even so, the name Ducks Unlimited, and then a picture of a duck, it’s just so cool. I put it on my bag sometime later, and did a pretty poor job at it too, but it fit alright.

After that we went out to the Duomo, which was large. Very large in fact. While waiting in line to go up the million stairs (million equalling 566 I believe), we saw some police pull up next to the line, a police man jumping out and running, and at the same time all the street venders immediately packing up and bolting out of there. It was a nice cops and robbers chase without guns and stuff, but pretty cool. Short lived, and no real action-like moment, but whatever.

Going up the stairs of the church there was a lot and a lot of graffiti. All over the place people had made their marks. But we eventually got to the top and it was quite beautiful. We could see almost all of Florence and got some great pictures. We were a bit tired so we just chilled up there at the top for a long time. Also at this time we saw a character named Dan-O who we would meet later on that day.

After deciding we were thoroughly chilled, we went back down. Then we walked around and eventually got back to the Ponte Vechia where we got some gelato and hung out eating our extremely delicious ice cream.

Then we came back to the hostel to find that Isaac (the Austrian from the previous night) had left us a letter! I wish I could transcribe it but I sent the letter home in a package a couple days later. It went something like this:
Dear Ben,
Hallo, something something sorry I slept in and couldn’t meet you guys at somewhere something something I went to your hostel and you weren’t there so I am leaving this message. I will stay here (scratch out) I will come back here later to see if you are here yet, something something, – Isaac

What was weird is he didn’t really know exactly where our hostel was, so he must have looked around for a while trying to find it. Not sure how he did that, but it was kind of a funny letter with broken English everywhere. We had missed the time we were going to meet him in some place anyway because we were across the city at that time. Anyhow, we laid around the hostel hanging out with Marco and also met these two girls from somewhere. And all of a sudden who shows up but Isaac and PSTFU girl! We then encountered two more guys who were actors in the US. So we had a full entourage ready to go to dinner and we had heard about an amaizing restaurant near the central station, so we went there. Unfortunately the two girls said they would meet up with us later and never did, but it sounded like they had a good time.

So we went to this restaurant, which all I can remember name wise is that it had a vertical green neon Ristorante sign and underneath said Pizza al Legno (wood oven pizza). We went in and were greeted by this very friendly older man, and soon seated deep into the restaurant. The food there was absolutely amazing. Delicious times a million. True Italian food at its finest. We filled up and decided afterwards that Mode had to pay rent by a certain time and so we decided to meet back in front of the station in a little bit.

Did just that, and when we got to the station who was there but Dan-O! Interesting guy with some Nightmare Before Christmas tattoos and a few interesting stories. We all got up and went over to a bar in a plaza a few blocks away.

Strangest thing happened at this bar. One of those weird cosmic coincidences that you find every now and then, and more often while traveling. We were standing in line for a pint, and a guy behind us in line started talking to Mode. He asked him how much the price was, and then they both noticed the looked a bit familiar… “Is your named Pramodh?” “YEAH IS YOUR NAME PRAMODH!” wtf? wtf! wtf. They loudly and excitedly had found each other, and the whole bar witnessed this momentous event (though few understood what exactly was going on). The story here is that these two, freshman year of college, were searching on the social network Facebook. Apparently the only other person of the 2008 class named Pramodh was this guy who went to school in Ohio. Of course they friended each other because the name Pramodh (with that spelling) was pretty rare and a good thing to friend someone for. Three years later, these two people meet in a bar, in Florence, halfway around the world. Crazy right? Right.

So we chilled outside the bar. They talked. Hit on some girls. Mode gave a girl his terydactyl toy from Interlaken. We stayed in the plaza for a long time but started getting hungry, and the bar closed, so our group of people (of which many had left but some had stayed) left in search of another bar or some food, whichever came first. We then proceeded to walk around Florence for a long long time. We finally found a bar that was open, but by that time Mode, Dan-O and I decided we cared about food more, and luckily the bartender girl from the other bar was kind enough to tell us where (the only) kebab place was. We went there and got some amaizing kebab. Everything tastes amazing late at night and with an extreme appetite. We took our freshly made wraps to the nearby plaza with statues and sat down right in the middle of the square and ate. Not too many people there, but oddly enough it was the crossroad of Florence because the other guys soon joined us and left, and Isaac wandered there very drunkenly and left, and a really hot girl on a bicycle rode by and asked for cigs, but left when we had none.

Dan-O wanted to try to get into his hostel, which had a curfew so we didn’t have high hopes, so we walked over to where he was staying and luckily he got in. Said our farewells and headed off to our place to fall asleep ourselves.

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