I Took the One Less Traveled by, and That has Made All the Difference.
Written by Elizabeth September 28, 2012
The title of this post is a quote from Robert Frost’s poem The Road Not Taken and this idea definitely applied to my weekend. My friends and I hopped on a train and traveled to Florence, Italy. People always say that you need to thoroughly plan your vacations or you will just be wandering with no purpose. And of course, we did plan some activities, like we bought tickets and saw the Duomo Cathedral and Museum. There was some intense art in there and it was beautiful. However, the best parts of our weekend were when we just let go of scheduling and wandered around the streets of Florence. You can find some of the best places off the beaten path, the road less traveled by.
On Saturday, we went down by the river and took an obnoxious number of pictures by the bridge. As we were standing there, we saw what looked to be a castle or something on the side of the mountain, so instead of waiting in line for the Uffiza Museum like we had originally planned we decided to go see what it was. We then crossed the bridge and made our way up this ridiculous mountain. Oh, and fun fact: I was in four to five inch wedges the whole time so feel free to impressed by this little story. We went up hundreds of stairs and through several back roads that were filled with authentic Italian hang outs (You can always tell where the Italians actually hang out, because there are no English translations). But after the extremely steep hike and super sore feet, we ended up at that top of this mountain in the Michelangelo Piazza. It was the most beautiful view and we could see over all of Florence. We went to this tiny gelato shop and enjoyed the sweet goodness on a bench over looking the city. One of the best places in the city by far and we would have missed it if we hadn’t been curious or spontaneous.
My next story circles around food, which everyone loves to talk about in Italy. It is one thing that brings everyone together. It was Sunday morning and I was shopping around Florence with some of the girls on the trip. I didn’t buy anything that day, but I am on the hunt for a nice wallet. Lunch time came around and we didn’t have any idea of where we wanted to eat, so we decided just to walk around and find somewhere random. However, instead of taking the tourist filled main roads, we drifted off to the back roads. We got to this street covered in graffiti and there were not many people around. But there was this little restaurant. You walk inside and this little Italian man has like five different dishes set up behind the glass. There isn’t much of a choice, but every single dish looked delicious and homemade. I chose this seafood tortellini and it was literally the best thing I have had in Italy thus far! Every bit of food that we consumed was excellent! Not only was the food good, but the feeling of the place was special. All over the wall were the signatures of people that had eaten there over the last five or so years. There were people’s names from America, British Isles, China, and all over. We of course added our names to the wall, so we go to leave a little personal mark in Florence.
I know that my trip to Florence wasn’t booked and scheduled every second, but it was overall really fun! The museums were great, but it was the small spontaneous adventures that really made the trip for me. So my lesson for this weekend is to always be open minded and look for the small beauties in every city. You never know what you’re going to find!