Florence was a great change of pace. Not only was the pasta incredible, but the weather was good, there were tons of running trails, and the river, monuments and buildings were picturesque. I loved that I could walk everywhere. I loved the friendliness of the people. I haven’t really experienced friendliness like this since Ireland and it was really nice. The people are soooo friendly.
Examples. One night I went to a friend’s apartment to get ready for dinner and I didn’t quite understand at the time the numbering system on the doors. There is one for residential homes and one number for shops, and they are usually 10-20 numbers off from one another. So I stood at a residential house, which I thought was my friend’s, ringing the bell. A shopkeeper from nextdoor came over and helped me figure out that no, I was not at the right place and even offered to let me use her phone.
Another example. I was eating out and I was seated at a 6-person table by myself. Later 3 others were seated with me. I ordered a pizza but only ate half and since they had ordered the same among the three of them, we got to talking and I offered them my uneaten half. They then proceeded to only agree to eat my pizza if I drank their wine. I tried to refuse but they didn’t allow for that. It was nice because one was Italian, and the other two were Belgian and Catalan (not to be confused with Spanish – ha!), but all spoke Spanish so I got to practice my Spanish one last time with them. Time after time people have surprised me with their amiability and helpfulness. I really felt looked after due to this in Florence, which was so nice.
Another reason Florence was nice was that I didn’t have any guided tours or concrete plans, I just did whatever came up. Sometimes I wish we lived in a world where nothing was decided until the day of…. hmmm….. might be a little hard I guess, but I can dream!
In my free time I did end up going for a fairly decent long run. 13 or so miles! This run further reinforced the fact that you can see practically a whole city in just one 2/2.5 hour run. I feel like I hit up the majority of the sights in Florence and had the rest of the time to spend with my friends that happened to be in town!
This is slightly longer than what I ran (I think it was actually around 13.5), but it’s a close approximation. First I ran to the Florence Cathedral, which was so big and intricate. It was cloudy and had just rained, but was still a pleasant temperature for short sleeves!
This is Palazzo Vecchio at a different time for a better view.
Then I ran to Ponte Vecchio, which is an old medieval bridge with a lot of art and jewelry shops.
I turned and went down past the Uffizi Gallery along the river. There were a fair amount of other runners so I just followed where they were headed.
Then I decided some hills would be good so I ran to the top of the Piazzale Michelangelo. There I saw a replica of the statue of David and these amazing views of the city.
I headed back in the direction of my hostel and I went through the Piazza dell’Indipendenza.
Then I made one last loop to the De Basso Fortress and its Gardens to squeak out a little more mileage since I was feeling good. I didn’t have any water with me so this was a huge tease at the end of the run. I do not recommend running 13-14 miles with no water.
Technically this also means I’m on my taper in my marathon training, if you can call it training with my injury. The taper will be even more reduced than in the normal training plan since I want my legs to be as fresh as possible on marathon day and to reduce any further injury. I am just hoping to finish and I think if I were to try to squeeze in more “make-up” training miles, even if they were slow it would only hurt me and my chances of finishing. Now I’m trying to think of strategies for finishing. Have you ever tried walking at specific intervals or any other run/walk combination for a marathon? Let me know in the comments if you have and what worked!
Also in Florence, I went to see the Boboli Gardens, which were very pretty. Here are a few pictures of that! Cin cin!