19.09.2007 27 °C
Arrived late at night (14th) and slept near San Remo just over the boarder. After driving through hundreds and hundreds of tunnels through every hill along the coast we permanently left the headlights on! It appears in Italy you pay tolls to use all the freeways. You just take a ticket when you get on, and pay a fee accordingly when you exit. You can understand it when you seem to be continually going either through a long tunnel of solid granite, or on a huge aquaduct high bridge spanning a huge ravine. It was scary driving along some of these with trucks and cars screaming past us! The car was starting to feel strange. Wanted to try and get a service in Italy. We’d had trouble throughout most of France as they were old workshops in 200 year old buildings and they all said that our van was too tall, or maybe the just didn’t want to work on our van!
Drove in the morning to get-me-out-of-here-Pisa. We didn’t even bother paying the rediculously high admission fees to go in. The town was a dump, it was searingly hot and there were huge crowds. There was only one sign in the whole place explaining the leaning building only, so if you werent prepared to pay E25 to see it all, then you werent going to get any info at all. The town was so run down and the place was horrid. We did however, have an excellent meal, and got back on the freeway asap!
Arrived in Firenze, Steve swore we must be at the wrong place, as it all looks so ordinary till you actually get to the really old part of town. Florence was so beautifully amazing and romantic. So much history, magnificient buildings, and the thoroughly intriguing story of the Medici family that got us hooked. Arriving on a Saturday night in any big city is hard to get accommodation. One thing Italy is not as good as France at is its Tourist Information Centres. They have huge ques, staff boardering on rude, and in some places, accommodation booking offices “disguised” as tourist info offices so they can charge you for brochures and not give you any info about other accommodation other than what they were receiving commission on selling.
We finally found a hotel on our own and set out to take in some of the night life in Florence. We found a fabulous restaurant about 3 blocks from our hotel. Met a great couple from America and we chatted to them for the rest of the night. We had a great night, and more fabulous food. Steve had decided he enjoy’s the Italian cuisine better than the French. We have found many more Truffle based excellent recipies in the couple of days we’ve been in Italy than in more than 2 weeks in France!