Day 18 - 14/07/2002 - Venice, Florence Italy [Day 9 of Contiki Tour]

Breakfast was below average again.  Travelled to a look out to see the beautiful city of Florence.  There was a replica of the famous statue of David here.  We were meant to get a quick group photo, but the photographer was late ... he arrived and took a two quick shots (in less than 30 seconds) and probably made about AU$1000 for his effort.

[I did not purchase one of the group shots, but I might organise to scan one to put on the web site ... anyone who would like to send me one, please let me know]

MOVIE: View Of Florence [MPG 330KB]

Saw a leather making demonstration - nothing spectacular except the advice we were given about recognising fraudulent items.

We were looking for somewhere to eat, so we asked a policeman ... he directed us to a far away place that he recommended - we went there, and soon afterwards, many other groups of tourists came in too ... we think the policeman might have been related to the owner of the pizzeria and was recommending the place to all the tourists in the city.

Went on a free guided city tour which was good because the guy told us useful information. Went to the main city square (filled with statues and another replica of the statue of David - this is actually where the original statue of David stood before they placed it in a museum). I did not see the actual original status of David, because we already seen many statues and it cost approx AU$15 to get into the museum - I now regret not seeing it ... all the people in my group who saw it said that it was amazing (and I do not think they were exaggerating because we are generally fairly truthful to each other) - even people who do not like art said that it made them very interested in art ... something to see another time.  Visited the large Duomo cathedral which had a spectacular painted dome that was constructed by one guy with out any scaffolding (one of only three large domes in the world that were constructed without scaffolding etc).

MOVIE: City Square [MPG 350KB]

Got some nice gelato ("Nutella" and "Snickers" flavours!) from a shop that had almost 100 different flavours.

Arrived at our hotel (that looked like Fort Knox) to have a quick shower and change after a very hot day ... I could easily have gone to sleep at this stage, but we had a big night planned - two birthdays, a large Italian wedding reception style dinner followed by "Space Electronic" night club.

Dinner was fun.  It was several courses of average food accompanied by Italian wine, but the highlight of the meal was the music and dancing.  The musicians were singing classic Italian songs ... face-to-face with some of the members of our group (which included dancing and kissing), then there was a female solo artist that was hitting so many long and high notes that I had to hold onto my glasses to make sure they didn't break.  Most of the girls around me kept pressuring me to dance with the birthday girls, so I eventually did ... followed by dancing with what seemed like 100 other girls.  The bigger group dancing included the infamous "chicken dance" (which someone said they never want to have at their wedding) and "Zorba the Greek".

[Thank you to Susan for this photo which she gave to me - she was a great dancing partner.  I currently have no other photos of the dinner, because I did not want to take my camera to the following "Space Electronic" night club - in case it got stolen. I know that many girls were claiming that they had photos of me dancing with the various girls, so if you have any, please let me know].

"Space Electronic" night club was fun as it consisted of the standard night clubby music, but the real treat was Karaoke on the bottom floor ... always good to sing along to some of the classics. Got home way too late - especially considering that Greg has set the alarm for 5:00am.

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