So Karl, a guy in the program who stayed a couple of extra days, asked if I wanted to go to Florence on Monday. Knowing that most museums and cultural crap (which I'm over right now) are closed on Monday, naturally, I said yes. Turns out he had never been to Florence before. So we made a deal on Sunday night - he figures out the travel plans and maps, and I figure out what to do when we get there. Cool with me. We get there smoothly, bus to train station to Eurostar train to train station. Nice. We spot our favorite Italian ad at the train station - it's for one of teh million brands of bottled water and it shows a gorgeous young thing drinking the water with the caption that says she's really 82 years old. Hilarious. At first, when we arrive, nothing is recognizable to me b/c I have not gotten there by train before, but once I hit the Duomo, it's all good. We find the Central Market, a huge food market not unlike the one Chris and I went to in Budapest. We had a blast tasting different meats, cheeses, balsamic vinegars, wines, and limoncellos. After the time we spent there, we were almost ready to go back to Rome! But we did the responsible thing and visited a couple of strange museums that were open. Nothing to "write home about" as they say, although I saw a few nice Michelangelos. We enjoyed a decent enough lunch and did some more shopping in the afternoon while hitting the major Florence sights. The last stop was Santa Maria Novella (Joanne, don't worry...I gotcha covered) and a close-by wine bar. We had a glass of red and some snacks and hopped the next train back to Rome. We found ourselves in the American section of the train, across from a couple who had been on a Mediterannean cruise, and then near a teacher who was going to Rome. We had great conversation and shared travel tips, wine and snacks. We got "home" around 10 and found ourselves awake and hungry since lunch had been around 2. We broke off from each other for 1/2 hour to drop off our packages and freshen up, then went into Trastevere for a late dinner of fried vegetables and pasta. It was Karl's last night, so he needed to call it an early one, but I was glad because "my dogs were barking" and I couldn't wait to go home and review my spoils. Florence is awesome. I'm pretty sure Karl enjoyed his first visit, and I was pretty proud of myself for remembering some Florentine details. Go me. I should get a job as an Italian tour guide! Ciao peeps!