Last week my husband and I spent a few days in Florence. Usually we like to know exactly where we’re going and will spend ages on the internet, scrolling through photos of the local sights, planning each day and what we want to visit. So, by the time we arrive we have a pretty good idea of what there is and have an itinerary for each day.
This time however, we decided to take each moment as it came along. To travel mindfully, making the most of each moment of the journey rather than worrying about our final destination.
When we arrived in Pisa we took the shuttle train to Pisa Centrale Station and after eating a snack on a bench outside in the sunshine, took the train to Florence, a leisurely hour’s train ride. Then, in Florence we walked the 20 minutes to our apartment, pausing to admire the beautiful Duomo.
As we got closer to our accommodation, we were delighted to discover that although it was in the centre of Florence it was tucked away across a courtyard in a quiet 15th century garden apartment. We had recommendations from our Airbnb host, Patrizia who also had a wide selection of guide books and maps in the apartment. It was from her and her guides, not the internet, that we decided where we wanted to go each day.
The first evening we looked on TripAdvisor to see where to eat and headed for the top recommended pizza restaurant, only to discover that it was packed and so we decided to just wander until we came across something we liked the look of. And we did this for the rest of the stay, discovering a small cafe for our breakfast, run by a very friendly Italian. Lunch one day, in front of the Pitti Palace, was finished off with a delicious home made Tiramisu. And our Valentine’s day evening meal was in the centre, run by another very friendly man who took the time to chat and ask us where we were from and which football team we supported.
We walked around Florence at night, marvelling at the beautiful medieval buildings – it was like stepping back in time.
We even climbed the 463 steps to the top of the Duomo and sat back to admire the view of Florence, while others posed to take selfies.
Florence is a beautiful city and we were lucky enough to be able to visit in February, during school time, so there were no long queues or crowds. We were able to walk slowly and enjoy the sights without being jostled. Above all, we could take our time and enjoy the moment.
If you’d like to know exactly where we stayed then get in touch, I’m happy to share that with you. However, I’ve deliberately left out the names of the restaurants we ate at and exact places we visited so you can make your own mindful discoveries.