Ok, let’s get started. LOTS to catch up on and I’ll start with probably the thing most people want to hear about.. OUR HONEYMOON!!!

We were off to visit 3 countries in 2 weeks: Italy, Slovenia, and Croatia. We got decent priced tickets flying with Air Canada from SLC to Toronto, and then onto Venice.

Day 1 started off with 1 BRIGHT and early morning where my cousin Jordan was so sweet to get us to the airport. We packed light in these carry ons (smart as we more than discovered later)
After some 20 hours of travel we arrived in Venice at 7:30 AM (and no we sadly didn’t get sleep on the flight over). We then took a bus to the Venice Mestre Train station (basically the mainland trainbstation) and from there we caught a train to just outside Florence, where we then caught a connecting train to the Florence Santa Maria Novella (SMN) Train station. All in all this journey took close to 5 hours to make and we got into the main Florence station right around 12:30.

After a quick walk (about 10 minutes) to basically the Duomo Piazza we met up with our AirBnb host at 1 and were let into our apartment. At this point we had already been awake for about 24 hours sooo Braden promptly took a nap and I headed out to explore.
To the right: the lovely marble flooring for the apartment building we were staying in.

To the left: The apartment was practically ON the Piazza Duomo. I mean this is the view from the front doorstep.. it’s RIGHT there!

Me, trying to glam up just a smidge so I didn’t look as tired. (Didn’t feel all that tired but by the time we made it to Florence I was looking quite haggard… ) in front of our front door.

So basically the Duomo is my favorite building ever!! It’s just sooo massive and detailed, making it one of the most stunning buildings ever.
First thing on my list was to sort out our “activities.” I knew I wanted to climb the Domb AND the Campanille Bell Tower… but where to buy tickets? and did we really need to stand in that mile long line to do it? I quickly found the Duomo Museum where they sell a combined ticket to all the main attractions for 15 euro a person. Deal. Tickets bought and time slot for the tower reserved. Unfortunately there weren’t any reservations left for the dome climb until like 6 PM the next day (when we would already be gone) so line it was going to have to be. Since I didn’t think Braden would care all that much I decided to just use the ticket and explore the museum without him. All in all there were some cool Catholic relics and information on the architecture of the dome. I pretty much just walked around, looked at all the things, and decided it was GELATO time. So I bought myself my first gelato of the trip (I think it was like strachiatella and strawberry) and sat myself down to take in the splendor of the most magnificent building I’ve ever laid my eyes on.

Then I still had about an 1.5 until Braden said I could return to wake him up (agreed on 4-4:30) so I wandered the area round about the Dome  finding a market for water ( and sadly the only large bag of chocolate croissants I would see on the whole trip and I passed them up! ughh!) and also somehow was drawn to these public park areas where there were loads of dogs! lol I felt like I had found the motherload of dog parks! There were cool statues in the center of both but otherwise… they were just parks. Soo I then returned to the apartment to wake Braden up and use the (free) restroom.

Most of the parks had these statues at the center of them.

We were then off to climb the tower! dun dun dun… We skipped the line due to my earlier reservationing skills. Go me. and soon learned that we were really in for a treat! and by treat I mean a stale, stuffy, stinky climb up a spiral staircase where we got to hug loads of strangers as we went up and they were going down. Man what an experience. There were a couple spots where you could get out of the stairs, check out the view, and decide if you wanted to continue your stairscapade or turn around. We, of course, continued to the top.

The MAIN reason I wanted to do this attraction was for the outstanding view of the DOME! We didn’t stick around for long though because the long climb to the top had definitely brought out our appetite… So we started the long, sweaty, stranger hugging descent back down which surprisingly took a lot less time. (Prob since they were closing and not really letting people in past the last group. WooHOO!)

For dinner we just wanted something fast and easy so we settled on this little cafe in the Duomo square where we got cheese pizza and coke and enjoyed both with a splendid view of the Duomo. After that we headed on a quick walk (too look for the market with the chocolate croissants) but alas were unable to locate said market and everything seemed to be closing down, so we turned in for the night roughly around 8:30. Which was fine cause let’s face it, after 32 hours awake I was ready to turn in. So ended Day 1.

Here’s some snapshots of our apartment: The small hide-away kitchen complete with mini fridge, stove top, sink, and multiple cooking utensils should we have needed them. HA!

And Below: it was basically a studio apartment with a bathroom off the entry way, the hideaway kitchen, and a sofa-bed. Surprisingly the bed wasn’t horribly uncomfortable. The AC and wifi were the major points and LOCATION. You could open that whole window and peep out to get a glimpse so the duomo right there!

DAY 2: We got up bright and early to be out in line to climb the dome at 7:30. We were probably the 12th group in line which was loads better than the crowds we’d seen the day before and only had to wait an hour for the place to open at 8:30. Plus we had some breakfast while we stood in line so really not all that bad. By 8 the line had wound around the other side of the building to where I couldn’t really see it any more. GET THERE by 7:30. I’m serious that line grows like nothing else. Now the climb up was great cause we were one of the first groups up so luckily no battling the sweaty strangers on our climb this time. But it was A LOT of stairs again.

One of the coolest parts this time wasn’t actually the view of the city but the view of the inside of the ceiling. The painting was INCREDIBLE and it was soo cool being up that high inside the building. Then you practically climb up the top of the dome shape inside before emerging out on top. Also with this climb most of the ascent and descent are in 2 different stair cases so there’s only a few moments (which are very VERY narrow) where you have to make love to the people going in the other direction in order to pass.

Some sketchy hallway near the top….

Below: the same tower had climbed the day before.

Climbing down the dome….

With about 5 minutes or so at the top, we got out at the bottom roughly around 9:15 and went straight back to the apartment to pick up our things and head to the train station.

Lastly below: a glimpse down at the first terrace we stopped on the way up at to view the ceiling. So long Florence!

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