we booked the flight for 02:00.. will NEVER get such a late flight.. omg.. almost died of boredom waiting to leave to go to the airport, checking in and then waiting at the departure gates..
jie bought neck pillows for us!! 😀 i got the green one with merlions and she got the black one with flowers.. well, we bought them from the gift shop of souvenirs.. LOL!!! close to 1am, we were bored and this is what we did.. hahaha..
finding new uses for the pillow.. hahaha!
brought my trusty toms with me.. i packed my second pair into the luggage.. these toms served me well almost a year ago when i went to boston.. so hopefully, it won’t rain in italy and i can wear them!!! 🙂
as u can tell, we were quite bored.. hahaha..
shifted places to queue up to go through the boarding gates.. but the queue was pretty long so we were waiting..
finally, plane took off at 2am.. however, not such a good experience cos i was peacefully sleeping, only to be tapped awake by the air stewardess and asked if i wanted sandwiches.. but they did serve breakfast.. oh wells.. managed to get alot of rest in the plane.. thankfully.. we landed in dubai.. the plane was small.. so we got off at the landing area and boarded buses to be taken to the terminal.. it was a pretty long drive and there were no seats.. so had to stand all the way.. finally reached the departure hall.. it was SO crowded!!! u will not believe the AMOUNT of people there.. lucky we had about 4 hours for transfer.. had to go round and round.. first go up then go all the way down and then up all the way to the top floor again.. was super confused by the time we were searching for a place to sit.. hahaha..
we changed SGD for AED200 to spend during our transit.. AED100 for each transit.. which was a pretty good idea.. (my idea btw >.<) first transfer, we needed coffee and breakfast.. oh! and water.. we spent AED98.. not bad.. i’ve got quite a good estimate 🙂
settled into snacks and cafe bar for donuts and coffee 🙂
from our seats, we can see the planes!
where we got our food from..
sis and i were walking around and we decided to take some pictures.. hahahaha.. but this one was the nicest. oh wells..
went back on the plane again and flew to rome! 🙂 touched down in the afternoon at about 1:35pm.. mum was landing at about 2.. settled at some cafe and had more food.. hahaha.. tired = hungry.. mum arrived, we took a cab to rome termini station cos we were taking the train to florence from there.. when we arrived at the station, we went to TIM, which is one of their mobile operators.. dad got a dongle with sim card so that he can do his work at night.. jie got a sim card to put in her iphone that had unlimited internet for the first month.. not bad.. haha.. and it’s 10EUR also.. so if u’re going to italy and need an italy number, get that!!!! and has 5EUR credit for calls/sms.. but u have whatsapp! hahaha..
waited for the train and it was pretty amazing.. hahaha.. sitting in a train going at about 300km/h.. my ears kept getting blocked 😦 especially when it went into a tunnel. haiz.. my mum and sis get nauseous from sitting backwards in a forward moving train.. as there are 4 seats, 2 facing each other.. so dad and i had to sit on the opposite side.. dad was doing his work.. we hadn’t booked the tours.. i couldn’t concentrate after not bathing for 24 hours.. so mum and sis did the bookings instead..
me in the train with my trusty neck pillow.. lol!
we finally arrived in florence after 1.5hours!!! and checked into Hotel Aurora.. would DEFINITELY recommend this hotel.. it’s 3 stars.. has wifi and it’s comfortable.. the four of us shared a quadruple room which was pretty spacious with an adjoining toilet.. i showered first cos i was feeling uncomfortable and the mother kept asking about tours and what nots..
the size of the room from the door.. there’s still a cupboard along the wall which cannot be seen.. hahaha..
the view from the window i was sleeping next to.. it’s the bus station..
the view from the other window near the cupboard.. i kept the window near me open cos it was pretty warm and the air con was like not working.. but we suffered many insect bites.. only on the last night (we stayed there for 3 nights), then mum said to leave the other one open.. LOL!! oh wells..
ok.. i shall digress why hotel aurora is situated PERFECTLY!!!
1) It’s near the train station – Santa Maria Novella Station
2) if you sign up for tours, the meeting place is at the above mentioned train station
3) it’s near the city area.. actually, everywhere in florence is pretty walkable.. a small quaint city that is absolutely LOVELY!!!
on the first night, mum asked the reception guy where is a good place to go for dinner.. he recommended this place called Cambi.. It’s a nice restaurant across the river and the walk there was nice.. a bit chilly but the sun sets late.. we went there at around 845pm for dinner (we all took some time to shower).. lol..
the sun was just setting on our way to the restaurant..
once there, we were so tired that we just ordered their special – Florentine steak.. and the waitress said, ‘for four?’ and we were like ‘yes’ and THIS came..
a whole plate filled with beef.. ours took quite a while to come.. the meat was AWESOME!!! seasoned PERFECTLY!!! however, jie didn’t feel like eating, so i stuffed myself with as much as i could.. but we couldn’t eat 4 thick slices of beef.. felt so sad and wasted!!!! 😦 but it really was too much.. we had potatoes and salad that came along with it.. oh my.. couldn’t finish..
anw, we were supposed to see the leaning tower of pisa on our 2nd day.. and the reception guy (he’s damn awesome), recommended us this day tour to see 3 places.. Pisa, San Gimignano and Siena.. it was a good idea.. we had to report at the train station at 745am (convenient).. breakfast starts at 7am.. so we had plenty of time to eat and cross the road to the station.. once there, we were shown to a mini bus.. (there were 2 buses, one big one and another little one which sat 8 pple).. we were shown to this black merz van where another couple was already waiting.. and they’re from singapore too!!! hahaha.. so our driver, Giuseppe.. is the most amazing person i’ve ever met.. he was super nice and friendly.. more about him later.. now… on our way to pisa!!!
me and sis..
me and mum.. miss my mummy loads.. she won’t be home for another 1.5months.. after an hour’s ride, we reached pisa.. giuseppe was saying that he wanted to show us alot of things along the way but we all fell asleep.. lol.. oops..
the 3 attractions in pisa.. the duomo, the cathedral and the leaning tower..
the four of us..
obligatory supporting picture by mum.. hahaha..
we wanted to see inside of the cathedral but doors only open at 10am.. so we went to the washroom first.. it’s 0,30cents to use the washroom and the ladies queue is always so longgggg.. the guys toilet was like empty la.. and mum spoke to this elderly french guy behind as he was telling us how much it is to use the toilet.. quite funny..
inside the cathedral..
the ceiling of the cathedral.. didn’t post more pics cos it didn’t come out nice 😦 haiz..
roamed around for a while before we had to head back to the bus.. so we took pics! i like this one of jie leaning.. hahaha!
she, pushing the tower..
both of us.. but we cldn’t hold the position long enough as jie takes very long to get adjusted -_-”
obligatory jump shot 🙂
once again, in the bus.. where we headed to San Gimignano..
as the town was another hour away, we were driving through the hills.. mum saw how lovely and scenic it was and asked giuseppe if we could stop to take pictures.. so here we are.. stopped at the road side.. along this vineyard planted with white grapes.. it really was a nice experience.. more of our tour in the next post!!