So after being upgraded to business class with CityJet upon check-in (yay!) I was demoted back to standard class at the gate. Hmmpff. Although it was a tiny plane and didn’t really have a separate business/first class area anyway – plus we still got free snacks and drinks too (yay!). I avoided the alcohol, although I was very tempted, as I was nursing a very slight hangover from celebrating my impending travels the night before. And being vegan proved quite handy inflight as when I couldn’t eat the snacks they offered, the lovely hostess went ‘out back’ and brought back a selection for me to help myself too. Result!
So after a bumpy (the drawback of small planes hey) but comfortable flight I arrived early on a Sunday evening to a rather wet Florence – but the rain had stopped, the setting sun was breaking through casting a little welcome glow on this very pretty city. Found my hostel easily (Ostello Archi Rossi), 5 mins from the train station and located on a lovely road with limited traffic, lots of little bars, shops, delis, cafes and feels really chilled as people sit outside restaurants and bars people-watching and enjoying life. As they do so well in Italy!
After checking out the HappyCow app I was determined to get my first meal in Italy from a proper vegan restaurant (there are only two vegan-only to choose from plus a burger/salad place) but after walking to the first choice, Il Vegano (Via San Gallo) to find they were closed for their holidays until the 12th (the day I leave – noooooo!) and knowing the other nearby restaurant Le Fate (Via San Zanobi) doesn’t open on Wednesdays I had to think quick… so I opted for Veg & Veg in Centrale Market which wasn’t too far a walk away. Except I couldn’t find it. HappyCow was pointing me to a spot on the map where only large trattorias were lined up one after another. And after being identified as ‘lost’ by one of their touts, who to be honest was so friendly and helpful, and I was so hungry by then, I decided to just go in and stuff my face with a large pile of spaghetti pomodoro e basilico and glass of fine Chianti. E squizito!
Dining alone may seem a bit weird at first and it was hard not to keep checking my phone for something to do, as I didn’t have anything to read, and I haven’t quite mastered sitting and people-watching, or at least, it was hard to do where I was sat as I was basically looking at other diners. Which was disconcerting for all parties involved. But it was fine and I’ll get used to it anyway. Then to top off the night’s events, upon leaving, the lovely restaurant tout invited me back later to join him for a glass of wine at a nearby bar. Hmm. Ok. Sweet but not sure about that….
I didn’t go, in case you’re wondering. Maybe if I was a bit younger or hadn’t just arrived or, or, or…. well I just wanted my bed to be honest. I had a bulging spaghetti belly and needed to sleep it off!
Back at the hostel I took a machine-made tea with lemon to my private room thinking it would make a nice nightcap, but it just tasted like black tea with a handful of melted lemon sherberts. Very sweet, not a bedtime drink. Maybe that’s why I didn’t go to sleep until 1am in the end. Might as well have gone out for that drink with that restaurant guy…!