laser eye surgery

Five Things You Didn’t Know About Laser Eye Surgery

A procedure used to correct the eyesight of the visually impaired, laser eye surgery has become a popular option for those looking for a lifetime free from glasses and contact lenses – but what secrets does it hold in its history?

laser eye surgery

1. No one has ever gone blind 

There is a wealth of assorted information out there concerning laser eye surgery, including the popular myth that you can go blind if the surgery goes wrong. To date, there have been no recorded occurrences of anyone going blind from laser eye surgery.

This means that, amongst the millions of people that have gone through the treatment to correct their vision, not one person has lost their sight as a result the surgery. A very small number, roughly 0.1 per cent, experience complications, but none of these are anywhere near as severe as blindness.

 

2. There are no needles

Many people shy away from what is potentially a life changing procedure because of a fear of needles, or the idea of a needle in or around their eye. This is a particular shame, because no needles are actually used in the procedure and all numbing is performed by eye drops. While these may cause a slight stinging for 10 – 20 seconds, it does mean that no injections or needles are required for the procedure. If you feel that you require more information on the details of the surgery, it is a good idea to contact a specialist such as Optimax.

 

3. There’d be no laser eye surgery without rabbits

Rabbits have played a key role in the development of the laser technology required by laser eye surgery and have often provided great breakthroughs in the field. The very first experiments that used new lasers on the eye were performed for the US Air Force on rabbits in 1981. Whatever your thoughts on animal testing, the success of these early experiments meant rabbits played an important part in developing the technology before its implementation for humans.

 

4. The procedure was established by 1990

Though people are often concerned about the relative youth of the procedure, it has actually existed for over 20 years now, during which time it has come a long way. Between the years of 1988 and 1990, doctors and scientists developed the procedures that became the foundation of the surgery we know today.

 

5. Progress is still being made today

After millions of successful operations over a period spanning three decades, the technology and techniques behind laser eye surgery continue to progress and evolve as our understanding of the eye and the issues that affect vision develops. The procedure has now become even more accurate with the introduction of mapping technologies that make each surgery completely unique to the individual.

 

 

triathalon training

3 Tips to Prepare You for Your First Triathlon

Welcome to the den of athletic dedication and achievement. You may be wondering what you’re doing here, why you’ve signed up for; are you absolutely out of your mind to put your body on the line and test your willpower against fellow inductees? A triathlon isn’t an impossibility reserved for the fit and experienced; if you haven’t ran a kilometre in ten years, shudder at the thought of a blistering cycle leg or feel out-of-shape and defeated by your own lack of confidence, then a triathlon is perfect for you. Follow our five simple tips to get started on your athletic road to personal glory.

triathalon training

What Do You Want?

We stride through life in control of our surroundings, making decisions around long term business strategies and implementing complex infrastructure – in fact, most of us are more comfortable in making choices for companies, family units or other people, neglecting the question of what drives us. When you have a quiet moment, sit down and draw up a written list (not typed) of what you want to achieve and how long your first triathlon will be – physically rounding out these words and goals will not only promote ownership, but also solidify your commitment. For an extra dose of inspiration, ask your partner, flatmate or friend to witness your goals, sign off and display the list somewhere public.

Every Fitness Journey Starts Here

If you’re fortunate and live near accessible bike paths and running tracks, skip the gym membership, you have everything you need at your fingertips. Invest in a good triathlon rig – there are a wide range of Merida road bikes to get you started, catering to most budgets. A base workout plan will help you to establish a median level of fitness, reducing joint issues later on and most of all, you’ll find yourself getting into a rhythm.

Running Base: Try a walk/jog program, start out with 30 second sets of walking and jogging, on a rotational basis. Repeat three times a week for 30 minutes per session – you’ll end up jogging for 15 minutes without even realising it! Increase jogging increments by five seconds per week until you feel confident and able to lengthen your stride to a run.

Pulling Your Weight

Weight training has countless benefits to all athletes and everyday gym junkies. A regular routine, incorporated into a triathlon regime, will strengthen failing joints, stimulate muscle activity and re-organise muscle mass to accommodate lean muscle. You’ll probably feel like a truck hit you at first; to stave off the I-don’t-want-to-go syndrome, recruit a friend to weight train with you, so you can push each other and gain that competitive edge. Remember: High reps build a stronger body. Challenge yourself and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you’re unsure what machines are best for you.

Congratulation, you are now ready to start training for the running, cycling and swimming stages of your triathlon. If you’d like a little professional help and don’t want to rely on PT Google, check if there’s any support clubs in your area or talk to a PT.

Broadway New York

Places to volunteer in New York

 

Volunteering is a wonderful way to give back to the community, while also offering a life enriching experience. Every year, many thousands of people seek volunteering opportunities in their own countries or use it as an opportunity to explore and discover other parts of the world. The 2012 Official Volunteer Report showed that 9,400 people searched for volunteer opportunities in the United States alone.

Broadway New York

Reasons 

People volunteer for many different reasons. Some use their gap year, between High School graduation and College, as a way of carrying out community work before starting their professional career training. Others have found that volunteering offers a valuable tool to learn about the lives of others, experiences that will remain with them for the rest of their lives. For those who have found it difficult to get started on their career path, volunteering can provide a useful way to fill in any gaps on their résumé. Volunteering isn’t just for the young, however; many mature members of the community enjoy the experience of imparting the skills and expertise they have learned over the years to others. People in this age group really enjoy the sensation of continuing to be valued members of the community. Volunteering is good for the soul.

 

Hurricane Sandy

 

Hurricane Sandy devastated parts of the city and there are grants of $2,000 on offer from the Citizens Committee for New York City in a bid to increase the level of support to those areas that were worst affected by the hurricane. Car rental provides one of the easiest ways to navigate between the different sites, due to the widespread nature of the storm damage. Anyone who decides on this option will be asked to help with some of the ongoing clearance work or assist local groups that are rebuilding important amenities, including parks and schools. The scheme is looking for a whole host of skills and welcomes all applications.

 

Other Ideas

Every year, thousands of visitors descend on New York City, usually to visit the main tourist attractions. Native New Yorkers may be interested in becoming a ‘Big Apple Greeter.’ This volunteering opportunity is very popular with individuals who enjoy socializing and showing off their wonderful city, with all its hidden secrets, to out of towners.

The current economic downturn has made it very difficult for people who are trying to get a foothold in the jobs market. The ‘Federation Employment and Guidance Service’ (FEGS) has been in existence since 1934 and has helped many thousands find work through its volunteer counseling service. It specializes in helping the more disadvantaged members of society

Anyone who has green fingers or just wants to volunteer out of doors for the summer should head on over to Brooklyn Bridge Park Green Team. This conservation group simply asks that volunteers should possess enthusiasm, some old clothes and a desire to learn more about gardening and nature.

From musicians and educators, to people who want to deliver food parcels, New York City can offer a diverse selection of volunteer opportunities. The experiences and friendships made during this time will remain with volunteers for the rest of their lives.

drink more water

Natural ways to improve your wellbeing this summer

Although the sun is shining and the weather is great, some of us could still be feeling a little of the winter blues. If you’re lethargic, tired and a bit unmotivated, it could be time to make a few changes to your day-to-day life and get ready to start feeling more energised for the summer.

drink more water

Here are our top tips for renewing and revitalising yourself for the season:

1. Sleep well

It might seem like the simplest thing, but making sure you get your full eight hours of sleep each night is the best way to help your body recover and repair. If you find it hard to drift off before the clock strikes midnight, start the evening with a long soak in a bath with a few drops of lavender oil, as it will help calm and de-stress your mind before getting in bed. Sleep experts  say switching off all electronics, including your mobile phone, before going to bed is essential in getting a good night’s sleep. Trying to stick to a routine by getting up and going to bed at the same time every day – yes, even the weekends – as this can really help your energy levels too.

2. Eat up

Your diet is probably the biggest trigger for lethargy and exhaustion. Taking note of what you eat every day will help uncover the food and drink that could be hindering your wellbeing and dieting efforts if you’re slimming down for summer holidays. Ensure you have your five portions of fruit and veg each day, and try to replace those cheeky, sugar-rich 3pm snacks with raisins, grapes or a handful of nuts. Herbs are also a great way to boost your inner health. Parsley for example increases your blood circulation to the skin and helps to clear your complexion. Similarly, try to include garlic in your diet if you want to boost your immune system.

3. Drink more

Thirst if often mistaken for hunger so before you reach for your snack, try drinking a big glass of water. If your body is dehydrated, you’ll start to feel tired very quickly and sometimes get a throbbing headache. Focusing on tasks at work is near impossible when your body doesn’t have the fuel it needs to perform. Remember your body need at least 2 litres of water to function properly each day, and even more during the summer months when the weather is scorching.

4. Breathe in

Deep breathing exercises have been around for centuries to help calm, de-stress and revitalise the body. Why not try out a beginners yoga class? Here the instructor will talk you through the various yoga positions and also the breathing techniques that will help deliver that much needed oxygen to your bloodstream. Studies have found that oxygen therapy can also help people boost their energy levels – it simply involves taking a couple of breaths from a can of oxygen-enriched air. You can read up on the benefits of oxygen therapy here.

5. Work out

Motivating yourself to go to the gym when the weather is good is no easy feat. But how about trying a new outdoor sport for summer? Take inspiration from Wimbledon and head down to your local tennis courts for a game or find an outdoor swimming pool for a dip when the weather gets hot. Even a long walk with the dog could help re-energise your body and help burn some calories if you’re looking to slim down before you hit the beach.

 

forex trading

Understanding and Getting Started Trading Forex

Trillions of dollars are exchanged on a daily basis in the Foreign Exchange Currency Market (FOREX). Governments, banks and businesses trade currencies with one another for various reasons, but all of them seek to do so in a way that is to their greatest advantage.

forex trading

In the late 1990s, the currency exchange market was opened to individual investors in a process known as retail forex trading. Estimates vary, but it is thought that retail trading accounts for $50-100 billion in daily volume.

Retail traders use the Internet along with trading software and two types of forex broker to trade using margin. The term margin simply means that the trader must risk only a small percentage of the trade size in order to control a much larger block of currency. Forex brokers offer traders the ability to buy or sell currency pairs.

Using the largest currency pair in terms of daily volume, the EUR/USD, Australian brokers like Thinkforex match traders who think that the euro will increase in value compared to the dollar with traders who think the euro will decrease in value compared to the dollar.

Another type of broker is known as the market maker, which involves the brokers automatically taking the opposite side of a currency transaction to that of their customer. This may sound contradictory, as though the broker is working against the customer, but consider this example. Customer A wants to buy a currency pair, so the broker sells it to that customer. Customer B wants to sell the same currency pair, so the broker will buy it from that customer. It is the fact that some customers will want to buy and others will want to sell that makes it possible for the market to function. Without buyers and sellers, there would be no forex market.

 

Getting Started Trading Forex

Trading currency is a quite simple business to establish. All it takes is a computer or other Internet capable device, a broker, trading software and funds with which to speculate on future currency prices.

 

Learning to Trade Forex

Brokers and financial education providers offer a comprehensive set of learning resources for both new and experienced traders. Brokers do this for two reasons. One is to attract new customers. The other is to help those customers become successful so that they can continue to trade. This is because the broker earns a fee on every trade, regardless of whether or not that trade is profitable. Competition between brokers is so intense that the fee is a very small percentage of the trade, so the broker needs a lot of traders and preferably traders who will do a large volume of trades.

Training can take the form of printed books, e-books, DVDs and live or archived webinars that permit the learner to participate according to their schedule. Much of the training resources forex brokers offer is free of cost or obligation.

Third party financial educators sometimes charge for their training programs, but many offer free trials so that potential customers can determine the value prior to making any financial commitment.

 

Practicing Forex Trading

All forex brokers offer what are known as demo accounts. Forex trading is one of the few businesses where you get to practice before risking any money. This is the best way to learn forex math, observe what a typical day in the market is like and to practice different trading strategies to find the one or ones that are best suited to any particular individual person. It also is an exceptional opportunity to learn how to operate different trading software, so that when real trading commences, there will be no unpleasant surprises regarding what happens when certain commands are given. Many experienced traders consider demo accounts so valuable that they will maintain one or more even after they are trading with real money.

Retail forex trading offers an ideal opportunity for a home-based business as a source of either a primary or supplemental income. There are risks involved, but taking time to appreciate those risks and learning to manage them is simply a matter of exploring thoroughly before you risk any actual money.

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Following The Steps of Famous Writers

Guest post by Maria Kruk, an author for Books.so

Many travel attractions in the world are associated with famous public figures, historic characters and heroes of the past. Outstanding writers and novelists are not an exception; probably, every country can boast of some writer, who contributed to national literary treasury and advanced it abroad. Monuments and sightseeing spots related to knights of the pen or characters from their books are dispersed worldwide. A big and peculiar share is comprised of house museums or former houses of writers, where they lived and worked on their future masterpieces.

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Paris is one of the most cherished and visited travel destinations in Europe, usually associated with romance, bridges across the Seine River and Eifel Tower. Honore de Balzac described all the character and temper of Parisian society better than any other French writer. His house on Rue Raynouard was transformed into museum in 1949, joining the house of Victor Hugo and Museum of Romantic Life, dedicated to George Sand. In particular, Honore de Balzac lived on Rue Raynouard during 1840-1847, hiding from the creditors under the name of his housemaid. If visiting museum, tourists might look at Balzac’s portraits, his desk and chair, household items, but the most valuable part is a library of writer’s manuscripts, gathered on the groundfloor in 1971.

Screen Shot 2013-05-15 at 8.44.45 PMA real pillar of Russian literature, whose amazing short stories and plays stroke the world, Anton Chekhov, lived in Yalta (Ukraine). He settled in this city in 1898 and built a nice mansion and a coach house a year later, known till nowadays as “White Country-House”. Here the author worked on the most famous literary masterpieces, such as The Cherry Orchard, The Lady and The Dog, Three Sisters, gladly welcomed Leo Tolstoy and Maxim Gorky, and enjoyed life with his family (in particular, he moved in with his mother and sister). At present, various exhibitions dedicated to Chekhov’s biography and literary career are arranged and introduced to visitors’ attention.

Screen Shot 2013-05-15 at 8.44.50 PMIn Denmark Hans Christian Andersen is acknowledged not only a great storyteller, but as a national hero. Hence, there is no surprise his house in Odense was turned into a house museum, and every sightseeing spot in the town is linked to his biography and literary career. The author was born in Odense in 1805. Many monuments and sculptures around the city portray the writer himself and the characters from fairy tales, for instance, The Steadfast Tin Soldier and Thumbelina. Hans Christian Andersen House Museum also hosts a large library with translated books of famous Danish author, the special room of his artifacts, notes about his meeting with Charles Dickens, inkwell and pen of the great storyteller, etc.

 

Jane Austen, an image of Victorian Era in English culture, has also left her house in its entirety and good condition, which is located in Chawton. In 17th century mansion she has written Emma, Pride And Prejudice, Persuasion and many other exciting novels. At present it appears to be Jane Austen’s House Museum that uncovers the story of her life, preserves her letters and music books, the piano, on which she played a couple hours daily, tea sets, etc. Everything reflect a real English temper form her romantic novels.

 

Mark Twain’s House and Museum in Hartford is likely to be the most visited sightseeing spot in the area. Its collection preserves nearly 10 thousand items, related to life and professional work of the American writer. Hartford residents tried to restore the house as it was during lifetime of Mark Twain’s family. Collected writer’s personal belongings, furniture, archival materials allowed to formally establish the house-museum of Mark Twain in 1980-1981. Its restoration, as well as the completion of the exhibits, continues even today.

How To Get Your Potato Off The Couch and Into The Saddle On A France Bike Tour

You love to cycle.   Your significant other, on the other hand… not so much.  What could be better to activate your sedentary partner than a bike tour of the French countryside?  At dinner you decide to broach the subject, and you steer the conversation toward your upcoming summer vacation.  You throw out the idea of maybe taking a cycling vacation.  At first you think your partner is having a seizure.  His eyes role back in his head, he waives his arms as if oxygen flow to his brain has stopped, and he begins to cough as if a wishbone is stuck in his throat.  Don’t panic, the first thing to do is to make sure your partner’s reaction is not a medical emergency.  Once you realize that he is just dreading spending his vacation on a bike, it’s time to go to work.  Below are five ways to convince your sedentary partner to get off the couch and join you on a France bike tour.

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1.     Don’t talk about biking.   Concentrate on all that France has to offer.  France is a great destination: the food, the wine and the bucolic French countryside.  It just happens that a cycling tour is the best way to enjoy it.  Talk about where you will go, what you will see and what you will do.   Biking is simply your mode of transportation between amazing sights.  The difference is that instead of being stuck in a car, paying European prices for gas and stressing about directions, you will be enjoying the fresh air, sights and sounds of the French countryside.  Not to mention how good lunch is going to taste after an invigorating morning ride!

Provence Bike Tours 3

2.     Let him pick where to go.  OK, you’re going to France, let him pick where to go and what to see.  He will be so emotionally committed by this point that he won’t be able to turn back.  Use his preferences for destinations as intelligence.  Does he want to visit the battlefields of Normandy in the north?  Perhaps he dreams of traveling through the wine country of Bordeaux?  Once you know where he wants to go, you can secretly build a biking vacation that visits his favorite spots.

3.     Hire a professional.  You are going to get one shot at this.  If you convince him to spend his precious vacation time biking, he better enjoy it, or you’ll never get another chance at a biking vacation.  Look for a reputable adventure travel company with experience in planning trips where you want to go.  Many use experienced local guides who possess an intimate knowledge of the area.  They will take care of all the logistics leaving you and your partner to truly enjoy your time together.  A reputable adventure travel company will have experience with beginning riders.  They will all but assure your novice partner will enjoy himself.

Bike Tour Loire 1

4.     Pick a reasonable distance for each day’s ride, then cut it by 1/3.   Once your partner relents to a France bike tour holiday, cut him some slack.  Your partner has made a major concession by indulging your love of cycling.  Return the favor by giving him reasonable mileage options.  He may be sore after the first day.  Keep this in mind for your next day’s itinerary.  Make sure to spend plenty of time out of the saddle as well.   Remember, it’s a vacation, not a time trial.

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5.     Ride together as much as you can before you leave.  You want to get him accustomed to riding.  You are an avid rider, and the challenges of cycling are second nature to you.  Try to remember what it was like to be a beginner.  Make his first rides as light and enjoyable as possible.  The point is to learn to cycle together so that you both enjoy it.  While you are a finely tuned cycling machine, your partner is not.  Keep it fun – the workout will come with time.

While we have encouraged deception in the negotiation of your biking adventure, it is all for the greater good.  If you apply these strategies before your France bike tour, you just might find your couch potato partner planning your next cycling vacation!

Austin Lehman Adventure Travel is a travel tour company with a 38 year legacy in creating amazing adventures packed with cultural and artistic encounters, with expert guides and hand selected adventures to guarantee you the vacation of a lifetime, without any of the grunt work.  Book your travel adventure tour today!

electricians

The world’s most dangerous jobs

Workplace hazards are an everyday risk – no doubt your employer insists that any accidents are logged, there’s a copy of the The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 in the staffroom and there are plasters available in the first aid box under the kitchen sink.

But for some brave folks a plaster and an accident book aren’t going to cut it; a will and a life insurance policy might be more appropriate! Some jobs are just plain dangerous, and unfortunately someone’s got to do them. I’m just glad it’s not me. Here’s a rundown of some of the most dangerous jobs in the world that I won’t be applying for any time soon:

electricians

Drivers

Driving jobs of all kinds are notorious danger zones. Some of the most common work based fatalities are the unhappy lot of truck drivers and refuse collectors. Driving big vehicles which cause a lot of damage when the driver loses control is perhaps unsurprisingly a recipe for disaster. It’s important drivers take regular breaks and keep the vehicle cool (read more tips here).

Another of the world’s most dangerous jobs is that of the friendly cab driver. Here it’s an odds game – when you clock up that many hours behind the wheel the chances of an accident really start to increase, and driving long shifts and late nights doesn’t help either. So next time you hail a cab make sure the driver is looking well rested and alert!
Electricians

When the power goes out down your entire street it can be pretty inconvenient. You can’t boil the kettle, you’ve missed EastEnders and it turns out you’ve got no idea where the batteries are for the torch you’ve been keeping handy for just this occasion. But imagine being one of the men and women whose job it is to fix a major power outage. Serious electric shocks from repairing big power lines are a genuine risk which puts electrician very high on the list of dangerous jobs.
Pilots and flight engineers

Sure, you get a lot of kudos when you show up at a bar wearing a pilot’s uniform; but flying planes thousands of feet in the air comes with its own risks and responsibilities. Pilots and flight engineers have some of the most dangerous jobs in the world and unlike their passengers they don’t even get a holiday out of it. Well, actually commercial pilots do get a lot of holidays but they’ve earned it considering the danger they put themselves in to open up the skies to the rest of us.
Fishermen and women

You might not have thought it, but the big winner (if you can call it that) for the world’s most dangerous job is the lowly fisherman/woman! Without them you wouldn’t have fish fingers, salmon fillets or tuna bakes – but more fishermen and women die every year than people in any other profession. The real kicker is that fishing is the least well paid occupation on the list, and it’s the one which puts workers at the most at risk.

So next time you go out for fish and chips take a second to think of the people that risked their life to get that delicious dinner on your plate.

bridge

Why You Should Quit Your Job and Follow Your Passions

If you followed the path well-traveled through high school and university, dutifully studying for and receiving your degree, pushing through the job hunt then finally acquiring a stable (if not exciting) career position guaranteed to set you up through retirement- you’re not alone. It’s a path perfectly acceptable and encouraged by society- but allow me to encourage you here to think differently, if only for a moment.

bridge

Imagine that money were no object, and you had your days to spend at your leisure. How would you spend your time? What would you pursue? Would you spend your days fixing old cars, stringing guitars, or riding horses? Would you learn about child psychology, lock yourself in a library with piles of classic literature or spend hours in an observatory looking at the stars? Learn Italian, take a Thai cooking class, or spend time in nature? Imagine that your passions were all that mattered, that your life was so precious that every minute you had on this planet was spent doing something you loved, something to make yourself better and leave something better on this earth. Just imagine it.

stones

 

Imagine that instead of stress and apathy, you felt energy and an intrinsic motivation to improve and succeed at your work, whatever that may be. Imagine that collaboration and creativity flowed like a river, as people engaged in projects of their own choosing and passion. Imagine that a simple leap of faith could completely divert your life from a joyless cubicle existence to waking everyday with a purpose and mission.

This isn’t theoretical. This can, and should be your life- and it begins with one of the greatest challenges you’ll face: quitting something secure in pursuit of something sacred.

And while you’ll find plenty of resources available out there for the specific logistics of how to transition your life, bulleted points outlining the benefits and drawbacks of seeking your own fortune- I’d argue that it’s much, much simpler than all that. Close the books, close your eyes, and look within yourself.

cooking

Follow your bliss. If your current job brings you joy, then follow it. If it doesn’t, then decide what lights your fire and go chase it down- yes, it involves a risk- but the risk of not chasing that passion is far, far greater… the risk of living your entire life without realizing your true potential, of living an existence defined by a society outside of yourself- without ever even questioning why it’s so important to follow in this way.

Imagine that when you do finally question the status quo, you realize that you have within you already everything you need to change your life, and that there’s not a reason in the world not to. Because I promise you: quitting your job is scary. It’s freeing, thrilling, and terrifying all at the same time. But I can also promise you that you’ll never know what your life can be if you don’t leap off the edge with passion and faith driving you. “Do what you love, and the money will follow” goes the adage- and I’d completely agree- but realize that while money comes and goes, your life is precious and here and now, and you are the only one who can choose true fulfillment over the daily grind.

View of Florence, Italy

How to Spend 3 Days in Florence, Italy

View of Florence, Italy

Florence is located right in the heart of Tuscany- a magical region studded with countless villas, palaces and cathedrals in the gorgeous countryside of central Italy. The historical city has so much to offer in terms of art, history, architecture, food… the list goes on! With a few days to spend in Florence, here are some tips for things not to miss:

Rule #1: There are several sights in Florence that you absolutely don’t want to miss: the Uffizi (art museum) and the Accademia, where you’ll see Michaelangelo’s famous David. However, you MUST book these tickets in advance, so add this as a precursor to your trip!

duomo

Day 1: When you arrive in Florence, drop off your bags and head to the Duomo (main cathedral), taking in the citie’s gorgeous architecture on the way there. Climb to the top for an unbeatable panoramic view of the city, then check out the mosaics next door at the baptistery. Stop for a pizza or panini for lunch, then make your way to Piazza della Signorina (piazza means “square”) and then to the Uffizi for an afternoon of admiring the works of da Vinci, Michaelangelo, Botticeli and so many others. Remember to book tickets in advance here- you’ll wait in line all day if you show up the day of to purchase entry.

david

Day 2: The second day is a good time to visit Michaelangelo’s David- however, even if you book in advance you should show up to the Accademia before opening time to avoid the massive line that seems to exist at all times of the year. After lunch, visit the Santa Maria Novella Church, filled with many interesting art pieces, then walk down to the river. You can explore the many bridges across town, grabbing delicious gelato along the way- but make a special stop at Pontevecchio to take in the unbelievable jewelry and fine wares on display.

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Day 3: A third day in Florence could begin with a day trip to Fiesole to enjoy some interesting Roman Ruins, or you could opt to rent bikes and roll along the riverside. Browse through the leather markets for some quality souvenirs, and wander into some of the churches you may have missed. Shopping lovers can hit up the fashion strip of Via d’Tornabuoni, or art lovers can browse the square outside Uffizi where many artists sell their works.