Musing with Max

Musing with Max

October 12, 2016

Firenze-Florentia-Florencia, etc. etc. etc.

Whenever we go to Europe we always take the train somewhere. Whether a day trip or if transferring from one city or country to another it always needs to be a part of the plan. Eurail is a joy to ride. Some are high speed trains, some not. The service is old fashioned;  they bring newspapers, magazines, drinks, snacks all with the price of the ticket. If you're in first class it's sparkling wine and a meal, better than flying I would say. There's also and old fashioned bar car, and it's hard to beat the scenery. Both Frank and I had heard a myriad of awful Italy train stories: Somebody else was in our reserved seat and the conductors did nothing, we couldn't find the platform and nobody helped, we bought a sleeping berth and people were in it and the conductors did nothing, we found another berth but it was bunk beds and that's not what we paid for, nobody helped with our luggage and we had to sit next to it so it wouldn't be stolen, the conductors are rude and inattentive, blah blah blah blah...So after climbing into a very crowded waterbus (it was rush hour and people were going to work!) in Venice to make our way to the very lovely Santa Lucia train station, where after four days I was shocked to see cars as the bus station is across the canal, we were ready for our first horrifying Italy train ride. Other than the fact that it was 45 minutes late (another in the mountain of complaints) and having to lug and store our own luggage (which we've done every other time by the way) everything was peachy keen. We had very comfortable seats, newspapers so we could practice our Italian (per the conductor's suggestion) snacks, salty or sweet?, and a small bottle of wine. It was a high speed train, the ride from Venice to Florence was a bit over an hour so we arrived at the bustling station, Santa Maria Novella, somewhere before noon. We had walking directions from the train station which seemed pretty direct and short of distance so we pulled our luggage into the very crowded streets of Florence and pushed through. Again we were in the center of everything, a mere two tiny windy blocks from Il Duomo, a magnificent structure

with very long lines to get in, and just around the corner from Piazza della Signoria with the Palazzo Vecchio, the fake David

and a passage to the famed Uffizzi museum. The crowds were massive and what I remember most is the tour groups with their umbrella holding guides coming at us in tides. Aaaaargh! On a narrow cobblestone street with no sidewalk and the only car traffic allowed, yikes!, we found our lovely little B & B, Badia Fiorentina,

the only bad thing being that we were on the first floor (European translation, 2nd) and being a very old house, no elevator and these were the stairs.

Bienvenuto a Firenze! (Florentia-Florencia, etc. etc. etc.) 

After carting our luggage up and getting the grand tour from the lovely girl at the desk who we never saw again and a map with all the highlights we ran out to explore, as is our wont to do. We quickly found the elegant Uffizzi just around the corner,

pushed through the crowds in the plaza waiting to get in and walked towards the very adorable Ponte Vecchio,

and crossed to the other side.

Where we found lesser crowds, just as much beauty and our go to lunch place for our time in Florence.


A view of the bridge across the Arno and the rowers from the rowing club across the way!

The Florentine adventure begins.

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