15 June 2015

In Which I Give Up on Cs: Florence Part One

Hello faithful readers! If you are still reading my blog, that means you are one of my true friends...you're officially THE BEST!! Florence was a great experience. I didn't have wifi though, so this is my experience of Florence in three parts.

The first day, June 11th, we left the Castle early and got on a bus in Dorf Tirol to Merano. Then we caught the 8 o'clock train to Bolzano where we had gelato:

Sooo good!! We also wandered around the city and looked at some of the churches and piazzas:

It was definitely a glasses day! Alex, Hope and I were all in our four-eyed glory (it's no fun to put in contacts at 6 in the morning!) and Natalie was the only non-librarian of the bunch. We also went to the Bolzano Civic Museum to look at the native artwork and Tyrollean dress:

After touring Bolzano for awhile (Alex and Hope got some dried fruit...more on that later) we caught a high noon train bound for Bologna Centrale. Sadly, this was a regional train - not one of the fast ones - so it took over five hours to get to the station. This is where Travel tip #4 comes in: Do NOT travel on the trains in Italy without snackage. It was awful! I ate gelato and a small breakfast of Nutella and bread...then nothing else for about 11 hours. It was very hot on the train (no air-conditioning on the regional trains...basically, if at all possible, avoid the regional trains). Alex and Hope shared some of their nuts and dried fruit, but man shall not live by dried fruit alone...it was definitely rough. We made our connecting train from Bologna Centrale to Firenze Santa Maria Novella and arrived around 6 pm. Then, one LOONNNG bus ride later, we arrived in Tuscany to our lovely apartment. We had the whole apartment to ourselves - heavenly. This is the view from the terrace:

Tragically, the man who owned the apartment was not present when we arrived, so we had to wait for him to show up before we could go to dinner. Remember, that I have not eaten any "real food" all day. My diet has consisted of nutella, gelato and dried fruit. When he does show up we have to file all the tourist paperwork...not fun. Meanwhile, on my Yelp app, I have discovered that there is one AND ONLY ONE restaurant within walking distance of our rural - and admittedly lovely - Tuscan getaway. It is a very expensive Italian restaurant. But by this point I am desperate! I convince Hope, Natalie and Alex that we should go out to eat. It was well worth the euros. We ate out in the garden. A sumptuous meal of spaghetti, wine, bread and tiramisu. After all day without substantial substance...paradise.

Then back to our Tuscan villa and bed. All in all, an exhausting - but successful - day of travel. Passports, people and packages all accounted for. And that was my introduction to Florence. More to come from the hills of Tuscany!

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