So many people eating breakfast at 6 that we had to eat outside. We were ready on time and descended to level 1 and were amongst the first to exit. The people mover hadn’t started yet so we hoofed it all the way to the station.
Found a seat and had some decent coffee. We were well early for the train and managed more coffee and a nestle peach tea for Lachy. The platform number flashed up about 15 minutes before departure and off we went. The tickets were marked economy but when we got to the train it turned out to be first class, a very nice way to travel.
Complimentary drinks and snacks and plenty of luggage storage and only three seats across.
The train hit 217 kph in the first stretch. Why don’t we have these trains in Australia?
We were a little late into Bologna but on the next leg, the trip was mostly in tunnels with the occasional glimpse of mountain scenery as we burst from one and plunged into the next. At one point I saw 257 kph on the screen.
The train pulled into Florence about 11.35 so we grabbed a cab to the hotel.
The entry was a big set of wooden doors with a buzzer. Inside it was up the stairs and lift to the second floor for reception and disappointment.
Despite having a confirmed booking there is no room for us. Some confusion over another Jones guest.
The receptionist was aghast and ushered us into the lounge while she sorted another hotel.
This was done and the room would be ready shortly so we headed out to a rather extravagant lunch.
I had risotto, fish, chianti. Lachy had spaghetti and the fish while Ali had steak and chips florentine style. The place was empty at 1 but absolutely packed at 2 when we left.
We returned and grabbed our bags. The hotel paid for a taxi to take us over the river and we were soon in our new arrangements that although not beautiful was a perfectly acceptable multi room suite and 50 euro cheaper than the plush one.
Lachy was bushed by this time, so Ali and I headed up to the Duomo and joined the line for the cathedral. We were inside fairly quickly. This was another different experience, not as beautiful as Burgos but very open and airy with massive columns and modest decoration on the inside.
The exterior is clad in exquisite green white and red marble. We then joined the queue for Giottos Bell Tower. You can climb the very narrow staircase in stages as there are platforms every 100 steps or thereabouts. At the third stage, the bells started ringing and the noise was exceptionally loud. I could feel the vibrations in my chest. Even after 414 steps you still don’t get as high as the Duomo. It was very crowded at the top but what a view.
When I made the exit, at the top step I raised my hand in a victory cheer which raised a bit of mirth in the crowd waiting to get in.
Now it was dark so we headed off to search out the Accademia and the statue of David.
We were there after 5 minutes walk and 40 minutes before closing. Inside, we entered a gallery on the left and at the end was David. The shock is it’s about 2 or threes times larger than life size. The caption says after viewing this statue, there’s no need to look at any others because it’s perfect and it certainly is impressive. The Accademia also has an extensive collection of early religious art in addition the the sculpture.
It was time to head back and grab Lachy for a simple meal after the extravagance of lunch but we ended up with another gastronomic delight accompanied by some Pinot Grigio and for Lachy, the largest glass of Coke I have ever seen. For desert Ali and I had florentine ice cream in contrasting presentations mine was white plate, black square serviette, spoon sprinkled over with cacao, Ali’s was black plate, white triangle serviette, spoon sprinkled over with icing sugar. Very elegant for a trattoria and quite delicious.
We returned to our functional if not beautiful suite and watched a 70’s music show, the only thing in English before I hit the hay.
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