Jun 08, 2018

First day in Florence – May 26th

I sure didn’t look too good when I woke up on the 26th of May.  Sadly it was time to leave the most perfect ever VRBO/Airbnb rental.  I wanted to live there forever.

On the Metro on the way to the train station.  Serious business going on.

When I booked our train with Italia I was given a questionnaire to fill out and in return I was given a pass to their premium lounge in Rome.  Perfect.

Or so we thought.  First off it was down a side track, way way down.  We were the only ones there and the computer did not work for the agent to be able to tell us which track our train was leaving on.  She believed that it would be on the spur track where we now were.  As it got closer to departure she still could not tell us so we headed out and that is when we found out that our train was leaving from an entirely different area that we were in and we had mere minutes to catch it.  Usually a track is only  announced about 20 – 30 minutes before departure.  We did make the train with a few minutes to spare.

We were traveling Prima class on a senior fare and it cost 47.80 euros for both of us to take the 90 minute train from Rome to Florence.

Lots of space and we were served a beverage and cookies or peanuts.  No peanut allergies in Italy.  Lots of space for the legs and between our two seats.

As I was not in top form I was looking for an alternate to the long 45 minute walk into town which we did do this first day and it wiped me out.  Between my eye, the bruising on my knee and my cold it was time to find an alternative and that is what this shows.  Our VRBO was not in Centro historico as our host had claimed.

In fact I will have to do something about this fellow.  Half of the bedroom closet and all the drawers are filled with his personal clothing including underwear.  It took me an hour or so to figure out that the full fridge and freezer all belong to him.  When he doesn’t have a rental he lives in his apartment 😯  It was gross.  All his personal bathroom stuff was there etc.  Too late as we had already prepaid.  So it was a double whammy with the distance and the weird apartment set up.  Strangely he is the only one to date that has not sent a request for me to give his place a review.  I now know why he had so few recent reviews.  Once we get back home I will pursue this as it is just not right.

So we made the best of the situation and enjoyed Florence.  Can’t remember why I took this photo but Colin looks so happy.

Compared to Rome, Florence was a bargain.  1.5 L bottles of water were only .19 euro as opposed to .69 per 1.5 L in Rome.  So we ended up walking into Centro as it took us almost 25 minutes of walking to find a place that sold transit tickets so at that point we might as well walk in.   The company we had booked for a free city tour of Florence had closed in the last week.  The only other company that offered a similar tour did so at 11AM in the morning and we already had tickets booked for a few art museums.  Turns out we had a Rick Steve’s Florence city tour and we did 3/4 of that before I packed it in.  I could not walk another step. In the end it was a 17,000 plus step day.  We took a taxi home after dinner, 10 -11 euros, as I was unable to do anymore walking.

We were close to being done with our personal city tour walk when I heard opera being sung including some of my favorite arias.  We walked a bit more and there it was.  An outdoor stage in a piazza with a cast of many rehearsing for what we later discovered would be a concert right there that evening.  There were restaurants nearby and my spirits lifted.

I certainly don’t look too perky here. We did order pasta which I could barely eat even half of mine even though it was excellent.  Once the music started I did come to life just a bit more.

The concert was happening to the right of these folks who happened to be from Mexico.  Colin picked up on the language they were speaking and engaged them in conversation.  I only had energy for the music but came around.  This is Ingrid Cicero who lives in Merida, Yucatan with her partner whose name is written on another card that I can’t find at the moment.  She also owns a home near Progresso.  Merida is where Rae is currently living but she was in the Progresso area last summer.  At one point in our lives, we almost bought a beachfront apartment sight unseen in Progresso.  Crazy people we are. Now in the winter, we hang out on Isla de la Piedra, just off of Mazatlan.  So we have been invited to come and stay at any of their three homes on the Yucatan.   Nice people.

See, with some wine, fabulous music ( of which I had a few goosebumps up my arms from the music ) and stimulating conversation I really did perk up…..a bit.

It was a real surprise to find that Colin had taken this video.  So very special.  This was wonderful but I also appreciated the operatic arias.

In real time……….we have been in Barcelona since Tuesday, June 5th.  On a rainy day in Nice I was able to complete the Rome posts.  Tonight here in Barcelona I have a few free hours so enjoy the first Florence post.  But we won’t be here much longer.  Stay tuned 😎



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