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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Arrivederci, Roma! On to Firenze!

[I took a ton of photos.  I'm not going to post them all here.  If you'd like to see the rest of the photos, please see my whole album HERE.]

The following morning, we had breakfast at our hotel and then headed off to the train station to catch our train to Florence.  Unfortunately, we had a ton of difficulty finding a taxi.  This wasn't the only time that this was a problem.  We ended up having to walk all the way to Stazione Termini.  It was a 20-25 minute walk on cobblestone sidewalks with each of us dragging a large suitcase and a small suitcase.  And, it was over 80 degrees outside.  It was not pleasant.  

But, we eventually arrived.  And then we had to figure out how the system worked.  It took a bit of time, but we finally found our train and boarded.  Our train was fantastic.  Italy has these super fast, really nice trains that I highly recommend.  They're the Freccia trains.  I'd advise staying away from the other trains (the intercity especially).  
Anyway, our train ride wasn't very long -- I think about an hour.  It was actually relaxing after all the walking we'd been doing.  I spent the time reading and resting.  

When we arrived in Florence, we had to drag our luggage to our hotel.  It was supposed to be only about a block away.  Well, we asked directions from an Italian woman and she said she knew exactly where it was and then proceeded to give us the wrong directions.  So, we spent half an hour dragging our heavy luggage all over Florence.  We finally found the hotel and realized that it was on the 4th floor.  With no elevator.  I was exhausted and my foot was killing me.  I had stubbed my toe pretty bad the day before and it was screaming at me.  

We dragged our luggage upstairs but our room wasn't ready yet.  They let us store our luggage there while we did some sightseeing in the city.  We grabbed some lunch and then toured the Uffizi.  It was actually pretty boring. There are really only so many paintings of the Virgin Mary that I can look at.  Also, no pictures allowed.  :(

After that, we mostly wandered around and then checked into our hotel.  We rested for a little while and then went out to dinner.  

We went to Trattoria Nerone.  It was the best restaurant that Philip and I went to the entire time we were in Italy.  The atmosphere was wonderful.  The service was fantastic.  The decor was definitely unique.  And the food was incredible.  It gets a 5 out of 5 from me.  

We started off with delicious bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  Then we had a caesar salad.  It was the most delicious caesar salad that I've ever tasted.  Philip agrees with me.  It was that fantastic.  Then I had gnocchi in a creamy sauce and Philip had fettucini alfredo.  Both delicious.  And for the second course (which I wasn't up to with my queasy tummy), Philip had balsamic chicken.  I had a bit of that and it was fantastic, too.  Everything that I put in my mouth at this restaurant was just awesome.  

Unfortunately, I couldn't enjoy it completely.  The sandwich I had eaten earlier made me sick.  I was only a little queasy by the time we went to dinner, but later I was pretty ill.  Of course, Philip wanted to try the Gelateria in Florence that was supposed to be the best in all of Italy.  We found it on our map and started walking that direction.  

It was Gelateria Vivoli.  Philip got chocolate, strawberry, and banana.  It tasted like a banana split.  It was very good.  Philip stands by his opinion that it's the best gelato that he had while in Italy.  And believe me, he tried a LOT of gelato while we were there!  

The view from our hotel room.
Then we walked back to the hotel.  I was feeling pretty bad by that point so I tried to go to sleep.  Unfortunately, there was no air conditioning in our hotel, so we had to keep the windows open.  The breeze made the room comfortable, but it was SO noisy outside that I didn't sleep much at all.  I swear, there were trash trucks picking up trash at 2am.  No joke.  And there were loud drunks yelling down the streets all hours of the night.  It was impossible to sleep.  Not good when you're already not feeling well.  Philip gave up on sleep and started watching the baseball game on his phone (the hotel had great wifi service).  

I knew that it was going to be a long tomorrow!  But, at least we had Venice to look forward to!  :)

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