We had no problem sleeping in this morning, so we really didn’t get moving until 9:30 or so. We were leaving Venice this morning, so we began our packing before going for breakfast. The small dining room was full, but we were lucky that someone had just left, so we got our fuel for the morning, thinking that it would have to take us well into the afternoon.
I had bought a nice Italian fedora one day, a crushable, waterproof one; however, as I was rolling it up to pack away, the strap, which doubles as the hat band & is just lightly stitched on, came off. Fortunately, the hat store is close by, so I made a quick trip there to exchange it for a new one. Windows and doors are wonderful in Venice…the one pictured was right at the corner by our hotel…it is a hair dressers shop.
We finished packing up, paid our hotel tax bill – there’s a €3 per day city tax that has to be paid in cash – & off to the water bus station. Now that we know the way like the back of our hand, it’s about a 7 minute walk, with only 2 bridges to cross. Schlepping bags up & down the bridge stairs is a bit of a pain, but no big deal. The bus ticket to the train station was €15 for both of us for the 25 minute ride, with 6 stops along the way. By the 4th stop, the water bus was packed, so the best place to be was standing out in the open deck.
We already had our train tickets, so it was just a matter of waiting for train no. 9193 to Rome, with several stops at Bologna, etc. along the way. A smooth 2 hour ride at 230 km/hr brought us to Florence right on time at 3:30. We made our way to the street to hail a taxi. Yeah right…..we had to queue up, as the taxis dribbled in 1-by-1. After a 45 minute wait, we were finally on our way to 87 Borgo Pinto, the condo where we are staying with Charlie & Cheryl until Saturday. ‘Charles the Butler’ had been waiting on the street for us since 3:30, not expecting that we’d have to wait for a taxi.
It was good to see a familiar face! The condo is on the top floor, so Bonnie took the 3-person elevator to the top, with the luggage, while Charlie & I climbed the 80 steps to the top, where Cheryl was waiting for us. We beat the elevator up by a good 30 seconds!!
First thing, we had a tour of our home for the next 3 days. What a great place to stay, while in Florence – 2 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, a very well laid out & appointed galley kitchen, nice dining room, a sitting room upstairs, with a jacuzzi tub in the adjoining bathroom, & a small ‘balcony’ a few steps above that, where you can look out over the neighbourhood. We already know that we’ll be back!
After catching our breath, some catch-up conversation, wine/water & a light snack we were off to Marione, the restaurant that they had chosen for dinner. It’s one that was highly recommended by their landlord & by Rick Steeves, the travel guru. It was a very direct walk, 1 turn, about 15 minutes. After being in Venice where there are no cars, bikes, scooters, no form of motorized transportation other than boats, it was a change to see & hear the sounds of a normal city…well, “normal” by Italian standards, closer to crazy by ours!
As it turned out, we arrived at the restaurant just in time, because it sure did fill up fast just shortly after we were seated & there were people waiting outside, when we left. We started with a couple of appetizers: tomato & mozzarella & another cheese with honey & pine nuts, both delicious. It didn’t take me long to figure out what I’d order for the main course: Osso Bucco, my favourite. Charlie opted for that as well, Cheryl had lasagna & Bonnie had a pasta dish. The atmosphere, the service and the food were all great, & not that expensive….€85, including a bottle of wine & a litre of ‘acqua gasseta’. David (the landlord) & Rick Steeves were right!
Our walk back to the condo took us past D’Uomo. All I can say is INCREDIBLE!!! I cranked up the camera ISO setting to 6000 & got a few night time shots. I’m thinking that an early morning trip there will be in the plans. We stopped for gelato – I’m think that more of that will be in the plans too – before continuing on to the condo. We all took the stairs this time.
We watched a couple of episodes of Law & Order – the only English TV is a channel that shows only crime/police programs. It was a long day, so we headed off to our king size bed for a good night’s sleep & thinking about what we were in for tomorrow.