Nine Days in Italia – Parte Quattro: The Questionable Window Seat

We left Venezia on the right day, it was absolutely hammering down although still very warm, and took the train to Firenze. Once again I am in love with Tren Italia, air conditioning, a reserved seat, a just under two hour journey that doesn’t cost a million pounds like in the UK, all great things. What wasn’t so great was the questionable “window seat”, sure there was a window and our seats were next t it, sadly the seats blocked most of the window so you didn’t get to see a huge amount. The photo’s taken of the countryside are mostly of Emilia Romanga, the regione that Bologna is the capital of, as we had to travel through this to get to Toscana, and also because of the hundred or so tunnels that we went through once we did get into Toscana, the Tuscan countryside with its rolling hills obviously weren’t designed with the ease of train travel in mind. what we did see out of the semi window was very pretty, it seems that the rain was only in Veneto as it gave way to blazing sunshine after only a half hour or so on the train. Once we got to Firenze we took a walk to the apartment we had rented, shouldn’t have been a problem as it was only around a twenty minute walk from the station, unfortunately we didn’t know that Florentine streets have two sets of house numbers, one set for businesses and one set for residences. Yes that’s a real thing, look it up because we had to. After standing outside a farmaccia for 10 minutes after ringing the person who was meant to meet us Jo decided to look up the street numbers on Google and that’s how we found out that the apartment was actually the other end of the street. Confusing huh? Anyway the apartment was basic but clean and perfectly fine for our purposes, the main reason I liked it though was the view and how close we were to the centre of the city, seriously for the price we paid I did not expect such a central location. One big issue however was the street cleaners that woke us up at 3/4am, the soundproofing, if there was any, was pretty atrocious in the apartment, luckily it only happened the first night as Jo refused to stay there if the second night was as bad. Again I suppose that’s the price you pay for a central location.Anyway onto the photographs from day four, this day was all taken on Fujifilm C200.

1.jpg Jo looking pleased with herself and the “window seat”, as you can see it wasn’t exactly in an ideal location, half obscured by seat and the rest by whoever’s head happens to be in the way. What we did see out the window was however very pretty, the sort of idealistic Italian countryside you imagine when you think of it.

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4.jpg This one is especially nice, clear blue sky, endless fields, the blurring motion of the train whizzing along. The train was a tilting train which was incredibly cool, I’ve never been on one before and got quite excited by the way it leaned as we went around corners at nearly 200 mph, although it was a little unnerving looking out one window and seeing nothing but blue sky and then the other and seeing the ground racing along.

5.jpg Just a couple of tourists in Santa Maria Novella Stazione, I took this shot while Jo was looking up the address of our apartment on google maps.

6.jpg Again the pesky back of my camera opened and semi exposed the film, hence the red banded mess above. Luckily I took, probably far too many, more photos of the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore. Such an incredibly impressive building, we had to walk past it to get to the apartment, and then a few streets further if that, we really were that close as another photo coming up testifies.

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8.jpg First thing we did when getting to the apartment, change clothes, the air con in the train was very misleading, Firenze itself was boiling hot. Although unlike Venezia there was at least a light breeze, helped by the wide streets.

9.jpg And that’s how close we were to the Duomo, literally two streets away. This was the view fro our bedroom window. For anybody who’s played the Assassin’s Creed games this is probably a familiar view, it was for me.

10.jpg Ah the Venchi store, or one of three in Firenze. I am a huge fan of Venchi chocolate so got quite excited by the sight of a massive store right next to where we were staying, it’s not cheap but I don’t care.

11.jpg Another few images of the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore from our first foray into the city in the afternoon/evening, its even more impressive in person, an utterly gigantic building.12.jpg13.jpg14.jpg Trouble with having such a glittering and ridiculously impressive building is that all the other buildings around it don’t look quite so impressive, such as this one the Basilica di San Lorenzo. In any other city this would be pretty impressive, but it’s about a 2 minute walk from the Duomo and doesn’t look anywhere nar as grand in comparison.

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17.jpg Bran flakes, that’s all; these are, great name for bog standard bran flakes though.

18.jpg Ah cheap Chianti, this is the reason I came to Toscana, to drink all the Tuscan wine and spend very little in the process. For the record this stuff wasn’t too bad, not great but not bad.

19.jpg The dessert Jo had after dinner this night, a very lemony flavoured sorbet, it tasted pretty good. In fact Firenze was a breathe of fresh air for food, I don’t think we had a bad meal in any place we went to.

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21.jpg This is what holidays in a beautiful city are all about, spend the day sight seeing and the evening sat in the square having a drink and watching the world go by. The beautiful backdrop of the Duomo helped a lot too.

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23.jpg Just as impressive in the night as the day.

24.jpg Spritz and crisps, what more could you want? Incidentally it was at this place that I mispronounced the word Bere (to drink) as Beve (you drink) and confused the waiter who thought I was asking him if he wanted a drink instead of me trying to order drinks. Doh.

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Other notable things from today;

  • Jo haggled with a market trader to buy a pack of playing cards, I always forget to pack them. Haggled down from 6 Euro to 3 Euro, in hindsight they felt like they were worth about 50 cents if that.
  • We thought about the idea of perhaps going to Siena for a day as we had heard it was only a 3 Euro trip on the train and didn’t take very long. This idea lasted about ten seconds until we discovered it was not 3 Euro and took quite a long time, we’d have to visit Siena another time.

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