In Florence!

by Janey Canuck in


Hello again... We've made our way up to Florence now and have had a lovely few days.

Our train trip up to Florence was quite the event. We didn't really know what was going on at the train station so we bought tickets that didn't have specific seats assigned. That was a bad idea. We ended up standing the whole 1.5 hours to Florence. And, the train left and hour late. After arriving, we made our way to our crazy hotel and then went out exploring. Sadly, it was the middle of siesta time so we couldn't get bus tickets. So we walked up to the Duomo instead. And we could't go in because a service was about to start. The idea for an early dinner didn't work out either - restaurants are closed from about 3 to 8. We napped back at the hotel, instead, before heading out for dinner at 9:30. It was worth the wait, though - I had the best gnocchi ever and Kevin took a chance on something called ribollita that he ended up loving. After that, it was back to the hotel (with another stop for gelatto along the way) and a good sleep.

Yesterday, we woke up to a cloudy sky (oh, did I mentioned that it's rained every night since we got here but not during the day at all?) and after a tasty breakfast, caught the shuttle up to the train station and booked tickets for Cinque Terre. It poured most of the way up but stopped just as we arrived in Levanto, pretty much. There, we bought our Cinque Terre cards and headed over to Monterossa. We had a nice little lunch over looking the sea before findind our way to the trail and hiking to the next village, Vernazza. This stretch of the path is supposed to be the harded - it was 3 km and the hike took about 1.5 hours and took us 300 metres above sea level. It was insane - in some places, there was hardly room for one person, let alone two if someone else was coming along. We met a nice couple from New Zealand who gave us some good tips about the other villages and spent a good chunk of the way walking with them. Once we arrived in Vernazza, it was time for water and a rest (and gelatto.) The views were beautiful so we decided to ask someone to take our photo. He looked at my sweatshirt and said "UW? Are you from Kitchener?" and we quickly learned the couple was from St. Catharines. They told us about their travels, made some recommendations and then a scary man started talking about how rude the Italians were so we both kinda started inching away. Too bad, it was a lovely conversation.

From there, we tried to take the train to the 4th village but it didn't really stop, it just kind of slowed down. So we caught the next train instead. We passed by Corniglia and went down to Manarola where I bought some local wine and olive oil. Then we walked the last part of the trail down to Riomaggiore along Via dell'Amore before stopping at a local restaurant where Kevin enjoyed some seafood spaghetti and I had a pizza.

Then it was back to Florence on the train (nearly went to Parma by accident) and to bed before getting up today to see the Accademia (with David) and going inside the Duomo. We climbed the 463 steps up to the top - I stopped around step 455 but Kevin went right out onto the cupola and got some beautiful photos of Florence. We had a nice little lunch and now, we've come back to the hotel to wait for the lines to die down at the Uffizi, Italy's largest and most famous museum.