It had been just half a week since we left home and we finally got to sleep-in…until eight! I think Julianna and Baba were already regretful of putting me in charge of scheduling. We went down to our continental breakfast where I was not allowed to fill my water bottle and was not allowed to drink more than one tiny glass of flat water. Chintzy. I ended up sneaking more when the hostess wasn’t looking. We packed up our things for a second time and made our way to the train station (via cab). We caught the 13:07 train to Firenze SMN Stazione.
The two hour train ride through the country side was comfortable. It was a high speed train, traveling mostly at 250km/h. Train travel is much more enjoyable than air transportation. When we first got on, we didn’t realize our tickets actually correlated with a cabin and seat number, so we had to move a few cabins over after finding out we were in some other peoples’ seats.
Arriving in Florence, we lined up outside to catch a taxi to our hotel. It was like a well-oiled machine; we had our own cab in a very timely fashion. The cab driver loaded up our things, drove a block, and looked up and stopped. This was our hotel. Unbeknownst to us, our hotel, Boscolo Astoria, was absolutely ideal. Right in the heart of everything, its location made everything accessible by foot. The hotel itself was on a quiet cobblestone street, just off the busy road. There were little Italian restaurants across the way with patios on the alley, beckoning any passerby to rest.
Two very large wooden doors welcomed us into the grand entrance of the antique hotel and there were royally decorated sitting areas to the side. We checked in and immediately felt pleased. The staff were so much friendlier. A gentleman helped get our stuff up to our room on the first floor. The door opened with an old skeleton key. The room only had one bed, a desk, and two chairs. For a brief moment we were concerned. Then we turned and saw an old, narrow wooden staircase that led up to a loft, which held the bathroom and two more beds. The room had a two story window overlooking the street we had arrived on below. The whole thing was straight out of a movie. You could sit on the sill and look out at the people across the alley moving from window to window in their old world apartments. Motor scooters and bicyclists whizzed by. The sound of the city echoed into our little room. It was perfect.
We would be here for a few nights so we decided to unpack our luggage and get settled. We tucked our empty suitcases behind the stairs after unloading our bags into the decent-sized closet with drawers. There was a full sized soaker tub in the bathroom and I know the thought of relaxing in it was on all of our minds. Little bottles of bubble bath sat on the counter. Torn between freshening up and exploring, we settled on both. We took turns getting ready before our first night out in Florence.
The concierge had recommended checking out the rooftop terrace when we had the chance, so we did immediately. It was breathtaking up there; you could see the whole city and its surrounding hills. The sun was setting and we each had a well-needed glass of red wine. Hungry, we went down the street to one of the restaurants. Ciro & Sons was an old-turned-new sort of place. The pasta was delicious and the bottle of wine we shared was even better.
I’m still not sure, but I *think* Italian wine may be stronger or served in larger bottles than wine back home because things started to get a little kooky. We decided to go to the corner store nearby and got another bottle of wine from the little fridge (because you can do this in Italy). The man at the counter was like, “do you want this opened?” and we were like “heck yeah we want this opened.” (Can’t do THAT in Canada.) So from there we took our open bottle of wine down the street, to our hotel, and back into our room to polish it off. We did some bathtub laundry, Facetimed home, and sang out into the street from our open window. We definitely caught a guy using our street as his bathroom on this lively Friday evening before we finally decided to call it a night.