It took us 2 1/2 hours on the train from Venice to Florence. I was actually sad to leave Venice. We had some apprehension about the train, but everything worked out perfectly. This is a weird sidenote, but worth mentioning I think. We had assigned seats on the train, but we didn’t know that. Our train was about 15 cars long with 75 or more seats on each car. We walked onto a random car and sat in random seats and Jason realized about ten minutes later that we were in the exact right seats! I might have thought he was playing a joke in me except that I chose the car myself. Very weird. Apparently we are in tune with the universe :)
Anyway, we are in awe of the Duomo. It is massive and stunning. We did not go to the top-that is our morning trip. But we did walk in and I was so impressed.
Florence was a bit of a culture shock after the quiet streets of Venice. We are back into a real city! There are lots of bikes and scooters and a few cars and buses. We decided to walk off the beaten path tonight, but we ended up right back where we started.
We love our hotel so I will mention it. We are staying at Hotel Perseo and the people and room are wonderful. We are one block from the Duomo and a few blocks from the train station. Every evening for two hours they have a ‘Fun Drink’ time where you can get a free glass of wine or cappuccino if you are named Jason. The man hosting it gave us a map of the city and marked the best places to eat and visit. We would definitely recommend this hotel.
As far as our first impressions of Europe and the people, it is hard to say. Venice has 65,000 residents and up to 500,000 tourists on a given day so you see more tourists than actual residents. I don’t feel that way here in Florence, so maybe I’ll have a better opinion in a day or so.
I do not like the Italian coffee (it’s like espresso), but Jason LOVES the cappuccino if you haven’t been able to tell that already :) The food is great, of course. If we were not doing so much walking I’d have gained 5 pounds already.