Waking up in Rome is a wonderful experience. All around you are the noises and smells that suggest that you are in Italy's most renowned city. The smell of freshly cooked pastries and brewed coffee wafts into the window of our room, giving us our wake up call in this timeless city. The beeping of car horns in the distance sounds more like a symphony than a symbol of modernisation.
Roma Termine (Rome Train Station) is how train stations should be. Big, bright, clean and most importantly trains departing to every conceivable designation regularly. Our destination today is Florence, home of the statue of David, Ponte Vecchio, Il Duomo and some of the most delicious food you could eat in Italy. This will be a 400 km trip and the fast train we are taking will get us there in 90 minutes. Buying tickets here is a seamless exercise with hundreds of ticket machines available. Because this is a regional trip we need to allocate seats on the screen. I thought I had done this successfully until we got on the train. More on that later. Roma Termine has more people than I can count and everyone is very helpful. Talking the lingo helps but in contrast to our trip twenty years ago everyone here speaks English now and is happy to speak it as well. The trains are clean, sleek and modern. I can see that the pride of Italy comes through in their train service. They are very proud of it. There are no PSO's here. Anyway...enough about the sites...here is some about the experiences.
Tragedy struck our FGI group today. The news we received today caused some significant grief and contingencies are limited to deal with it...sorry I've just taken a moment to compose myself as I write this...today we were met with the unfortunate news that....Johanna's phone was NOT unlocked before we left. This news was told to us by the man who sells SIM cards at the station. I'll never forget the look on HIS face when he told her this information and I doubt that he will EVER get over it. I did what every good husband should do and that is to look at the phone, pretend to be trying to fix it and then...running away!
When I chose the seats on the train for Florence I had forgotten to check that our allocation had been validated. When we got on the train we were disappointed to find that all five of us had been allocated seats separately between two different carriages. I honestly couldn't see what the big deal was until I looked at Lucy. Lucy got very concerned about sitting on her own so I asked a man if he wouldn't mind swapping his seat for one that we had been allocated. At first he was a little hesitant but when he saw the look on Lucy's face he got up straight away and moved. Another lesson learned!
Dahlsen gave his hat a grand tour of Florence. At one stage he took it off and replaced it with another. I got a little upset at him for doing that and told him that he had created a lot of publicity with that hat and that he needed to continue wearing it. See photos for the latest.
The accommodation that Johanna picked on the Internet is superb. The apartment is very comfortable, clean and cool. It even has a courtyard! We enjoyed dinner at a pizzeria in the heart of Florence and while having our dinner we were treated to the majestic sound of church bells from the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore in Piazza del Duomo. A fitting way to cap of a fantastic day in Italia.