First off, I want to tell everyone that there will not be any new pictures for awhile. At our last hostel, I got a virus on my camera card while trying to load pictures. I quickly went to buy a new card, but I don't know what is going to happen with my last card, and now we are too scared to try on any other computers. Good news is that we will be back in the states in a few days, so this site will be overloaded with pictures soon. So patience!
Today started with a little stress as we realized we had no place to stay tonight, so we rushed downstairs and luckily found a reasonable place to stay near the station in Florence. Whew! So we ate the free breakfast (at least this horrible hotel has something nice!) then headed to the station where we stored our luggage and headed out to finally explore Verona after being here 3 days. We window shopped along the cute streets (have to remember... no room in our packs!), eating some horrible strawberries we bought at an open air market, and had fun watching the strange street performers dressed like Egyptian mummies standing perfectly still until someone gave them money. We found Juliette's balcony and laughed at all the silly people taking pictures of themselves grabbing the breast of the Juliette statue. We kept wandering and found a square bustling with activity, it was all the local winerys holding wine tasting! Complete with a nicely dressed band playing all the classics, such as the theme song from Happy Days. We paid a few euros and took an elevator up to the top of the bell tower (the tallest point in the city) and saw the amazing view. Now this is Tuscany! We also toured the Arena, which was setting up for a new opera. Sitting in the nice sun on the steps of the arena, it was really hard to get going and start traveling again.
But we did, and this time it was not easy. For the 3rd time, we got in line at the train station to ask about this train we were about to take. We kept getting the same answer, it's complete (I guess that means full?) but you can still take it. What exactly does that mean. Once again, we got no answer. So we sat, waiting and worrying what would happen in the 10 minutes the train would be sitting at the platform. When it arrived, we waited a few minutes then found 2 empty seats and sat hoping no one would come to claim these particular seats. No one did. But at every station it was the same... hold your breath! We were not sure what would happen if these seats were claimed and we couldn't find other empty ones. See a new part of Italy, I guess! But we somehow made it to the beautiful Firenze (Florence) station.
Our hostel here is amazing. It is decorated with famous painting and sculptures (copies, of course) and all the past travelers have written their names and sayings on the walls. We spent awhile on the free internet, then found a cute outdoor cafe for dinner. We walked around a little, looking at the Duomo a bit (it sure is an amazing Duomo!). We found a wine shop (not too hard here), and bought some Tuscany red wine and an Italian candy bar (Bueno, it's muy bueno!). We took them back to our hostel, where we sat in the amazing garden terrace and drank our wine, meeting a guy from England named Ed, who we nicknamed Chimney because we have yet to see him without a cigarette in his mouth. Gotta love the US!