1. Train travel, once again. We did much better in the Ferrara train station, but of course it's much smaller than Venice. We had to change trains in Bologna, and that would have been a nightmare but for a very helpful young man who figured out what train we needed to get to and grabbed our bags and started heading for the platform. Okay, he got 20 Euros from us for about five minutes' work; on the other hand, we would have never gotten to our train without him (we had only 20 minutes and had absolutely no idea of where we were going in a huge station with many levels). We had premium tickets on the fast train (the only ones we could get) and he took us right to platform 19, car 6. We decided we liked the slow train better; the fast train is very comfortable but goes pretty much underground. Every now and then we would pop up from a tunnel and we'd say, hey, there are hills and stuff here, but by that time we'd be underground again. But here we are in Florence, so we made it.
A bell tower at a church across the street from our hotel.
2. We have arrived in Florence, staying at the Hotel Laurus al Duomo -- a very nice hotel, right in the middle of everything. We have to decide what we'd like to see over the next couple days -- the Uffizi, the Academia, the Pitti Palace -- so many things to see in Florence.
The view of the Duomo from the terrace of our hotel
3. The weather: We have really enjoyed the weather in Italy so far. Coming from the California coast, we're not used to big clouds and rain -- we've been rained on several times, and have greatly enjoyed two storms that have included thunder and lightning. Tonight we sat on the terrace of our hotel, having wine and pasta, and it began to rain. We didn't care -- we sat through the sprinkles and enjoyed watching the lightning show behind the Duomo.
The Medici chapel dome from our hotel terrace
So much for today -- a travel day, really, and we were happy to finally arrive in Florence. It looks beautiful and we are excited about exploring tomorrow. More random thoughts tomorrow!