Saturday, May 25, 2013

Day 1 in Florence, Travel day from Venice, no Sightseeing due to the Rain

I got up for breakfast at my hotel around 9:30 am, check out time was 10:30 am.  I knew I was going to Florence today, I had not booked my ticket, so the question was, what time would I leave Venice.  I checked trains to Florence online, the morning trains were booked, there was a train at 1:25 pm, I decided I would shoot for that one.

I left my hotel around noon to walk to Venice's main train station, about a twenty minute walk. I stopped along the way and bought a slice of pizza and a bottle of water. I went to the self-service ticket machine at the train station, the 1:25 tickets to Florence were sold out.  Rome is the final destination of the train I was taking to Venice, with several stops in between, on a weekend, the trains on this route are booked early.  I bought the 2:25 pm train ticket.

I sat on the stairs outside the train station and read my kindle, did some people watching, until about 1:45 pm, then I went to get some snacks for the train ride.  The ride was only 2 hours but I often get hungry and the bread breakfast and slice of pizza for lunch were not very filling. Just after 2 pm, the platform the train for Rome would leave from appeared on the departure screen.  I went, found my seat and settled in for the ride.

Cloudy day in Venice from the Train to Florence
The train filled up at the Bologna station, until that point, I had a row to myself.  Today's train was the nicer, high speed train, unlike the train I took from Milan to Venice, it was also more expensive, 45 Euros.  There were no slow trains available, I would have gone with the cheaper option, if there had been one.  The luggage rack was packed, I had to dig for my bag at the stop in Florence, a lot of people got of the train at the Florence stop. This is the beginning of Europe's high tourist season, I am glad I am winding down my tour of Europe at this time.  

It was raining when we arrived in Florence, I took out my umbrella but did not use it, then I ended up leaving it on the bus.  The first bus I got on was the bus to my hostel, but I did not buy at ticket and they were not sold on the bus, I got off the bus and must have left my umbrella in the seat when I got off.  I bought a new one for 5 Euros from one of the African men selling umbrellas at the station. 

Lynnae after arrival in Florence
I caught the next bus to my hostel, I could have stayed on the first bus without a ticket, but I prefer to buy my tickets, even though it is possible to get away without paying sometimes.  The bus driver stood up when we got to a stop, my interpretation  my stop was before the one we had just arrived at, he pointed in a direction, telling me to go that way.  Another woman spoke Italian to me, I asked her, before? She said, yes, before.  I started  walking, I had no map, no idea where I was, I thought I may have to hail a taxi. I somehow wandered around in the direction the bus driver pointed and found the street with the hostel, then a block later, I found the hostel.  I could not believe it, the street with the hostel was the exact way the bus driver had pointed.  

Was a challenge getting into the hostel. The hostel is located in a building with other businesses, I could not find the hostel's name to ring the bell.  I went next door, asked the man if I was  in the right place, he said yes, ring the bell, I do not  know which one it is.  I went through all the names slowly, there were names listed on both sides of the door, finally I found the right one, I rang it and the hostel buzzed me in. 

My first impressions were great of the hostel, the woman working reception was friendly, we talked for awhile, she gave me a map and pointed out all of Florence's main attractions.  I went out this evening, walking towards the Duomo, but it started to rain,  My camera stopped working so I did not get to take any pictures, I tried to charge my battery when I got back, it would not charge.  I think the battery is the problem, or I am going to hope the battery is the problem and the camera is OK.  I will figure it out tomorrow.  I may have to but a new camera, although I hope not. 

No photo album today, I only shot three pictures and the one not on the blog was a blurry shot of Venice from the train today.  Tomorrow is supposed to be sunny in Florence, my first stop will be a camera or electronics store, get my battery replaced and then go see the  sights.

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