We dump the car, hop a train, and head for Florence.

Florence Travel Blog

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Awakened early by the Siena street washer

July 12, we packed our bags and said good-bye to Siena.  We called a taxi to come take us to the car.  There was NO WAY we were gonna try to drive back into the Fortress to collect our bags!!  The taxi driver had us car-side in 4 minutes max, and charged us €9.00.  Seemed a little excessive, so we didn’t tip.  Ooops, we still have the room key!!  Well, we’re not about to drive back into the Fortress to return the room key!!  We headed for the Hertz rental office to drop off the car, and the clerk graciously called the hotel to let them know we were leaving the key there.  Ooops, Carol couldn’t find the paperwork on the car.  Not to worry, the clerk said, he would pull it off the computer.  We were a little concerned, as we scraped one of the hub caps cutting a corner too sharp, and without the original paperwork showing the existing damage, we were afraid we would get hit for all the damage to the car.

Duomo and Baptistry in Florence
  Well, we’d deal with that when we had to.

 

We decided to call a cab to get us to the train station, 300 meters away, but across several busy streets.  The taxi cost us €8.50, which we thought a little excessive, so we didn’t tip.

 

As we were now seasoned train travelers, we checked out the schedule board and discovered a train leaving for Florence in 15 minutes!  Hurry!  Buy the tickets!  Validate the tickets!  Grab the suitcases and head for the tracks.  Ooops, the train was on Binario 4, and we didn’t know how to get over to it.

Entrance to Soggiorno Battistero, our hotel, across from the Baptistry
  I scurried down to the end of the platform and asked a cleaning lady how to get there, and she pointed to the stairs at the other end of the platform.  Swell!  If we’d turned right instead of left coming out of the building, we would have seen the stairs.  So more scurrying down the stairs, underneath the tracks, up onto the correct platform, and we dashed onto the train!  Whew!  More adrenaline rush!!

 

It’s only 10:30, and already we’re sweating from all our scurrying and the heat, but we made the train.  It pulled out of the station and we were on our way to Florence.  And the train was HOT.  Obviously not air-conditioned.  So we were sitting there fanning ourselves, and a gentleman in a seat across the aisle and up a row, reached over and pulled down his window.

Our hotel courtyard, 4 floors up
  DUH!  I thanked him, and he smiled as we opened our window.

 

The countryside began to flatten out, with only the occasional tunnel.  Again, wheat fields and sunflower fields dominated the landscape.  We arrived in Florence and after getting properly oriented as to which streets are where in relation to the station (again, a dearth of signage), we trekked to the hotel, Soggiorno Battestero, only about 4 blocks away and right across from the Duomo.  But no!  The hotel is on the fourth floor of the building!  And there’s no elevator!  I am getting to hate stairs!  There are 69 of them here!

 

Our room was quite large, with a 15’ ceiling.

Lunch in the park
  French doors opened from the bedroom, but there was no terrace.  We looked out on the roof of the building across an alley probably no more than 10’ wide.  A ceiling fan was a godsend, as it cooled the room off quite nicely.  Our bathroom, however, was even more miniscule than the one in Siena.  It wasn’t more than 3’ wide, and negotiating the toilet without banging one’s head on the wall was a feat in itself.

 

We located a grocery store (alimentari) and restocked our larder with fruit, meat, cheese and bread.  And of course, wine. Then we located a restaurant, Za Za’s, recommended by our hostess, for a scrumptious dinner.  We ordered our starter, but I guess the waitress misunderstood us, and she brought out a sampler of everything on the starter menu.  It was more than enough to satisfy our hunger, we didn’t have to order anything else. 

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Awakened early by the Siena street…
Awakened early by the Siena stree…
Duomo and Baptistry in Florence
Duomo and Baptistry in Florence
Entrance to Soggiorno Battistero, …
Entrance to Soggiorno Battistero,…
Our hotel courtyard, 4 floors up
Our hotel courtyard, 4 floors up
Lunch in the park
Lunch in the park
Sculpture over doorway of building…
Sculpture over doorway of buildin…
Florence street scene
Florence street scene
Our hotel stairwell gecko
Our hotel stairwell gecko
Florence
photo by: monky