Monday February 24 2020
Rome – Florence Italy
Boy, oh am I fancy schmancy. On the train to Florence. No not second class. No not Business Class. Yes, Executive Class. You know the one where you get to sit in the lounge before your train. The one with the leather Italian styled seats (Look great. Not built for human anatomy), the free coffee, juice, canned drinks. The cookie selection looked like it was stocked from the the dreams of Cookie Monster. Only those of us with the secret code and whispered password were allowed to pass the sliding glass gates and leave the hoi paloi and noise behind. I am now enclosed in leather and chrome. With my own table, and a waiter shared with ten other seats on the entire car. They rival any first class on any airplane I have had the the privilege of walking through on the way on or off a plane. The train’s steward took my drink order and food order almost before I sat down. He was shocked when I declined alcohol. I guess it is NOT done. He just came by in white gloves and laid the table cloth and silverware on my tray table. We’ll have to see how the grub is at this end of the train. I did mention that lunch and drinks and white gloves are included in this service didn’t I?
The current plague has hit Italy, at least that is what my home page told me this morning. While waiting in ‘the lounge’ this morn the news crawl for the rail system said that trains would no longer be stopping in the two towns that are hardest hit by the virus. (currently 120 mph on train) Will they contain it? Who knows? I am skeptical, but I am just praying I don’t get a cold or bad shellfish and my temperature to rise since the remote people thermometers are out at the airport and now train station. I don't need two or three days in quarantine
Sure is a lot of lit and dark on this train. One moment countryside, the next tunnel. I guess that is how you can go 225 kph, nope 229 kph (you gotta do you own math to figure out miles) – 245 – 250 ---- where will it stop!! Yikes, when you pass another train going the other way at this speed it’s like trying to catch a mosquito.
We got into Florence about 25 minutes late. Mussolini wold be spinning over in his grave if he has one. That was his campaign slogan ‘He made the train’s run on time’. I go on he platform, found the way to the taxi stand and loaded the bags into the back. I showed him my hotel reservation on my phone and he laughed, and pointed to my hotel a block and a half away. It was easier to pay him a couple Euros than it was to unload the car. Hey! I’m on vacation !
The hotel is something out of an Agatha Christie novel. Dark wood, thick carpets not made for roller bags. Bell boys and uniformed desk clerks. Federico took my passport and found my reservation and stared typing for a room for me. The room is a suite. Hard wood floors, KING sized bed. Mini bar and breakfast included. The price? About the same as the Radisson at SeaTac. I’m not sure if I got the winter rate or the virus rate.
I came to see Michelangelo’s David and the Ponte Vechio bridge. So I headed down to the bridge to see it at Sunset at the golden hour. I took pictures and people watched for about and hour and then came back to the hotel. A light dinner on the roof and back here. The bill had a discount f about 10%. I put cash down and the waiter said I had to sign it to my room for the discount. Okay fine, but I am confused.
Tomorrow is a skip the line tour to see David and other stuff. So I’ll stop now.
|Dome in the background over dinner|