I have so many posts to catch up on! But I guess I can start with a travel day, because it should not take too long to write.
This morning, we had our last breakfast in Bastia. Then we gathered all of our stuff, including a box of souvenirs which we considered mailing back home. However, we found out how extremely expensive it is to mail packages from Italy to the States. In fact, we found out how expensive it is to mail a postcard. 2 euros for one postcard stamp! Crazy! So we will just have to carry everything home. The one bag that we brought for extra things is not big enough. We might need to buy another bag!
Having an extra box of stuff was going to make boarding the train that much more difficult. The problem was going to be loading very quickly. The pickup spot was in Assisi, and the train only stops for one minute. But today, the train was running late. It did not stop very long at all. Bruce was loading our duffel bag when the warning sound for the doors to close began to beep. I told him to grab the bag. I said I would much rather get a later train then to lose our stuff. Fortunately, his efforts to grab the bag delayed the door from closing long enough that it caught the conductor's eye. He asked where we were going, and we told him Florence. He pulled out his key, unlocked the door that had just closed and he, along with 2 other people help is on the train. We were so blessed to have these folks help us out. We just grabbed the closest seats to the door and we were just happy to be on our way!
About two hours later, we arrived in Florence. We quickly grabbed a taxi, which got us to the hotel in less than 10 minutes! Great location! As we entered, it was obvious that this is a fancier hotel! I found it online, as one of the few places with a wheelchair accessible room. I knew the room was nice, but even the lobby is plush! Should be a comfy stay. Here are some fun pics from our window.
After we rested a bit, we decided to walk around the neighborhood. A Catholic Church is next door, perfect for All Saints Day mass in the morning. Just a 15 minute walk brought us to the center of the city, where the famous Duomo is. This cathedral has a dome that symbolizes the start of the Renaissance, and the influence of Florence during that period. We walked down a busy street, seeing part of the baptistry to our right. But when we got to the end of the street, the cathedral was right there. WOW! It is so massive, so detailed, so grand. Words, even pictures cannot do it justice. We took a few first-impression pics, knowing we will go inside on a later day.
We ended up eating at a small pizza place, almost like a fast food restaurant. Not bad, very quick and inexpensive. Across the street was a tourism office where we got great info on sites and wheelchair accessibility. Very helpful! We then headed back to the hotel for cappuccinos and cookies. Already, I wish we had more time in this beautiful city!