Firenze (Florence). We departed from Venice around 9:30am. I took the water taxi and my boyfriend walked, after learning how to master the streets of Venice. Of course the last time I get on the boat they want to check everyone’s ticket. When you’re caught without one, it’s a €60 euro fine. There’s supposed to be a place on the boat where you can purchase a ticket, but I have yet to find it. So if you know where, please let me know, so I’m not hiding in the corner underneath my floppy hat. I arrive at the train station and I slink my way off the boat before they get to me. I also booked my ticket through RailEurope and for a first class ticket it was only $38. I’m not sure why the U.S. hasn’t adopted the convenient way of travel across the country.I wait for my for my train to arrive and spot Andy and my mom. The train is a quick two-hour ride to Florence. We sat next to a brother and sister from Seattle. Andy happily chatted about football while the sister and I got to know each other. It’s always so nice to hear other people’s stories, where they came from, why they’re there, and what they’ve seen.
We pull into the station, and it’s pouring rain. Trying to get a cab was a nightmare due to a strike. Also, for someone reason the airways were messed up and prevented us from getting a private car. Also, there weren’t any übers. Walking became our only option. The hotel was less than a mile a way. But trying to drag 50 lbs behind on cobblestone, in the rain with a bunch of other tourists, is not the ideal setting. Halfway there we spot a taxi and jump in. He drops us off at the Grand Hotel Cavour. Another great pic by Leah! Vaulted ceilings, a beautiful centerpiece that leads you into their restaurant. A place that not only meets my standards, but my mom’s as well.
Our rooms weren’t ready, so we grab a bite to eat in the hotel restaurant. Mom and I share a tuna salad with hard boiled eggs, and i have the ravioli in a meat sauce. Soooooo yummy!
Once our room is ready, we quickly drop off our belongings, and mom and I head back to the train station to take the bus to the designer outlet mall in Tuscany. It’s about an hour ride through the countryside. Our eyes rest on a massive collection of Moschino, Burberry, Valentino, Saint Laurent, Balenciaga, etc. if you love shopping and high-end designers, this is a great place for you to go. They have amazing prices on clothes, shoes, and other accessories. You have to make the conscious decision if you want to take time away from exploring Florence to shop. It’s a total of two hours commuting back and forth. I could have stayed back, but was happy that I went. We putzed around in all the stores, and as soon as we almost make away empty-handed, I spot a pair of Prada heels on sale for a €100. I grabbed them then checked out. I toted along with my new purchase and then decide to stop on YSL. I find a fabulous pink envelope clutch that I have been lusting for. There goes another €260. Good news is, that my purchase was eligible for the VAT which is 12.5% sales tax that I get back! Which is equivalent to $50. I’m a happy camper. Tell me where you can find a YSL bag for $250?! A solid purchase.
We jump on the bus back, meet Andy for dinner. We go to a place next door, Yellow Bar, which is a large space but has a homey-feel. We get seated and order some chianti, prosciutto and mozzarella, pizza, and different pastas. I’m not kidding, fucking delicious. This is a must go. No questions asked. I will leave Europe dreaming about my food.
We head back to the hotel, say our good nights and prep for tomorrow’s wine tasting in Chianti.