Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Day 5: Roma to Firenze to Venezia

Today is the day of the train. A lovely 6 hour train ride from Rome to Venice with a stop-over in Florence. We love trains. Wow. Perhaps it's just a lack of being able to really train around in the states, but whatever it is, we love training.

This was our first night to actually sleep through the night. Nice.

Woke at 6am to head to the train station, got a caffe latte and donut type thingie, and went to get on our train. We went and asked (in very broken Italian) if this was our train and the conductor/assistant/whoever he was said that we were at the wrong train (again!) and needed to find this other train on the other side of the station! Ah! Will we ever figure this out?

So, let me amend my above statement: We love travelling on trains (as in the actual being on the train), but are not fond of train stations and schedules.

Turns out the part of the train we boarded wasn't being heated that morning, so they moved us up to the sleeper cars. Holly and I got our own sleeper area for the entire trip. Wonderful! And oh the views! Snow and rolling hills and vineyards!

Arrived in Florence and hit the ground running. Only had 4 hours or so, so we began. The city was just opening up for business, so we wandered, found another bar to grab a caffe latte (Holly was still hungover on sleeping pills!).

Wandered toward the Academia where Michaelangelo's David, and passed this church on the way...

David was amazing. It is hard to explain... I mean, I'm not really into naked guys, but this was a truly stunning piece of art, and I get bored at museums and stuff, but this was amazing.

Headed out and found some food (pizza) for lunch. We ate near the Ponte Vecchio (that bridge that you see on any ad for Florence or Italy). Beautiful.

We heard that the most amazing gelato in all of Italy was here in Florence, so we checked it out and were not let down.

Again, this restored our faith in travelling in Europe and made us want to start planning a trip to Switzerland or Austria or France... oh the places we will go!

In one of the markets, we met a really nice Iranian guy. We just started talking and he told me he was from Persia... and I thought I had misunderstood him, but not he really said Persia. And I was like: Ancient Persia or is there some place still called Persia? Well, he is technically from Iran, but doesn't like the stereotypes that it pulls up, nor does he necessarily want to be associated with the government of Iran. He then asked me where I was from... I lowered my head and said... the States... He said that I shouldn't be ashamed. That just because our government is making decisions that are awful, I am separate from that. And I am.

It was just a cool moment. Me and and Iranian in Italy chatting about politics... and how to make the world a better place without war. Dreamers, I guess.

Got back on our train and headed to Venice. Snow on the beaches as we arrived. It was friggin' cold, man! Friggin' cold!

Once we got off the train and made our way out of the station, we realized that we had no idea where our hotel was and Venice isn't exactly laid out well. I mean, there are no real streets or anything, so we began to wander... and voila! we bumped into some friends we had made back in Rome. They showed us to our hotel! Wonderful.

I wasn't feeling too hot since it was so cold, so we got some pizza and hit the sack.

We had now traded subways and trains for boats... bellisimo!

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