Day 7: Best View, Best Espresso, Best Gelato

If you saw the “Live Update” about the Sciopero …. And perhaps didn’t see another post yesterday, you might have thought I was still stuck in Cinque Terre.

But we didn’t get stuck there. The weather when we woke up (and were sleeping) was terrible and windy. It was raining and very gusty … and add to that the crashing of the waves. I oddly still liked it … it made the experience more authentic. However, I didn’t want to be in this weather for a full day of train delay.

Apparently in Italy, labor strikes (or maybe just train ones) are pretty organized and not at all a surprise. So, we knew that as long as we made it on a regional train by 9 am we’d be fine. We made it on an 8:59 train … so just with one minute to spare. If I had to describe the rest of the day, I would say “breezy”. After making it back to Florence, we dropped our bags at our hotel and headed out to enjoy the day.

Our room at Hotel Bretagna has a towel warmer…. Which to me means a clothes dryer. So I obviously washed my leggings and socks in the sink and hung them up to dry over night. Wondering what I washed them with? Body wash. True story.

Here’s how it went.

Train Travel
I admittedly get very anxious about missing trains/planes/appointments. I will happily wait the extra time at the airport/station… but not everybody shares this particular trait. Well, given the train strike I was extra on alert … and inadvertently got us to the train station an hour early. I honestly have no idea how I get it all so mixed up … but we took a stroll and then had two café lattes and it all worked out.

Lunch & Market & ESPRESSO
Kerrianne really wanted to get a leather bag during her time in Italy and so yesterday was the day to do it. The girl, Guilia, at our hotel recommended this open air market near San Lorenzo Square … and having taken a peek at it we knew it would be quite the experience. Think Canal Street in NYC.

Logically, we decided to have lunch first and it was a great decision. We’ve gotten better and picking places more quickly and settled on this little place called Trattoria de Guido. Cute name right? Well, it didn’t matter because the food was amazing. We ordered fried artichokes and an order of gnocchi with pesto… and wine. Solid order.

The Market wasn’t a stressful experience but it was very typical of a bargaining situation. Same old story, but it is amazing how much they mark up the products. We got them to knock 20 euro off the price of Kerrianne’s bag. I consider that a win.

Another win? We had espresso like Italians do at Paszkowski’s. According to the girl at our hotel, it is the best espresso place in Florence. Despite the not Italian sounding name, Paszkowski was super fancy looking but the same price as the rest of the city … and it really was amazing. You could completely taste the difference.

Our Room
After the rush of bargaining in the market, we headed back to our hotel to relax. Our original plan was to re-group a bit and head back outside since it was gorgeous. That quickly became a dumb idea given the amazing view from our room.

Before I knew it, three hours had passed and we had read, drank prosecco, and facetime’d with my dad. It was perfect.

To close out our time in Florence, it seemed to make sense that we actually have “the best gelato”. We made the small trek over to Grom, which had been recommended by Guilia and Kerrianne’s friend Miriam. There was a line for Grom that was an immediate turn-off … but it was worth the wait. I “splurged” on a medio and got three flavors: pistachio, caramel, and hazelnut.

It seemed critical that we get back to our room in time for sunset. The view that we had been experiencing all afternoon with our feet propped up? Just as amazing as the sky turned a bit pink, the water reflected different colors, and the hills in the distance became more defined.

Today? I’m on the train to Siena. I began to get a little anxious last night thinking about this next week and how little of it is planned …. And how little I can grasp of the trains and buses. My original plan for this coming week was a little more audacious but I’m scaling back. I think I’m going to do Siena, Cortona, and Orvieto. I’d love to get to Montepulciano so I’m hoping that I can join a tour for that on Sunday … since there aren’t trains or buses running. We will see.


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