Day 4: Smile for Cream Puffs

From the ocean to the hillsides ... or something like that.

After last night's amazing dinner ... and bottle of prosecco in our hotel room, it was a tad bit of a struggle to be up and ready at 8 am today. But that's how we like to travel. Initially I was excited when Kerrianne suggested we watch a "Golden Girls" episode as we fell asleep ... then she told me it's because they make her fall asleep. Either way, I'm taking it as a win for me and the old biddies.

We knew that since today was going to be a travel day, it would be a bit broken up and perhaps not as "productive" as we would normally roll. But, we managed to get a fair amount in including our first experience on an Italian train. As I mentioned in the "Live Update" from earlier today, it is far superior to American trains. No wonder Europeans look at us like we are crazy when we show them our systems.

Walk around Dorsoduro
Between stuffing our faces with toast and checking out of the hotel, we only had about an hour left in Venice - which was perfect for one last walk around our neighborhood Dorsoduro. When you walk around this part of Venice in particular, you completely get the port-city-vibe. Everyone is in a boat, regardless of whether they are transporting trash, tomatoes, the mail, or people.

Train to Florence
Our original plan was to hope that travelling via a water taxi would be affordable and we could get one to whisk us up river to the train station. Spoiler alert. They are not affordable. It would have been about 70 Euro... a far cry from the 14 Euro it would be on the public transport boats. Womp womp. However, dismay was cast aside when the boat man never came to ask us for our cash money... and the ride became free. WIN.

The Venice train station is about as attractive as a warehouse in Quincy. BUT, it is far more efficient and amazing to buy tickets, board trains, and experience train travel. Kerrianne and I managed to easily use one of the automated machines and purchase some 2nd class tickets. When we boarded the train we were convinced we were in the wrong car, it felt like we were on an Acela... bizness class no less.

Ambling South of the Arno .... and Snack Time
If you've been doing the math, you'd remember that we last significantly ate at breakfast ... and it was now about 3pm. The result was the beginning cranky downward spiral. After checking out a few of the sites South of the Arno, I suggested we take a gander at Michelangelo's Piazza. In order to get Kerrianne to climb a big hill, I knew we had to eat first.

After checking out a few places, we settled on this random place called I'Pizzacchiere. There was nothing special about the outside but man did they take care of the cranky hungry American girls. We ordered a prosciutto pizza to start... and it blew our mind. The crust was perfect and almost had this slightly salty bite to it. I'm a salt lover.

In the past few month's I've also been on a nutella kick. I'll smear it on anything. We saw this "house special dessert" that indicated it included nutella. Obviously, I had to know more. After asking for more details, we had no idea what was coming our way. There was a chance it was a cup of hot chocolate - but in turned out to be a nutella calzone. You should get one the next time you see it anywhere.

Michelangelo's Pizaza & Pontevecchio
Most of the tour books seemed to indicate that the Michelangelo's Piazza was going to be quite the trek. I knew that this would not be a winning feature in trying to sell it to Kerrianne - so I limited those details and thankfully, the books oversold the difficulty. It wasn't hard at all.

We ended up stumbling upon this Rose Garden of sorts that had all these lemon trees and a great view as well. It was a solid resting stop for the steep climb up the hill. Plus, there was an ADORBS grandfather and baby girl. The baby girl looked just like Kerrianne did as a little cherub - dangerous brown curls.

The view from the top of the hill is well worth the trek. It really puts the whole city into perspective - and how much walking we'll be doing tomorrow. I can't imagine coming to Florence and not making it here.

This Pontevecchio bridge seems to be a bit of a tourist trap ... and by that I mean, there were about a billion teenagers on it. But it had a pretty great view. Maybe you can say that for most for Florence.

After several miles of walking today, we were not in the mood to trek across the city for much of anything - so it was great that our hotel recommended a little place across the Arno for dinner called Mamma Gina. We were initially quite skeptical because it appeared empty but it was not in the least.

What we ate:

  • We've settled into a great routine of splitting an appetizer and a main course ... and after seeing them cutting the prosciutto de parma in the front of the restaurant... we needed that immediately. It was phenomenal.

  • I still am not quite sure how to describe this.... but we had "Panzerotti Mamma Gina". Some sort of pasta or ravioli wrapper? stuffed with a combo of cheeses and ham .... then simmered in some "never have anything better in your life" sauce topped with mozzarella cheese. 

After the pizza from earlier in the day with the nutella dessert and then these two dishes, my tank was nearly full. But Kerrianne had caught the attention of the waiter ... who wanted nothing more than to fill her stomach. By this point, he had already taken her temperature (held his hand to her forehead) and pinched her cheek... adorbs.
 To top it off, he "gifted us" some cream puffs smothered in chocolate. Kerrianne wanted to lick the plate. I wouldn't have judged her - except that she insisted I stop taking pictures.

Tomorrow? It seems filled with activities. We were lucky enough to get a reservation today for these two galleries / museums that get bananas busy. Little girl would have been sad face if we didn't get in. I'm hoping that we get to see the Market and perhaps sit on a bench and drink more wine. I'm getting good at those things.

Bonus Picture: The hotel we stayed at in Venice wouldn't make us afternoon espressos. Hotel Bretagna in Florence makes them 24 hours a day... one million points for Florence. This was the perfect little place to rest our feet and make a Facetime call home.

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