Posts Tagged ‘train’

Lost In Florence

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

Going to Florence during Holy Week, during Spring break is like going to Disneyland on their busiest day. INSANE.

We took the train (smart) and headed to all the major museums that are CLOSED mondays!!! Tried to share one of the most awesome restaurants views for lunch only to be discouraged by the $30 cover charge (that means for linens) and higher prices.  

Lost each other, lost our tempers, lost our minds.  Gelato is almost the universal panacea!

Made our 5 minute window train-change in the nick of time as it was the last one of the day. But all wasn’t a loss: bought 10 more scarves at the San Lorenzo Marketplace  🙂

Four In A Shoebox

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

The Kallas’ and Morales’ ventured north by overnight train to St. Petersburg — a 400 miles, 8  hour excursion on a train with sleeping cars. You’re  placed 4 to a berth (so we were glad to be with folk we knew) and the minimal bathroom was at the end of the coach. I would generously estimate the space as 5′ x 7′ and you folded the 4 beds down from the wall. We hysterically undressed in the dark on our bunks as we chugged along,with our 5 suitcases tucked under our lower beds and also on the floor. Steve got a lower bunk for his mid-night runs to the bathroom!


Monday, April 20th, 2009
All aboard!!

All aboard!!


We conquered train travel by rolling down the hill from our apartment to the Buonconvento Station and catching a 2 hour train directly to Florence!

It was a little intimidating for at first, but along with the Jensons, we caught the train so that we could get closer to town and got ourselves to the Duomo. We found it amazing on the outside, but a real bore on the inside.

Steve and I continue to pray inside each church we visit, for a European revival of faith. Inside each church we also light a candle for my little church back home. All of the churches still have their altars banked with Easter flowers and it is very pretty!

We had made a reservation at the Uffiziand we were there at our appointed hour of 13:15 (they use a twenty-four hour clock everywhere). I think we managed to see what we wanted to see: “Birth of Venus” by Botticelli and a painting by pontevecchiojewlryLeonardo di Vinci. The copy of the statue of “David” by Michelangelo in the public square was good enough, rather than face more lines to see the original.

We headed to the Ponte Vecchio (“old bridge”) which is covered with jewelry stores! We consumed more gelato, tried cannoli, and had a waffle sandwich (fudge sauce, gelato and whipped cream) that was to die for. Hey, Italy isn’t only about wine and pasta! We got back to the train, and shared a copy of USA Today while we bounced back home after an amazing day.


Thursday, April 16th, 2009

I would take the outside of the duomo in Florence over the inside…disappointment.   The Uffizi museum was ok, but crowded with easter breakers.  The train was the way to go.

More later.

Easter Italian Style

Sunday, April 12th, 2009

Buon Pasqua!

What an Easter!  The taunting task of 4 services was not the walk in the park I thought I might be.  The tension of liturgy coming at me in Italian, in two different venues, sequestered in an organ loft that was lofty, and organs that had been around for over century.  Feeling the nudge to offer my services was my easter giving, it came back at me as maybe a way to fill the void of not being at Lake San Marcos – they have so much been in my heart this week.

The Maundy service was tense being the first one on the antique organ in the Duomo, but then Saturday night’s service started at 10 pm and didn’t’ end until midnight!

Sunday at 9 and 11 am were filled to capacity with easily 40 plus standing at the first, and maybe 100 standing beside the packed pews at the 11am.

wildboarThe town is bursting with tourists and family that have come back home to visit for the holiday.  We felt very lucky to find room at a restaurant we wanted to try after the first one was all booked.  What a meal!  I had homemade ravioli in burro as primo piatta, Steve had  zuppa di funghi, Mary and Ron had crostini .  For our secundo piatta,  Ron and I had roast chicken in brunello sauce and sauteed spinach with lemon, Steve had cingheri stew (wild boar).  Mary had boar in padetti noodles and a side of white beans.  A bottle of Rosso di Montalcino topped it off. 

gelattoWhile walking off our meal, several were tempted to have a gelato chaser to a great meal!

We are so enjoying having Ron and Mary Jenson as travel buddies!  So brave and so far to travel, but they immediately sensed how special this place is.

Tomorrow we will drive to Sienna and on Tuesday we will have a private tour of wineries and points of interest (we hired a private driver).  On Wednesday we will attempt an early train to Florence .  Thursday will be a quiet day, and then return Ron and Mary to Pisa for their flight home. 

They have been such support this weekend with all the organ stuff.

Our hearts have held our families close today as we celebrate loving you, and our Risen Lord from so far away. 

We have just finished a meal of bread, cheese with honey, bruschett, and Italian pastries, and, oh yes, more wine.  We were sitting around a coffee table listening to jazz and counting our blessings.  You are all at the top of my list!