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Published: August 17th 2014
On the train from Torino to Firenze.
Left Paris on a cool morning and got on our train - great seats and very comfortable. We spent about 5 hours on the first train to Torino - didn't feel that long at all - lots of great scenery to look at, chat and reading etc. However, when the conductor came around to check the tickets, one guy apparently boarded the train without a ticket. He refused to move and there was a scuffle between the two of them. People nearby scattered and were yelling at this guy.... in either French or Italian. At the next stop the conductor told him to get off and he absolutely refused to. Down the track, some casually dressed but armed police came on board - about 6 of them and tried to talk to this guy but he kept on pointing at the seat. We assumed that he was saying that the seat was free so he was using it - that appeared to be his case! Eventually, he left with them - not sure what happened but he came back alone - perhaps he had the option of paying.... we'll never know. Kept everyone amused for some
The train - how specky is that?!
We arrived in Torino where we had a break and had lunch. Wow what a railway station - never seen anything like this one. All glass and windows and everything set up beautifully. You have the coach number on your ticket and the coaches are listed on screens so you know which one to wait at and get on. the station was huge and very modern - Australia could learn some lessons from the way the railways are run here. The train travelled at 298 kpms!! We even had a glass of champagne on our trip. We got onto our train for Florence (Firenze) for about 3 hours I think it was and it was again very scenic and fast. Before we knew it we had arrived in Florence and caught a taxi to Pensione Bencistà up on the hill overlooking Florence - it's difficult to describe the magnificent scenery even as I write this. Bencistà , back in the 14th Century belonged to a famous Florentine named Bartomoleo di Niccolo and was eventually sold in 1542 to a supporter of the Medici family and later it was a convent for about 150 years and eventually came into
the Simoni family who converted it into a guest house and built extensions over time. A good friend of ours in Adelaide stayed here earlier this year which is how we came to know about it. Dinner is served each night with either a homemade soup or pasta, then everyone has the same meal, pork and vegetables one night and last night it was roast beef and a dessert is offered - just the one or fruit. We opted for the fruit the first night and ended up with a huge basket of fruit! Language was a bit of a barrier there.... we though they said fruit tart. Breakfast is included and lunch is available if required.
We ventured into Florence yesterday and had a look around at the attractions and it's an amazing place - some of the older buildings are in the process of being renovated. It is very relaxing here and we love the weather, the outlook and general ambience here. We did a wee bit of shopping - some great sales on here and yes there is an outlet for exclusive designers but don't think we'll go there as we're limited by the luggage weight.
John out the front of Pensione Bencista
Oh, forgot to mention the great spa here - we jumped in when we got back from town - it was very nice and so was the steam room.... don't think we lost any weight though. Europeans eat a lot of bread, fromage, jambon and drink wine. They have a thing about Nutella too - they have it on bread, crepes, gelato etc. crazy people. A relaxing day today although John is keen to go somewhere.... we are off to Cinque Terra & San Giminano, Siena & Chianti for the next two days. Loving the Tuscan sun!!!
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