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Europe: Italy Train to Florence - March 19

The 19th we traveled to Florence. So pulling our wheeled carry on through cobbly too narrow streets for twenty minutes to get to the Roma Termini. It's a given that the closer you get to the central train station the dodgier it gets. My guess is nobody wants to live near a rumbling train filled with annoying tourists so the real estate is dirt cheap. Maybe it's also a way to inoculate visitors with the maximum dodginess just as they come off the train, everything else will be a breeze?

In any case, we take the hike, get to the train station, and get to the platform where the train is leaving from, which, if I'm honest, is at least as far as we had to walk from our VRBO to the station.Warnings and stereotypes aside, we haven't really experienced too many late trains. But maybe it being off season plus our easy going Canadian nature seems to blur that a bit. 

Another 20 minute walk from the station to our Florence VRBO. It's much like Rome: narrow streets, narrower sidewalks, cars that assume you have the keenest sense of hearing (the ER rooms will be overflowing when the silent electric motor becomes more prevalant), walls that block out most of the sun, amazing old architecture and art every few blocks, usually ignored at best.

We make to our VRBO, and it's a nice, healthy, Oh You Want Blisters On Your Calluses On Your Blisters walk up 4 flights of stairs. Except it's not 4 flights, since every floor has extremely high ceilings. As has been the usualy in Italy, the stair way is twisting, and brutal and you can almost picture allied troops storming up these steps as Mussolini's troops throw down potato mashers. I mean it's quaint, who doesn't love an extra burst of exhaustion at the end of their journey?

I'm of a standard husky middle aged north american build. A waitress, when confused about who had ordered extra cheese at my table, would immediately (and correctly) assume it was me. Euro cut anything is an absolute no go for me. So there is a beauty, a delightful history filled delight in our VRBO. But it's not my sized. I have turn around carefully, take keys off of key handles carefully, breathe carefully. 

The front door has a unique quirk where it cannot be opened without a very middle aged era looking key. And with some difficulty. I'm sure it's breaking some sort of fire law with that but you know this door is probably older than democracy so it's just left well enough alone. 

The bookshelves are filled with high brow and low brow books, of varying languages. Europe constatnly reminds me of how uneducated I am, most people speak at leaast two languages. At least the British have delightful accents that could land them a job anywhere in North America doing pretty much anything, well, because they are delightful accents. I sound like the 10 o'clock local news talking about a very interesting (it is not) quirk in Sardinia's monetary policy. 

Water update : still not up to my imaginary standards. Italy, have more pristine glacier water fed directly into taps please.

For dinner we learn about trattorias, which are more chill casual places that actual Italians eat, or so the internet tells us. So far, with inflation, and the general tipping policy in the Vancouver area (18% is about minimum, 20% is usual), the cost to eat out in the UK and Italy is about that of home. So at on that front it hasn't been too bad. And being of a certain age and husky disposition, I have to watch my meat intake, but, while here, I had to try the Florentine Biftek. Which is just an absolutely massive slab of beef cooked rare. 

Historically this dish was developed in the 18th century to cater to English tastes, but, which time and enough foggy memory it has installed itself as a Very Italian Thing. Or at the very least a very Florentine thing. We had the minimum they could serve, or rather, I did, 800g, which is.. uhm.. 2 pounds or so of rare beef. It was excellent. My future cardio grams will not thank me, my general gut health has gone to hell, and my overall huskiness has put in some stores, shall we say.

I shared vast portions with my family. Specifically, with Owl Jr. Who, like his father, has taken a liking to meat in any and all forms. There is something beyond luxury about steak at that level. The economic cost (40 euro/kg), the ecological cost, the health cost. It's just costs all the way up and down, but we enjoyed it anyways. When in Florence, do as 18th century British do, as the saying goes.

Tomorrow, more walking!


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