Today was another early one for us. We ate breakfast, grabbed our luggage, and were headed to the train station by 7:45. We boarded our first train of the day, stored our luggage, and mostly napped for the hour and a half ride to Florence. Once there, we retrieved our luggage and brought it to a storage facility to keep it there for the day. It was only a couple blocks from the train station to our first stop, the Galleria dell ‘Accademia. The most famous piece held in this museum, and the one it was actually built to hold is Michelangelo’s David. The statue was very impressive, much taller and bigger than I had imagined. There were several other Michelangelo sculptures In the museum, as well as a number of beautiful paintings and sculptures.

After finishing at that museum, we took another short walk to the Duomo, a beautiful cathedral in the middle of Florence. We grabbed lunch in the area before exploring the cathedral. The cathedral was massive and beautifully decorated on the outside, with green and reddish stones and statues in little niches. In contrast it was very simply decorated on the inside, but was still very beautiful. There was a huge clock on the inside that I absolutely loved.

After that we were free to explore! Aaron and I broke off from the group to go explore a couple of little shops in the area. The others had gone to the nearby leather market, and with some help from a map, we joined them eventually. The leather market was fun, but not what I was expecting! It was a long, long street lined on both sides by vendors selling leather bags, coats, purses, belts, and all kinds of other clothing and accessories. It was entertaining to walk around and haggle with the vendors, but I didn’t find anything I couldn’t live without. At 4:30 we met at the train station to get our luggage out of storage and grab supper before our 5:30 train to Padua.

The train ride was just over an hour and went by smoothly. When we reached Padua we had about half an hour to spend before our overnight train to Paris came in. We grabbed snacks and drinks at a small convenience store and waited for what we hoped would be a nice, clean, comfortable train. As soon as we stepped into the couchette those hopes were abandoned. It is much smaller than the last, and seems much dirtier. We stored our luggage and are trying to get as comfortable as possible. The beds are much less comfy than the last couchette we had, there is a blue light on the ceiling that we can’t tun off, and neither the top or middle bunks have railings to keep us from rolling off.

We are trying to stay optimistic, hoping that we will get a good night of sleep. I think we will all be very excited to reach Paris and get off this train. Goodbye Italy! I will miss your warm temperatures, beautiful monuments and structures, and amazing gelato, but not so much your rude people or obnoxious vendors.

Talk to you soon!