Sunday, February 16, 2020

Venice: Stuck on the Hilton Stucky

We’re back in Venice yet again, but the first time for Carnival. We’ve already spotted one of the youngest celebrants.

Our train journey was smooth and effortless.

Once there, we bought three-day passes on ACTV and rode the vaporetto to Palanca, huffing and puffing our cheese over two bridges to arrive at the Hilton Molino Stucky.

We’re so fortunate to note that this is, at minimum, our fifth stay. Three previous have been with grandchildren in July or August. Sadly, our suite upgrades occur when we’re by ourselves in off-season.

We’re currently enjoying the Executive Lounge, and will wander somewhere for dinner in awhile.

The five grandchildren with whom we’ve stayed here might be surprised to know our fondest memories of Venice are of them. 

Grandparents, on the other hand, wouldn’t be surprised at all.

Firenze to Venezia on Italo Treno

We say farewell to the Hilton Garden Inn Florence Novoli after an excellent breakfast and walk about a hundred yards to the tram stop.

We board a busy Sunday morning tram and ride the 10 minutes to the train station stop.

Florence is a major station, so the trains stop at “dead end” platforms.

The big sign only show the departure platform about 10 minutes in advance, so we’re among many perusing 
It with interest.

Finally em we read that 8910 departs on Binario 10 and we arrive just as the train does.

The carriage locations are also clearly marked, and we board and find our seats with no trouble.

This may be our first trip on Italo Treno, and so far it seems just like Trenitalia. We’re due to arrive in Venice at 2:55PM, a pleasant 2 hour 20 minute ride.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Out and About in Florence

Dining Friday night at Dispensa Verace...

Saturday post-Uffizi lunch at Trattoria da Benvenuto...

A few random views of Florence...

Visiting the Uffizi Gallery

It was a very crowded Saturday (why couldn’t these people be outside enjoying the sunshine?), but we had bought tickets in advance and skipped at least some of the line to enter.

The artwork on display is, in a word, magnificent.

The Birth of Venus, by Botticelli,  also called Venus on the Half Shell.

We catch a great view of the Ponte Vecchii from the gallery.

Michelangelo, Leonardo, Titian, Holbein, Rembrandt among many others - amazing!

Minor Train Strain from Parma to Bologna to Florence

We watch a couple of freight trains go by, as we await our tardy train, including one with a bunch of vans that must be a special order.

When we board our first train, we can’t reach our car, so we stand at one end with our cheese-laden bags for an hour.

The same happens on our second train, but it’s only a half hour, and we splurge on a taxi ride to our hotel, rather than taking the tram.

The Hilton Garden Inn proves to be a lovely place to stay for two nights.

And yet another bathtub for Kathy to enjoy.

Parma’s Third Claim to Culinary Fame

Our third and final stop of the morning with Laura Panella was a modern meat producing facility.

While we can’t import meat products into the US (Brian was secretly relieved), we enjoyed the tour as well as the delicious lunch served in their attached restaurant and retail sales shop.

Prosciutto, Parma Ham, and Culatello come out of this aging  room.

What emerges is the pride of Parma.

Lunch was excellent, and the antipasto featured the local products.

The sparkling wine and surprise pasta course made us ready for a nap.

But first it was a drive to the Parma train station, a fond farewell to Laura Panella, and a train to catch to Bologna, and from there to Firenze (Florence to us).