home page

about us
       about us

see The Beast
       see the beast

our photo album
       our photo album

explore tucson
       explore tucson

other links

email us
       email us

sign our guest book
       sign our guest book

home page


Our Magnificent Journey
Chapter 9
Europe 2007
London, Tuscany, Paris


Day 7
Rome - Florence

We slept for about 12 hours, due to the miles we had walked yesterday. It seemed like we walked at least two or 3 miles just going through the Vatican Museum.


We showered, dressed, and walked around the corner to Comparone Ristorante for cappuccino and croissants. The day, once again, is sunny and cool in the shade. We are surprised at how warm it is mid-afternoon in Rome in early October.

The Tiber

Once again, we take notice of the differences in lifestyle here as compared to the U. S. People take time here - time to visit with each other, time to relax. The squares and parks and corners are dotted with people engaged in animated discussion. Hand gesticulation is prevalent. With the exception of the ever-present speeding gendarmerie with their high-low sirens (perfect example of the Doppler effect) and the hoards of motorscooters and tiny automobiles rushing down streets, life seems to run at a slower pace here.


Note: Rome is covered in graffiti and cigarette butts. We are surprised that the Romans tolerate this.


We then walked across the Tiber and window-shopped until we came to Campo de Fiori, a square lined with dozens of stalls where vendors sold fruits, vegetables, cheeses, breads, scarves and flowers. The market is open daily and many people were out enjoying the sunshine.


At Campo del Fiore

We then walked back to the hotel, the Arco de Lauro, to collect our bags and say goodbye to our gracious concierge Daniella. We visited with her until our cab came to take us to the train station. We very much enjoyed our stay at the Arco del Lauro - very clean, quiet and comfortable and located in an ancient quiet corner of the Trastevere, a block from the Tiber River . We highly recommend it and would definitely stay there again.


After a five minute cab ride to the large bustling Roma Termini train station, we purchased tickets for the hour and a half ride to Firenze. Arrivederci Roma!


The Traveling Lehrmans are in our element. We fell in love with Europe, the trains, the culture, the food, the people, the art, the ambience, over 30 years ago. We learned long ago how to navigate and maneuver through the often-confusing train systems. Traveling through Europe is not for everyone, but we love it and are always so glad to be back. This is definitely our Disneyland . It can be frustrating, but with a bit of patience and respect, it can be a most rewarding experience.


The express train pulled slowly out of Rome (lots of graffiti and garbage as we passed through the outskirts) and wound its way into the Italian countryside with its rolling green hills, winding rivers, vineyards and postcard perfect villages.

On the train to Firenze

Note: we were amazed at the graffiti, trash and cigarette butts that we saw everywhere in beautiful, ancient Roma. Everyone in Rome smokes it seems. I was surprised at the Romans do not take better care of their precious, important and beautiful city.


Note: the best drivers on this planet are in Rome, London and Paris.


There had been a Caravaggio exhibit at the train station, but we did not have time to view it, which was a shame for me since Caravaggio, the "bad boy" of Italian Renaissance painting, has long been one of my favorites due to his unorthodox style and his ability to manipulate light and shadow.


We enjoyed a relaxing train ride to Firenze . Arrived at 3 p.m. and quickly found Hotel Romagna and reunited with our dear friend Eleni who we befriended when we stayed at this hotel in 1999. We have kept in touch through email and phone calls over the last eight years. It was wonderful to see her again and she is even more beautiful than we remembered. We visited with our dear friend for a while, then settled into the room. The hotel is 2-star and small but clean and located near the Duomo, the Market and the train station. It is so terrific to be back. It feels like we never left this place.


Our room at Hotel Romagna
Welcome back to Firenze!

We bid ciao to Eleni then went out to bask in the wonders of Firenze.


The Duomo

Stopped for spaghetti with lobster near the hotel, then wandered through the many shops selling leather at the famous leather market. I, being in need of a decent leather jacket, tried on several in countless shops, but nothing jumped out at me. We gave up on leather for the day, then wandered near the Accademie, where the David is located, to say "Hi" to Eleni's daughter Francesca, who works across the street at a café. We introduced ourselves and sat and had cappuccinos.

Beautiful Francesca with David

After chatting with Francesca we window shopped our way to familiar Piazza Signorini. We sat at a café and enjoyed vino rosso and world-class people watching just as we did in 1999.

At Piazza Signorini
At Piazza Signorini

The café we are sitting at is directly west of the tall Palazzo Vecchio, and is where we sat and sipped wine each evening in 1999. As a waiter served us, I was shocked to recognize him as the same waiter who served us eight years ago. I asked how long he had worked at this café and he told us 31 years. He kindly kidded that he remembered us but we knew that was unlikely and that he was being polite. But he comped us some special treats, which was a nice gesture.

Love at Piazza Signorini

After relaxing in the Piazza Signorini, we walked to the river Arno, south a block to the ancient Ponte Vecchio, then across Piazza Della Republica, then continued to Via Panzani until we arrived back at the Hotel Romagna. Another wonderful day full of adventure, but we wanted to rest up for tomorrow, so at 9 p.m. we were in bed. We watched the American TV show Criminal Minds dubbed in Italian until we fell asleep with the sounds of the street below us.


Previous Day

Next Day

 copyright 1998 / david and carol lehrman / all rights reserved
email david@davidandcarol.com