No matter how hard it was to get up at 6 am after yesterday's adventures, we had no choice. I had to fly home to Moscow soon, so I felt the need to take advantage of my last day in Italy instead of just sleeping at the hotel. Arriving at the station, I bought a ticket for Milan Express; it covers the distance between business and state Italian capitals in three hours at a speed of over 124 miles (200 km) per hour. The Milan Express makes only two or three stops on the way, the first of which is
. So if you want to cover a fairly long distance between the cities in one and a half hours, the Milan Express is exactly what you need!
Having just had an excellent nap in almost complete silence in our car on the train, racing at breakneck speed, I was awakened by a loud announcement: "Dear passengers - Florence Santa Maria Novella". Time to go. Originally, I planned to see two cities - Florence, of course and the neighboring city of Pisa to see the famous leaning tower. According to my plan, I bought a ticket at the train station to Pisa and, looking through the schedule, I went with a skip in my step to the train standing on the side track - here is the glorious train!
It looks clumsy but it will take me straight to Pisa and, I suppose, it's interesting to travel through Italy on the Milan Express!
Confidently taking a seat at the window, I gazed at the glorious views of the retro, diesel fueled car. It was made by the Florentine car manufacturer named after the 50th anniversary of Silvio Berlusconi.
However, I was plagued by vague doubts - there was 5 minutes left before departure, so to ease my mind, I asked an old lady sitting near me if I was on the right train to go to Pisa? The answer was unexpected and without an expertise in translation, sounded like: "Get real, darling, - what Pisa!? This train goes to the remote village of the Florence County, and there is no return train for today". I jumped out of the car with the happy realization that in another five minutes, instead of Pisa, I would end up in a distant place and risk being late for my flight the next day! Yes, I certainly oriented myself abroad without any problems but sometimes it's better to be careful and check yourself - because overconfidence can have negative consequences.
However, the desire to visit the famous city was still strong - ah here it is, the train to Pisa, standing on the nearby track. Not the Milan Express, of course, but also not the retro motor of the Florentine car-building plant.
I took my seat in the car and after greeting Japanese tourists sitting in front of me, I began to think on my own.
- Well, I'll leave on this train to Pisa - an hour and a half to get there, an hour and a half to get back and an hour there; I won't visit anything except the tower and I won't have time to see anything in Florence. In the evening I have to go back to Rome, and there won't be a lot of time left before departure. Isn't it better to have a slow walk through Florence, because it's so beautiful, cool and interesting here?
- But you won't visit Pisa, and what about your enthusiasm!?
- But there is such a thing as pleasure - Will you be happy from all this activity?
- Hardly, but you won't visit Pisa...
- But Pisa is not the only pebble on the beach: I haven't visited a lot of places - for example, next time I should go to the North of Italy - Milan, Venice... And it would be nice to visit Naples. All the same, it's impossible to the whole of Italy at one time.
- So why are you sitting here!? Better run to the exit, before the door is closed!
The whistle of the station duty officer screamed and the train doors shut, frightening the Japanese tourists out of their senses, causing them to forget to take out their cameras. Moments before, a suspicious subject took off from the car like a shot from a gun. Hooray! Three cheers for
Moving away from such excruciating mental agony, with a cup of cappuccino, I became acquainted with the city. Florence is a wonderful city with several beautiful and historic monuments, paintings, sculptures of the Renaissance and other time throughout history. The masterpieces of Leonardo, Michelangelo and Raphael are exhibited here, as well as the work of Ponte Vecchio. It is so beautiful!
Vecchio, the legendary medieval bridge-street, where dozens of shops and workshops have been in operation since ancient times.
Like any bridge, the Ponte Vecchio is a strategic object, and it is protected by hardened squads of Italian police officers.
This monument is situated on the bridge.
In reality, this looks like a bridge-street but it's impossible to tell!
And after a walk along the embankments of Florence, I did not want to dive into the vain tourist atmosphere, typical in any major city. So I visited the parks and estates, located on the hills on the opposite bank of the river.
The slopes of the hill are surrounded by ancient walls. Lush, spring greenery and flowers are everywhere!
This beautiful view can be seen from the territory of the park:
How pleasant it was to walk here under the shade of the chestnut trees, enjoying the parks and flowering gardens, relaxing from the bustle of the city.