day 7 – Florence and the overnight train to Paris

Approaching the Duomo.

Approaching the Duomo.

After leaving Venice in the morning, we arrive in Florence around 1:00pm. It’s a major disappointment that this being a Monday, all of the state affiliated, i.e. most, museums are closed – a major miscalculation IMHO. After all, Florence and the Medicis merely kicked off the Italian Renaissance and was home to the likes of Leonardo da Vinci. But, at least we are able to witness, among other things, the Duomo Cathedral (technically that’s redundant), Florence’s dominating landmark and symbol of the interleaved and inseparable religion and power of the era.

The name synonymous with Florence is Medici. The Medicis were the first to expand their power and influence mainly by commerce and not through war and marriage (or is that the same thing?). Their influence is still felt today. College accounting majors study the double-entry bookkeeping system not knowing that the technique was developed and promulgated by the medieval political powers, the Medicis.

We board the night train to Paris: this is not my first time on an overnight train in Europe, but it’s always an adventure. You roll the dice and find out who your compartment mates are. Joe from the tour is one of my mates and the other four are wary Algerians who warm up a bit when I try out my kindergarten French. They live in Paris and have gone to Florence for a day of shopping. Compared to a “normal” night’s sleep at home, my overnight sleep is shaky at best; however, compared to the typical overnight train experience, it’s four star.

~ Ken