Bill had very cleverly used hotels.com prior to the trip to select the Hotel Cosimo di Medici as our place to stay in Florence. It wasn't far from the Duomo, and even better, it was basically across the street from the Florence train station.
Patty and Cindy are confident Bill's advance-purchase train tickets to Venice will actually get us there.
Cindy poses in front a a train. Is this the one? We think so, maybe.
But we can't go anywhere until Bill figures out how to validate our 3-passenger ticket. We've read in Fodor's that you have to stamp your ticket before you get on the train and we've asked the nice lady at the hotel's front desk about it and she's assured us it's easy as pie, but if you've never validated a ticket in an Italian train station, what do you do? Well, you see those things that look like pay phones under white Darth Vader hats over there? Well, they're pay phones and they're not what you're looking for. So, you see those things over on the left that look like big important electronic things with television screens? Well, they're big important electronic things and they're not what you're looking for either. But see where that guy is standing on the far right of the picture. Watch him ... watch ... he puts a ticket into a slot and there's a clunk and he walks off with a satisfied look on his face. Could this be what's Bill's looking for?
What to do, what to do? Bill sticks that one and only ticket in the slot on the yellow box and crosses his fingers and "clunk" and ....
Success! We're validated.
OK, maybe not the most flattering angle, but there's a point to this. The luggage racks on Italian trains are almost just about barely sorta as big as overhead bins on airplanes, but not quite. Every one of our bags fit, but only if we used crowbars.
All bags safely stowed in overhead bins and seatback tables in their upright and locked positions. On a train.
Bill is still marveling that he figured out how to use the yellow validation machine.
First class on an Italian train is almost as nice as the Acela Express.
Suddenly we see only water outside. Must be getting close to Venice.
Yep, there it is. Venice. Not a single automobile within the city limits, or so they say. There'll probably be a gondola or two, though.