The best thing about taking train rides between cities is that it offers an often much needed respite from the exhaustion of travel and vacationing. Especially when you are two hot blonde (and currently single) cousins who don't allow a moment of waste. It proved to be a lovely train ride from Pisa to Firenze, and we didn't have too much trouble locating our little hotel once we arrived. Centrally located, a stone's throw from the historic Duomo, our resident dwelling for the next 2 days lived up to all the charms you would expect from a slightly more traditional city. We dragged our bags up two flights of stairs and were greeted by a rather large Italian women who was not at all well-versed in English, but more than familiar with a lifetime of cigarette smoke. She did her best to communicate, we took note of the sign above the desk that said no visitors allowed, and realized that we had definitely chosen an old-school boarding house run by a traditional Italian widow. This was made more abundantly clear when we layed eyes on our tiny little bed chamber with two itty bitty single beds and a standup shower in the bathroom that didn't always like to offer hot water. Hanging on the door were two bedsheets that we soon realized were actually towels, though how absorbant or effective they were remained to seen. Not to mention the fact that there was a lingering waft of smoke scent in the air and the jolly old woman could absolutely hear anything we said through the walls, whispered or otherwise. Still, nothing is better than a real peak into the heart of Italia and our location really couldn't be beat.
Our main event for the evening, after check-in and some time to primp, was a dinner reservation at a local restaurant. A student of mine in Paris had told me this place was affordable and possibly one of the best meals she had ever had. Sold! After wandering the streets a bit, we found the restaurant and were happily seated at an elegant looking table. We perused the menu for a spell, trying to figure out how on earth we would choose from all of the decadent looking offerings. Eventually, we decided to share several courses, allowing us the best opportunity to taste as much as we possibly could. Now, in Italy it seems that pretty much every restaurant demands a cover or table charge. I am not sure the reasoning for such a custom, though most places seem to make use of this fee by providing aperatifs or small appetizers, digestifs, or bread, etc... At this restaurant, all seemed to be included. While we waited for our bottle of wine we were each given a complimentary glass of prosecco, a basket of bread, and a plate of the most heavenly fried puffs of dough that I have ever had. For our first course, we ordered a sampler of charcuterie with various cheeses and spreads. We then had a pear and ricotta ravioli served with shredded almonds and chives. For our main course, we chose a pork dish that was roasted and crisped to perfection, accompanied by a literal mound of roasted potatoes. No no don't worry, we certainly weren't done there. Our charming and flirtatious Italian waiter coaxed us into the traditional tiramisu for dessert, with which we also received a complimentary limoncello and plate of biscotti. This particular waiter had grown very fond of my hot blonde cousin throughout our meal and managed to slip her a business card when I frolicked off to the bathroom. He was, however, our first introduction to the aggressive Italian spirit, making no secret of his desires, wants, needs, intentions and overall seductive flare. Too bad he couldn't play by the rules of these two hot blonde cousins who have long since established their travel laws of life and love. Besides which we had an early start the following morning and were very thoroughly enveloped in food coma by the time we found our beds that night. I am pretty sure the Italian landlordress was probably hiding behind our door ready to wave her holy cross if we considered any shenanigans anyway.