Rome for A Day

By the time we left Paris we were exhausted. We took the train from Paris to Bad Kissingen, where my Tante Hilla and Onkel Gerd picked us up. Bad Kissingen is basically a spa town. Generally, older folks go there for restorative cures and there are mineral waters from underground that cure various ailments. It's a beautiful area with lots of green hills and places for walking. We took one day trip to Bayreuth, (pronounced: by-royt) and visited Richard Wagner's house and walked around the Festspiel house which happened to be closed that day.

We mainly relaxed and had the opportunity to try some interesting foods. Since Kissingen is where people go to restore their health, you might assume that the cuisine would be healthful and restorative too. Well, not in the places we went. On more than one occasion I saw huge portions of processed meat product, fried and then served with two fried eggs on top. yikes! At Hilla's we had the same intense hosting. Hilla even did all our laundry and ironed our underwear. Really!


Well, I'm running out of steam on writing about this stuff, so I'm going to keep it brief. We took a train from Bad Kissingen to Munich and then in Munich hopped on an Italian train to take us overnight to Florence. The night train was quite a contrast to the wonderful clean, service oriented trains that the Germans run. Also our train passes were first class and the night train was 2nd class because the first class sleeping arrangements were spendy. I am told that in Italy, the trains are highly subsidized with the reasoning that everyone should be able to afford to travel.

Tante Hilla

In sum, the night train was very loud and stinky, with the most frightening bathroom you've ever seen. It had no TP, no toilet seat and the light didn't work. Talk about challenge. I found it almost impossible to sleep. We arrived in Florence at 5:30am when it was still dark and it turned out at the inconvenient train station out in the boonies. We eventually took a local train to the main station, easily found our hotel which was kind enough to permit us to check in at 8:30am and we immediately went to sleep.

In Florence we went to many more museums, saw amazing art -- wonderful stuff including Michelangelo, Donatello and various pieces by the other two Ninja turtles. We ate amazing food and of course, gelato. From Florence we did a side trip to the Tuscan countryside where we met some family members who were renting a house. We had an fabulous dinner out there and then the next day we returned to Florence and then took our last train ride to Rome. We had about 6 hours to "do" Rome but we managed to spend quite a bit of time in St. Peter's basilica and then went to the coliseum and walked around the city. There is an excellent article in the July 97 National Geographic about Rome which I started reading when I got back. While I was in Italy I couldn't imagine hurrying back, but now I'm reading all this history and wishing we'd had more time in Rome. Maybe next time.

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Posted: 4.24.99