The Adventures of the Halstead Fam!

Escaping Florence

No, not because there is anything wrong with Florence. Actually, quite the opposite! Florence is situated in Tuscany, a region well known for landscapes, wine production, and fantastic olive oil. Our trip so far has had us in bigger cities (a limitation of using nearly 100% train transportation), so we were due to get out of town for some fresh air anyway.


This isn't just a nice picture of us! Check out the hill town in the background!

So… There were two tour options. One clearly more aimed at the more aged traveler (similar to what I used to give in Alaska), and one clearly aimed at backpacking youngsters. There was a significant price difference, and we took a chance on the less expensive option (the backpacker one).

Thankfully, our worst fear that this would be a college-student oriented “spring break, woo hooo!” style trip did not come true. We’re not here for that – we just want to see some crazy old olive trees and hilltop villas!

The trip was great! We walked back across town (today was our smallest step count, ringing in at just over 17,000!), and loaded up into a 10 passenger van. Perfect size. Our guide Emanuele was a Florence local and loves this place. He was great and spoke incredible English, with a slight British accent.

As he whisked us out of the city, we were able to relax and see some incredible landscapes. We went to a few different spots with great views and Tuscan appetizers. We were so full from prosciutto, bruschetta, cheeses, and other Tuscan treats that we were only able to share a piece of pizza in Piazza Santa Croce after walking home.


What a great day! To top it off, we went to the train station to see if I was booking our next tickets correctly on the rail pass website. I was not. The ticket agent saved us about $150 by using a “partial pass” to get us into Switzerland.

(Side note to those thinking about this adventure: we bought a 5 day eurail select pass covering France and Italy. The tricky thing about booking to Switzerland is figuring out how much of our Italy pass is in play and how much we owe)

So, we get to visit the Duomo tomorrow! After that, we’ll train to Milan, then to Spiez, Switzerland, then to Interlaken! Hooray!

(Reminder to myself: at some point, I should cost out to see if the rail pass saved us any money and share that. The flexibility was great, but on the same trip again I would buy just an Italy pass or Italy/Switzerland)