This is a trip that was riddled with mishaps of all sorts ranging from my daughter losing all her cards the day before departure to one train blooper after another. The decision to take Champagne along for the trip was relatively last minute, although I booked everything pet-friendly just in case I did decide to take her. it is easier to book a pet-friendly hotel and not show up with one than the other way around.
Berlin – Munich
Champagne was pleasantly surprised to be given an early morning bath yesterday, and she knows that when such things occur, it can only mean a road trip! So there was absolutely no complaint from her regarding the shower at 6;00am followed by the full grooming. I mean, this diva ended it with Bvlgary perfume… and then she was ready to enter her travel backpack.
On the way to the station we found out that our train had been cancelled, and the substitute train was so full that it would have basically meant standing room only from Berlin to Munich and there was no way I was going to put up with that. Customer service re-booked us on a train two hours later, and we chilled out in the station in the meantime. We made it to Munich eventually, and Champagne began to relax, enjoying the exclusive time with me again and not having to share the attention and limelight with Cherry and Lolita.
The very very brief exploration of Munich that I had with my daughter was limited to a short shopping spree and a Bavarian dinner at the Augustiner, a brewery dating back to 1391. The cat was of course along for the adventure and sat quietly in her backpack and watched people, and enjoyed the attention she received in return. The noisy street where our hotel was located kept Champagne and me awake for most of the night though it bothered her less and she was perfectly happy to watch the nightlife below.
After much ado and a gorgeous train ride from Munich to Bologna Central Train Station through some of the most gorgeous Austrian and Tirolean countryside, Champagne bounced around through the huge and daunting Bologna Central Station. The maze of levels and tracks overwhelmed everyone, and our platform for the connecting train to Florence was located in the second subterranean level. If you have little time and are in Bologna for the first time, make sure you have your running shoes on.
If you are on a tour through Italy, the train system is definitely the way to travel if you don’t have the luxury of driving through the spectacular landscape. The trains are generally reliable, and will get to where you need to go at some point. Punctual they are not, but always eventful and entertaining. Nevertheless, for one stretch I highly recommend you travel by the Frecciarossa line, the high speed bullet train (the name means red arrow). It is definitely worth the experience and will leave the German ICE trains looking like old steam engines.
The train ride from Bologna to Florence usually takes over an hour and 40 minutes. The Frecciarossa did it in under 45 because it was running behind schedule. Your ears will confirm the speed.
There is a lot happening in the city at the moment. The Fashion Week just ended and the Rock Festival just started. Yesterday was the Guns and Roses Day, which explained the bunch of loud fans travelling to Florence from Munich! The lines at the train station are long, and the taxi drivers short-tempered but always charming and bubbly.
Champagne has charmed the socks off just about everyone who noticed her in her backpack, and the staff at the restaurant last night was all over her! While walking back to my hotel, I crossed the road with a huge Chinese tourist group and got stuck in the middle. I don’t speak Chinese but suddenly the whole group flashed their mobile phones and camera at us!
Stay tuned for more adventures!