Finished work

Thursday and having attended the fashion tradeshow (Italian men wearing short, tight trousers, Panama hats and no socks), we went out for dinner with two of the Italian team. 

Perched on a tiny roof terrace, the view was spectacular with the rooftops of Florence surrounding us. The sun gradually set and the lights of the city illuminated the many domes and spires 
The food wasn’t great, I have to admit and Florentine food hasn’t compared well to other Italian gastronomic adventures but the setting was lovely and the evening was pleasant. 
At the end of the evening I bid farewell to my senior colleague and skipped off to my hotel ready for my next adventure as I was heading to Nice by train, something I’d never done. 

Funghi and fungi

It was an extravaganza of fungi. 

I decided to go with a mushroom theme for dinner and started with a mushroom flan. Presentation was worrying as it resembled the ever-memorable dog sick on polenta Venice circa 2012 but the taste was surprisingly good. Thankfully. 

It was followed with pappardelle and porcini mushrooms. It was ok but I’m still waiting for pasta with pesto, my favourite Italian meal. 
There’s a fair chance I may have eaten too much today and may be dieting and detoxing next week but there’s no point starting now. I’ve got a team dinner to get through tomorrow and then I’m off to the South of France for a weekend of butter eating. 
I’m feeling slightly queasy at the prospect…

A three hour tour

It’s just as well I had cake for breakfast as I set off on a three hour hike through the Boboli Gardens and needed every last crumb. 
Set high above Florence, the view is worth it but it’s a long dry walk on the way. It was an overcast morning but quite humid and as the sky cleared, it really started to warm up. 

By early afternoon I’d managed to get us to a restaurant overlooking the river where the food was good and the tourists were absent. 
After a working lunch we wandered around Florence stumbling across a My Little Pony fashion collaboration before eating gelato in a square.

Then time for a rest before regrouping for a work dinner.
Tomorrow I’m going to a trade show…

Florentine cake for breakfast

One of the pitfalls of travelling is the buffet breakfast. Despite my fairly basic accommodation in Florence, they had a rather good buffet. 

I ensued the cooked breakfast and instead went for the cake because cake for breakfast is a lovely thing, and I may have had a second slice because I could. And then there was a chocolate croissant or maybe two and four macchiatos because there was a very good coffee machine and it was free. And then I felt a little bit sick and may have had to have a lie down. 
I do have a sore throat which has progressed over the past couple of days so perhaps it was medicinal. Or perhaps it was just pure gluttony. 
Or perhaps I’m tired from slogging around Paris for two days. 
Regardless, no more cake for me today!

From Paris to Florence

The day started with coffee and croissants sitting outside in the Parisian sunshine. Working, of course. So far I have done nothing but work as I have been tour guide, navigator, linguist and banker. 

After the navigation debacle of the previous evening, my feet were hurting but I bravely soldiered on as we walked to the Galeries Lafayette and boutique store Colette, researching, retailing or as I like to call it “shopping”. 
With that done, we ate a baguette in the park outside the Louvre and then set off to the Gard du Nord to get the train to the airport. 
Navigator, linguist, tickets, public transport and even entertainment as the obligatory beggar with karaoke machine appeared. 
We arrived at Charles de Gaulle with time to spare, I was ready for a sit down!
After an extreme landing where we unintentionally assumed the brace position we arrived in Florence. 

No border control, no taxis and so it was off on the bus to the main train station. Some people were getting hot and tired. 
Luckily I had been to Florence before and had spent a weekend complaining that all roads lead to the Duomo. And so with local knowledge I found my hotel and settled in to the equivalent of a youth hostel, Florence being booked solid. 
It was a zoo out there. Packed with tourists, I ventured out for some food and suffered the insult of bad food in Italy. Food for tourists. The worst caprese salad I have ever had. 
And so to bed in the youth hostel. Only three nights, it might not be that bad!
Tomorrow perhaps the Duomo?!

The Hundred Euro Chicken

I spoke too soon having just returned from a two hour hike through Paris. 

Dinner was in Montmartre and all was well as I had found a restaurant which specialised in serving roast chicken to Americans. As my senior colleague had craved chicken the last time we were here, I had done my research. 
And all for the bargain price of €75.00. Add in tax, tip and wine and it was the hundred euro chicken. I had to wonder who was being slaughtered. Not the chicken I suspect!
We finished dinner at 10pm and as it was still light decided to head down the hill towards the Marais. 
A long time later we arrived at the Arc de Triomphe. We’d walked miles in the wrong direction and I will say that it wasn’t my fault.
I eventually made an executive decision and got a taxi back to the hotel or it would have taken us another three hours to get back. 
Hot, tired and extremely footsore, it had been a much harder slog than anticipated. 
More to come tomorrow…

Day One: The Hard Slog

I left home at 5:15am this morning and had to wait fifteen minutes for a tube. In London that’s bordering on tube rage and I was starting to be concerned. 

No worries though as I was soon on the 5:55am Heathrow Express, through security and had plenty of time to buy a phone charger and a plug which unfortunately remained in the wall at Queen’s Park. 
From there it was a quick hop to Paris and as I decided to get the train from the airport (saving the company money) I enjoyed a musical interlude of beggars with a karaoke machine singing “I just called to say I love you.” Very French!
Before long I arrived at the Hotel du Petit Moulin, a small boutique hotel in Le Marais designed by Christian Lacroix. 
And so off to lunch at a nearby bistro, a plat du jour, fish of the day followed by coffee and then a meander from Le Marais, past Notre Dame, over to the Ille de la Cité, back to the Pompidou Centre before heading back at the hotel for a brief intermission before dinner in Montmartre.