Things certainly have changed. J.J. and I recall traveling all over Western Europe from U.K to Italy and Scandinavia using our First Class Eurail passes. There were no charges for reservations.
Today we decided to use our Eurail from Padova to Firenze (Florence). We knew that to make a reservation, we have to pay €10 per person, but were not aware that it is now mandatory. Not having reservations costed €36 for two (€10 plus €8 penalty). Not a big set back but we commented that it is an equivalent to the cost of a good lunch in a restaurant.
Gentle rain welcomed us to Firenze. After 3 weeks of traveling in Italy, we are improving our navigation skills. Prior to arriving in a new city, we have either the map or preferably written instructions on how to find our reserved accommodation on my iPhone. This way, even without being online, we can easily locate our destination.
Leisurely lunch at La Grotta Di Leo, a cozy, non-touristic restaurant, to wait for our appointed time to check into our apartment.
We love our "home" for the next 7 days. Novella House is located just 5 minutes walk from the main train station. It is owned and managed by Francesco, his sister Olga and their mother. We have a beautifully renovated room with a garden view and fresco painted on the ceiling. Our ensuite bathroom is about 15 feet away through a narrow hallway. Warm greetings at the front entrance by Francesco, large welcoming food basket in the room and strong WiFi connection in our room. We are comfortably settled and ready to start our week in Firenze.
J.J. and I are thrilled to hear the news that Bob Dylan is the recipient on the 2016 Novel Prize in literature. His songs such as "Blowing in The Wind", "Forever Young" have profound messages and are timeless.
Aloha -- Cathi