S is up in the small hours and creeps out to read for a while. I wait it out and go back to sleep.
The breakfast we ordered in arrives 30 minutes early. No worries, our jammies are company- friendly.
We can feel the ship making small adjustments for the docking procedure. Over coffee & hot chocolate we grin that of course they’d be extra careful – they hit a dock here a few weeks ago. The rear of the ship bears the signs of the repair.
After we arrive at our hotel in Florence, we both get the obligatory shower (airports & airplanes – ugh) then change to go out for a while. We had debated a nap – even without any significant traffic, the drive felt like eternity – but by this time it’s after 4pm and we realize a nap now will mean we don’t sleep at night.
So we pull ourselves together and explore the area nearby. We find the local tram station and ride down into the center of Florence, seeing the Duomo at night and strolling down cobblestone streets and having hot chocolate (warming the hands and the belly).
We only walk around for about an hour though, before we head back to the hotel and have dinner, and make our plan for tomorrow: Florence by day and a train ride to Pisa in the afternoon.
Back in our room, we settle in and are both out cold by a few minutes after 10:30pm local time.
I stir at 7:30am. I could get up. Maybe.
At 9:30, we both stir. Check the train schedules. Get ourselves ready.
We time our day to depart in time to get coffees at Tumbleweed, just down the street from the Riverside Cottages. They open at 7.
Well, first we see the deer that are right in our own parking lot this am. Then…
We each get a coffee plus a thermos to let us top off through the morning. We originally thought we might cross to Pebble Creek, near the Northeast entrance, for an early-morning animal seeking session (we would so love to see moose) but already the morning is warm, and the 40 miles across isn’t going to get us there in anything like prime viewing time. And we want to see the Terraces we skipped yesterday before it gets appallingly hot again.
So we visit Mammoth Hot Springs upper terraces instead, first walking it, hearing the elk trumpet as rut season begins…
We check out of the Old Faithful Inn, with an aim of seeing the Great Prismatic Spring ahead of the crowd. It is a good theory. But it is still early and cold – so much steam is rising from the springs that they aren’t visible.