I left out the part about one of our group members having to go to the hospital because of her heart rate flaring up - a preexisting condition. She missed all of Florence as a result, but is fine and has rejoined the tour with her hubby.
On the way to Venice, the terrain had been amazing: many tunnels, curving roads, the tallest bridge, the Dolomite mountains rising dramatically up from the broad valley floor to almost 9000 feet (don't check my facts, I don't have time to research the exact height, at 5 euro per hour on my internet access). The mountains were alternatively tree covered, or sheer rock face, many vineyards and apple orchards on the slopes. We stopped for lunch at Egna-Ora, a picturesque town and restaurant with bright orange and red flowered table cloths and our first Italian sandwiches and gelato.
On the way from Venice, we took a water taxi back to the bus parking. It cost over 500 euro for the bus to park during our visit to the city. We headed beyond Florence through crazy dangerous roads with narrow lanes and many trucks and tunnels to contend with. Our driver is absolutely amazing. He drives that bus like it was a sports car and succeeds.
Florence, what do I say? I've been here twice before, but had no idea what it was really like. We only got the three hour tour on the previous two visits.
I will have to bring you up to date later, my time is almost up.