Sunday, 24 February 2013

Moving on to Florence – Firenze

My Dilemma of Time

After burning a week of money in Rome I decided it was time to move on. There were still plenty to do in Rome but I was also conscious of the time frame that was left on my trip. Every extra day I spend lingering at one place would mean a cut back on another. I had a limited budget for the whole trip and worst than money was I had limited time.

Time was the limit not money for this round the world trip strangely as it sounds. Due to a sabbatical I was expected back to work after the long trip … extension is understandable within reason but still require me to turn up for work. The other thing was the VISA issue. I had 90 days visa for Europe and within swinging into the U.K (it was part of the plan from the beginning) to extend that 90 days it also means I will cut into time spend in the US.

Dilemma Dilemma

Still I was mindful to not become a touch and go traveler. I did not want to become one of those “ Yay Italy … ok Next country” traveler. But I also settle down to realizing I would never see every damm thing in just six month. If I miss visiting something I could always come back and that was another reason to travel. *grin*

Wasted Ticket Train Ride

Long journey again from Rome to Florence and I was still as equally paranoid which would die down later in the journey only to bite me back in my ass. The usual stock up of food and pre prepared sandwiches was stowed away into the backpack before making way for the train station.

I got the cheapest ticket again ….17.35euro

It was a slow relaxing journey with many stops and watchful eye to the backpack. With so many people walking in and out I dared not sleep in fear of someone pinching my bag and leaving the train.

Nothing much to go by other then just looking out the window…. and guess what … not even a conductor to check your ticket during the whole journey. No one checked when I boarded and it stayed that way all the way to Florence. I could’ve just hop on to the train and got a free ride.

After the whole trip I concluded why there were so many people walking in and out during the small stops … chance of a free ride if you hop in from the outskirts and jump off in the outskirts are high because the conductors only hang around like the first three stops from major cities checking tickets and then hopping off to catch the next train back and checking tickets again. I made the observation throughout my journey and true enough only during the beginning and ending of the train journey (near a main hub) have I ever encounter a ticket officer.

Still the train company was smart. You were to stamp yourself the date you were traveling at a machine provided at stations and that will make it only valid for the day. If caught without the stamp by the ticket officer then a fine would be issued. So even thou I could’ve rode without paying, the ticket was now useless. Unable to re-sell nor pass onto the next fellow traveler I might meet in the hostel.

Party Hostel? I am too old for this shit!!

I am sure most notions of people about youth hostel is to have a good time, meet new friends go out and have a fun time. It could be very appetizing for some or scary enough to deter certain people from ever trying hostel.  Yet I believe to every backpacker on the road will at one point or other encounter a party hostel where every night is Sangria night and curse these following words … or something like it …
“I am too old for this shit”
Well it’s not literary old as per se but more like if you have just traveled so damm long without rest or partied for god knows how many nights evidently there will be one night you'll hate a party Hostel.

I was grumpy for one, when I reached Florence that day after spending the whole morning in the train and arrived in wet weather *rain*

Walking in the rain and cold was not pleasant when I did not even have a proper jacket. The nearest hostel it was without thinking and I headed to downtown old Firenze in the cold “eurohome hostel". I was greeted with an even grumpier reception as it seam I have woken the person from a good nap. He was not happy when I did’nt even have a reservation and told me the hostel was in a lock out during the day. He took my money kept my bag and kicked me out of the hostel back into the cold and told me to return only after 4 pm.

First Signs of Pickpockets

Piazza Del Duomo - Firenze
So there I was in the streets grumpy and cold decided to walk around old Firenze in the rain to try and waste two hours. I found a nice sandwich store and bought my lunch and ate by the road standing and just watching the people bustle by and of course the never ending tourist armed with their ponchos and umbrella admiring the

End of my lunch and proceeded to smoke a cig near a dustbin as I saw many tourist police officers patrolling the grounds.

Then came a garbage crew…. The lady opened up the bin I was standing next to and I moved away a little. She then went into a string of Italian ballistic I could not understand and I just stood there smoking my cig when I saw her reach into the bin and fished out a women's wallet. The wallet was devoid of all money but full of identity cards, credit cards and the sort. Some poor lady out there got pick pocketed and the remains was in the bin. The lady continued on with the ballistics to the tourist police and handed over the wallet never stopping her string of disgust.

Beware of pickpockets …. Yep I noted that sign carefully.

One night and away we go

Back to the hostel I was allocated a bunk poorly done and heavily crowded and full of party goers. I decided this was not going to do for me and search for another hostel on the web. Booked the cheapest hostel I could find in Florence or in Italy for that matter and bore my time writing into my journal and sleep.

I am just too old for this shit …

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