Search This Blog

Monday, 11 June 2012

Back to the Present!

Hello people,

I'm writing this from our SECOND hostel in Florence. Confusing I know, it's because the post is late. I'll explain later.

So this post is going to be about what we did yesterday and what we've done so far today. I'll be doing another post tonight about what we do for the rest of today. And then everything will be back to normal. Yay!

I apologise in advance if the words in this post do not resemble English. This Italian keyboard is FUCKED UP. The apostrophe is where the '+' sign normally is; where the apostrophe is there is the letter 'à', and there are many more differences. Basically this whole keyboard is a big pile of crap

I'm gonna get straight on with it; I have a list of things that happened yesterday on my iPod that I made last night that so that I wouldn't forget. So let's go! I'm desperate to get back up to date.


So yesterday we woke up at about 9 after another good night's sleep (roughly 6 hours, yes!) and had some food that we had left over from the day before for breakfast. I still had a banana yoghurt to eat and we both had some cornflakes (dry, no milk or yoghurt *sad face*).

Our train to Florence was roughly at 5.30pm that evening, and we still had to do some stuff to prepare. We had to check out of the campsite, we had to utilise their storage facilities so that we could still store our stuff while we went into town again, and we had to book a shuttle bus from the campsite at 4pm so that we could get our train after we'd came back from town to pick up our stuff.

Shit, that sounds really complicated. I'll put it a different way. This is the order of the things we were doing:

1st: Ask to use storage facilities as we were checking out, so couldn't use the mobile home.
2nd: Book 4pm shuttle bus.
3rd: Check out of campsite (notice how we did that after the other two things, just in case they didn't let us after we'd checked
4th: Go into town.
5th: Go back and collect our stuff.
6th: Get 4pm shuttle bus to train station.
7th: Get train to Florence.

Ok, so after we'd showered and packed all our stuff, the first three things on the list were done without any problems at the reception of the campsite.

So we went into town.

We couldn't book the shuttle bus like we did the day before, so we walked down from the campsite and got the public bus into town.

We didn't pay again. In fact, we haven't paid for a single public bus in Italy. LOL.

We sort of realised how you do pay though... you get these tickets from the station or from local newsagents and then there's a little scanner on the bus. But why would we buy tickets? If you just get on the back of the bus with everyone else (or even o the front, because the scanners are in the middle of the bus), no one cares. Half the people that get on don't scan anyway. You can just walk on and off whenever you like and you won't get reproached by the bus driver in any way. 


So after our free bus ride into town, we wanted to find somewhere with wifi that also served food. We needed wifi so that I could upload all the photos for the last blog post ("Our Beautiful Day in Venice") because the campsite wifi was so fucking shit, Sam needed to check all his internet stuff because the wifi at the campsite wasn't picked up well by his iPhone, and we wanted to look at some hostels and stuff for Rome  in advance.

From the bus station, we walked a different way into the centre of town just to see some new stuff. Unfortunately we didn't take any pictures because we thought we'd find a place with wifi quickly, and also after going in a different direction initially, we ended up around the same places as the day before. So sorry about that.

After wandering around for quite a while, we couldn't find ANYWHERE. It was like our first day in Sevilla all over again. We asked in like a million cafés and none of them had wifi. Fucking internet blackspot.

Also, there were very few places open. It was a Sunday.

We realised that we'd have to go towards the more touristy areas (near Piazza San Marco) to find anywhere open that had wifi.

At that point, we remembered the place we went the day before, where Sam had a bruschetta and a coffee. The prices were pretty reasonable and the wifi was SICK.

It took us a little while to find again; we had to retrace our steps. But we did find it, it was open and it wasn't busy, so that was good.

We ordered our food and drink. I got the bruschetta that Sam had yesterday because it looked FUCKING AMAZING and for just over 4 euros was great, Sam got a pizza. Fatty.

We connected to the wifi, uploaded all the photos and did all of our internet stuff while we ate.

That bruschetta was like the best thing in the whole world; I can't believe how nice it was, especially for a relatively simple dish. Awesome. Sam really enjoyed his pizza too.

We spent a VERY long time in here. If there's one thing we know how to do, it's how to take advantage of free wifi.

However, we had to get a public bus at 2.40pm so that we could get back to the hostel in time to get all our stuff ready and get the shuttle bus at 4pm. We got to the café/restaurant thing at like 11.30am or something, but when we actually took note of the time, it was about 2.10pm. Half an hour.

This is a very short time in Venice. If there were no streets or canals and it was just flat land, you could probably walk from one side to the other in 15 minutes.

As it happens, streets and canals DO EXIST in Venice. In abundance, too.

At this point you may wish to listen to some fast-tempo music.

We paid for our shit and left the restaurant. And then we walked very very fast.

Another obstacle that we had to deal with was the perpetual flow of tourists in the streets. And you know what tourists are like, especially if you live in Canterbury. They don't walk like normal people. They stop, bend over to tie their shoelaces in the middle of the street, hit you with their bags, stop to take photos of completely unnecessary things (although to be fair, we are guilty of that sometimes), and walk INCREDIBLY SLOWLY.

So we weaved in and out of all of the little bitches, went over bridges, squeezed through narrow gaps, and RAN.

Seriously, it was like something out of Assassin's Creed, without all the jumping off rooftops and conveniently placed haystacks.

We got into a rhythm and it was actually really fun. It was a new way to experience Venice that we hadn't really considered before.

We got to the bus station at about 2.37pm or something, and jumped on our bus.


We made it.

And there's nothing like taking a nice free bus ride up towards the campsite as a reward.

We're just hoping that we don't get tracked down by the Italian police or something. We're not really sure how seriously they take it. But let's just say we're basically on the run. It's a good job we're moving around quite a lot!

We got back to the campsite, filled up our water bottles and ate a few small things, while waiting with our luggage for the shuttle bus.

I have no idea how, but we almost missed it, despite being at the campsite almost an hour before it left.What the fuck?

Luckily, I noticed the bus driver shutting the door (it was a minibus), and we quickly ran over there and got in.

After being dropped off at the people carrier again and having another quick ride on that, we got to the train station. We got there like an hour before our train, so we had plenty of time to wait.

Eventually our train came up on the screen, although it was a bit weird. On our tickets it said that the train was at 17.27pm, yet there were no trains at this time that matched the number of our train that was on our ticket.

Luckily, we notice that a train to Rome (but stopping at Florence) at 17.32pm DID have our train number. It worried us for a little before we found it, but we did, and we just assumed that the tickets were a bit spaz or something.

Our platform was announced early, so we got on the train about 20 minutes before it left. Thank fuck, we were in a 2-seater, and the seat numbers for this journey weren't fucked up like the ones between Milan and Venice. So this was all good.

This train was one of the nicest we'd been on; the headrests were shaped to help people sleep and in general it was really comfortable. Even I fell asleep for the first 15 minutes of journey (I was shattered), but I woke up and wanted to listen to music/look at the landscape, so this is what I did.

It was a nice journey, even if it did turn cloudy half way through. There were

In front of us on the train was this little kid who was about 6 or 7 years old, and his dad. They were playing some Italian version of the game 'Uno' (I think it was called 'Sclo'??) and being really loud. Well at least the kid was.

Periodically, the kid kept looking through the gap between the window and seat and waving at me. I didn't mind it at first, but he kept looking round the seat and I was trying to listen to music and look out the window, so it was more than a little distracting. At least it was only a 2-hour journey, not like the fucking night train in Spain where there were kids behind us for  like 10 hours.

We got off the train, and the next thing to do was to find the hostel.

The hostel was quite far out of town, and when I looked up how to get there, the instructions told us to get a bus with the most fucked up name ever (Z3FJ59 or some shit) from a stop just outside of the station.

I'd only had a Kitkat (yep, they have those over here) since the bruschetta, and it was almost 8 o'clock at this point, so I was starving.We had about 30 minutes to get the bus, so I went over to McDonald's (it kills me how convenient they are when you want a lot of food for little money) and got a chicken and bacon wrap thing, which I have to admit was pretty nice. You just have to try and forget how they torture the chickens and it's all good.

We got the meal to take away so that we could look for the bus stop.

We saved an image on Sam's iPhone of where the bus stop was in relation to the train station, but it was more difficult than we though. We thought there was just one bus stop. It turned out that there were about 6 dotted around the station, and we had no idea which one it was.

We looked out for the fucked up number of our bus on the bus stop signs, but we couldn't see it. We went to every one we could find. No luck.

It was getting very close to the time the bus was leaving. We couldn't find anyone to help us, there we no decent maps and it was starting to rain. Oh, and my McDonald's was getting cold. Fuck my life!

The time passed, and we didn't get the bus.

I remembered seeing another way to get to the hostel which involved getting a number 5 bus from a place that was about a 10-minute walk from the station, but I couldn't remember what the place was called exactly, and THERE WERE NO FUCKING MAPS.

So we started looking for wifi. There was another McDonald's and a different café outside of the station, so we thought that would be a good place to start. I started eating my food while Sam got in the queue to ask.

No luck.

I finished the meal, and at this point it was getting dark. We had no idea where anything was.

So we reluctantly decided to get a taxi. We'd seen plenty outside of the station so we knew it wouldn't be hard, the main issue was how much it would cost.

We hailed one and asked the driver if he knew the place (Hotel Indicatore, where we were staying). He nodded, and we asked how much it would cost. He said about 25 euros. We had 30 euros in cash, but this was still very expensive. We had to do it though - we didn't really have any other choice.

It was really raining hard at this point. The driver had a sports radio station on which was quite funny, they were talking about Spain v Italy, Euro 2012 in general and also about the Formula 1. I could actually understand most of it because of the names and also a lot of the technical words are the same, so that was cool.

We eventually got to the hotel and paid the guy 25 euros.

When we went in the hotel, we waited for about 5 minutes before being greeted by an old Italian man at reception. He spoke almost no English. Fuck.

He asked for our passports (I understood the word 'pasaporte'), which is normal as a source of identification, so this was ok. But then he seemed to be indicating that he wanted to keep hold of them until we checked out. we weren't comfortable with this, so we tried to convey that we would need the passports before then. I can't really remember what was said after that, but he kept hold of them. 

We signed all of the usual shit, and strangely the whole fee for our stay had already been paid (normally you just pay the reservation fee and then the rest of the fee by cash when you arrive), so they'd used Sam's debit card number shown on HostelWorld. This was a bit unnerving, but at least that meant that we didn't have to worry about paying any more.

He gave us our TV remote and keys, and we went upstairs.

Despite ordering a twin room, there were three beds.We know we didn't pay any extra for the third bed, so this was ok.

Sam got the code for the wifi, and we had to go out onto the landing where the signal was strong.

The first thing we wanted to check were our finances - Sam wanted to check that some money that he moved from his account onto the holiday account had gone through. It hadn't, and when we tried again it wouldn't work.

Sam was getting worried at this point. He couldn't log into his online banking because he didn't have the details, and he was worried he'd been locked out or something. Everything was getting a bit hectic.

Sam needs money for stuff after the trip as well, so he was really concerned. We had a little argument. Sam was saying that things were getting too difficult, I said that we would be fine and we have help if we need it. Sam said he wasn't enjoying the trip as much as he was because he was worried about stuff back home, particularly the finances.

So we did what we needed to do in this situation - we made a plan of what we were going to do and how we were going to sort things out.

We used Skype to talk to Mum and we worked through the stuff that was going wrong.

This was a big help. We all settled down a bit, and we decided what we were going to have to do to sort out the problems we had.

And then this little episode was over.

Just a random little anecdote... while Sam was talking on Skype, I saw a sign with some Italian, which said some random words and then '2 piano'.

PIANO!!!!!!! THERE'S A PIANO!!!!!!!!

A followed the signs to this '2 piano' until the end.

It was a breakfast room.

*Mega sad face*

I realised what I'd done when I came back downstairs and looked at the sign again. There was actually English under the Italian words which I'd stupidly ignored.

It said 'Breakfast room, 2nd floor'. 'Piano' means floor. Fuck. That is heartbreaking.

So after Skyping, Sam went to bed and I finished off last night's post. Then I went to bed. The end.


So me and Sam are now in the new hostel. I'm using the computers here because they're faster than my netbook, Sam's gone up to the room to drop off his stuff and have a shower. We're in a 4-bed dorm this time, so we will be staying with 2 new people. Hopefully this will be a good experience.

We only stayed in that hotel last night because it was the only one available for whatever reason. It was expensive and very far out of town, so realistically we couldn't stay there for both days anyway.

This hostel we're in now is much better in terms of cost and services, and is closer to all the attractions.We get to see those today! Yay!

To get here from the hotel, we had to get a number 35 bus to the train station (the bus stop is just outside the hotel), and then get a number 17 bus to a stop close to here.

We managed it all pretty easily (much more easily than yesterday, anyway) and finding the hostel wasn't too hard.

It looks really nice here. They do a big buffet breakfast too so I'm looking forward to that tomorrow!

We'll be going out soon to see what Florence has to offer. It should be great, so look out for the post tonight where I'm sure there will be plenty of pictures of amazing stuff, and I should actually be able to do the post on time here because the internet connection is really good.

So that's it for this post! No more time-travelling. You are completely up to date!

Thanks for reading.

Jack - 11/6/12 - 14:58 in Florence, 13:58 in the UK.

1 comment:

  1. Don't get too excited about the breakfast, it'll probably a bagette or a muffin!

    Glad you're having a good time, mum told me about Sam's incident with the cashpoint......