I don’t know if it’s just because Rome was my first international city or if it’s because I really am a city girl at heart, but saying goodbye to Rome was really hard to do. There’s just something about the bustle of it that I love. Everything is open till late, there are people everywhere, it feels so safe and even more than all of that, there is just so much to see. We could easily have spent another week there and not seen enough of it.
However we had to move on to the next leg of our trip – Florence.
Now, out of all the cities in the Tuscan area, why on Earth would we have chosen to go to Florence? Well there’s a couple of reasons. The Duomo being one of them but David being the other. The sculpture of David is something that Seth had studied in art history and wanted to see. Me? I was just glad to be there. Anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s get back to getting there in the first place as it involves lots of tears.
We awoke early to our last day in Trastevere and wearily packed our bags for another long trek. Thankfully our AirBnB let us leave our bags in the room while we popped down to the local restaurant for a typical Italian breakfast…
It’s so delicious but not nearly as filling as a good breakfast before a long trek should be. Nevertheless, we were up collecting our bags and off, walking through the streets of Rome to get to the train station.
According to Google maps the walk was about an hour long. Which is hilarious because how is that even possible? Maybe it was because of my knee, getting lost or just because of our packs, but it took us more than two hours to make it to the station. Luckily there is so much to see along the way, it’s really not that much of a problem.
Also, this was a regular sight I saw. Seth armed with the selfie stick demanding selfies in front of every single monumental looking building. Which is basically every building.
After walking for what felt like forever, we arrived at the train station. We went straight to the computerised ticket stations and bought our ticket. We had something like 40 minutes to kill and so we took a leisurely stroll to the public toilets.
Let’s just talk about the public toilets. You have to pay for them. Even in the train station. And they are generally gross. There are no toilet seats and just wow. Even our toilets here are much better and totally free.
Anyway, we treated ourselves to some Grom gelato and started making our way to our train. Here we are, celebrating that we had found our train in time and got to enjoy some delicious gelato all at the same time…
Except that totally wasn’t our train.
As you may have guessed, the tickets are obviously in Italian. Go figure. So when we saw that it said 15 on it, we assumed it was platform 15 and headed that way. They looked at our ticket and let us in to the general platform area and so we assumed that we were good to go. Platform 15 was really far away and so we started walking really fast to try and get there as now time was suddenly running out a bit.
We started hearing last boarding calls for our train on the intercom system. But they were talking about a train leaving from platform 10! Now we started panicking. We checked with some of the train staff who only spoke Italian but they mumbled something about our tickets not even being for the train that we thought it was. Real panic set in and so we started running.
And with my knee, it was agony. Pure agony. So just picture this…
We’re eating gelato that is slowly dripping down my arm as we start to panic. We start running. Seth takes the lead because well, he doesn’t have a busted knee. I try and run but actually just end up hobbling and wincing in pain. Seth starts running faster away from me. I try and run faster so that I don’t lose him or miss the train, but I actually just physically can’t. So the panic sets in deeper and mixed with the pain the tears start leaking from my eyes. Seth is still way ahead of me but I finally catch up, just as our train is pulling out of the station…
Seth looks back at me and I start ugly crying right there on Platform 10 of the Roma Termini. Like that loud uncontrollable sobbing kind of cry. Because of the pain, because he left me behind and because we missed the train. Once I got hold of myself I asked him what the hell he was hoping to achieve by leaving me behind like that and he totally had every intention of valiantly stopping the train while I caught up. We ended up laughing hard because of how ridiculous it all was.
But now what?
We needed to change our tickets and so we headed to the little information person and explained what had happened. She then says that it’s not a problem, it happens all the time. She’ll change the ticket for us. Great! Awesome! Then she says, “150”. Both Seth and I look at each other and basically freak out. We don’t have another 150 Euro to pay for this?! It’s almost more than what the actual tickets cost the first time around. So we were like, “Uh, 150 Euro’s?” And she burst out laughing and said that no, it was the time that the train was leaving. The relief you guys. Overwhelming!
As it turns out they don’t print the platform on the tickets. Only train and seat numbers. You need to keep an eye on the board to know which platform it will pull up in. LESSON LEARNED! And now you know too.
Once we were on the train it was great. We read, listened to music and dozed on the almost 2 hour train trip to Florence.
Then we arrived in the lovely city of Florence and it is totally different to Rome. Where Rome was characterised by cars, its vast hugeness and smelling like jasmine, Florence was characterised by bicycles, feeling a lot more quaint and smelling quite distinctly of cheese. Seth couldn’t smell it, but I really couldn’t NOT smell it. I can’t explain it.
Another shock to our system is that we discovered to our utter horror that the AirBnB that we thought we’d booked cleverly right near to the train station, was actually no where even close to it! AAAAAAH!! It was close to another train station in the area but we’d have to buy another ticket to get to it so we decided to walk there instead.
And by we… I mean me.
I was feeling cheap and didn’t want to spend the money. Plus I thought walking through the town would be quick because EVERY online thing I’d read had said that it’s maximum 30 minutes walk from one side of Florence to the other. THEY LIED! They freaking lied! Then our Google Maps spazzed out and we kept getting lost. Seth was pissed off. Actually he was beyond pissed off. He kept muttering “This is the stupidest thing we’ve ever done” over and over again on our TWO HOUR LONG WALK to our AirBnB.
By the time we got there, being 5pm and us only having the donuts and some gelato to eat, things were bad. Real bad. And to make it worse, the hosts were not home and because of our lack of data situation we couldn’t get hold of them. In Rome this wouldn’t have been an issue – every single cafe has wifi. but NOWHERE in this area had it. We tried all of them and nothing. Eventually Seth turned on his roaming on his phone and ended up calling them. Except it was a wrong number. Which is funny now, but not then. And eventually we found it and got in to the apartment!
The lovely hosts explain the public transport system (the busses) and so we decided that this is how we would travel now. You can buy tickets for the bus at any store that sells cigarettes. The only sucky thing is that this AirBnB promised a laundry option but as it turns out they meant soap and a basin. Not exactly what we’d been hoping for when we’d packed so lightly and expected a washing machine for all our dirty stuff.
Us in finally in front of our AirBnB!
Classic nun walking across the road to the church picture.
How cute are their little petrol stations!
We cleaned up and headed out (on the bus) for a night on the town to familiarise ourselves with how it all worked as we needed to be in the city centre early the next morening for our next tour to Pisa and Cinque Terre.
Before we left we researched somewhere to go for supper. I loaded the details on my Google Maps and we headed out. The problem is that again, even though we navigated the bus system flawlessly, we couldn’t find the flipping restaurant. We ended up in some square full of over priced restaurants and stopped there for some aperatives and free wifi (which they actually had by some miracle).
After the biggest beer ever, a delicious glass of wine, some toasted bread with tomato and some wifi later, we headed out to the place that we’d found on Tripadvisor. It turned out to be a real gem.
It didn’t look like much from the outside, but it totally delivered on the food. It was SO good.
I can’t even remember exactly what it is that we had. I think mine was some kind of meat pasta and Seth had a veal dish if I’m not mistaken. We also ordered those delicious looking potatoes. They tasted even better than they looked.
Once our bellies were full, we wondered around more of Florence. Mostly looking for the right bus stop and not really finding it.
After passing an American style roller skate burger joint, some other variables in terms of foods and lots of closed stores, we found our bus stop and headed home. Patting ourselves on the back for totally nailing this whole public transport system finally and for not walking for a million miles again and destroying our bodies. SUCCESS!
Once home we literally passed out after setting our alarm for 5.30 the next morning.
FOR MORE ON OUR ITALIAN TRIP DON’T MISS:
- What We Packed In Our Backpacks for 9 Days in Italy
- Leaving Cape Town
- Day 1 – Rome
- Day 1 – A Day In Rome – Photodiary
- Day 2- A Morning in Naples Climbing Mount Vesuvius
- Day 2 – An Afternoon In Pompeii
- Day 2 – A Night In Rome In Search Of the Best Gelato and Caffe
- Day 3 – The Roman Suburb Of Trastevere
1. I was very sad to leave Rome. I loved it there. We enjoyed a cappuccino and donut for breakfast (a typical Italian breakfast usually eaten standing at the bar) as a fond goodbye.
2. We took an hour walk and made it 2 hours with a weird knee, couple of wrong turns and a lot of selfies in front of historic things we kept passing.
3. At the station we managed to get our tickets and Gelato and we’re feeling chuffed with our international abilities to be adults.
4. We didn’t look at the train number and mistook our seat number for the platform. We walked all the way down before realising that it was a totally different platform that we should have been on. We ran to that platform. Well, ran is a strong term for what happened. Seth ran and I wobbled. We missed the train and I ugly cried in front of everyone out of pain for my stupid knee and also anxiety for missing the flipping train.
5. We went to change the tickets and the lady said 150 and I was like what the what?! And she was like the time and I stopped having a heart attack that I had to pay 150 € to change a ticket. It’s free. 😅
6. We made it to Florence but once off the train realised that our airbnb was not actually a block away like we thought. We were at the wrong station.
7. We took another 2 hour walk to the other freaking side of the world and we were feeling defeated. And then we had issues getting to our accommodation.
8. We finally checked in and it’s actually great here. Despite everything leading to this point.
9. After deciding that under no circumstances would we leave our flat, we went back into Florence but this time on the bus! So easy and cheap! A delish supper and back onto the bus to get home.
10. Now we’re in bed setting alarms for 5.30am so we can get to our tour on the other side of town at 7am tomorrow. Hey Pisa and Cinque Terre – see you in the morning!