Friday, November 5, 2010

Last Train Out of Florence

After yet another beautiful meal in the city of Florence, we decided to go for a stroll and headed toward Palazzo Vecchio. Knowing that our last train was just before midnight, we grabbed a quick Italian hot chocolate with the intention of making our way to the station soon after. The very talented busker strumming his guitar and singing all time classics in the Palazzo however, became an instant distraction. As we stood and listened, the crowd continued to grow, becoming more engaged and involved by the minute. It was the largest group of people we had ever seen surrounding a busker and this guy had me mesmerized. Every couple of minutes, Tim would interrupt my gaze to tell me we should go or we might miss our train. I dragged myself away as I continued to listen to the words of ‘Winds of Change’ by the Scorpions, echoing throughout the Palazzo.

Arriving at the train station, we discovered that the last train to our hotel (45 minutes away), had left over an hour before. Shit!! We searched the timetable to find the next train and saw that it wasn’t until 6am, with no other trains running to anywhere near we needed to be. In a state of flurry and of course taking it out on each other, we tried to find an information booth to speak to someone. All we could find was a Police Officer who thankfully was happy to help us problem solve. He informed us that our only option would be to get a taxi that might cost us in excess of 50-70 Euros. By this time, we had become irritated, to say the least, not wanting to accept we had to pay that much for transport, especially when we had been so diligent with our budgeting. Whilst trying to come to terms with the situation, we were still unconvinced there was no other way. I have no idea why we decided to return to the same Policeman, as if he was going to tell us anything different. Since we had spoken however, he did discover another way……hallelujah! The outcome: We caught a train at 1am to the closest station to our hotel and then paid a 30 Euro taxi fare from there. Not ideal, but a hell of a lot better than the original solution. Collapsing on our hotel bed, emotionally and physically exhausted after a long day, we were reminded again how travelling is often stressful and bloody hard work!  


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