Sunday, October 25, 2009

Welcome to Florence, bet you wish you stayed longer, huh?

So I boarded the train to Florence, and had myself a good time to relax. I had forgotten the simple pleasures of just sitting down and reading a book. And they are great. Sure the books I'm reading are invading my dreams, and causing all sorts of messed up scenarios involving Russian Terrorist and quick response forces, but that's alright.

The three hours just sort of breezed by, as I watched the countryside go past, as countrysides are wont to do when you ride in trains.

Then my train stopped. Not at the big train station i had expected from Florence, but at a small little station, where everything was covered in Graffiti. And what graffiti it was! The trains here look like those from 1980s fictional New York (think The Warriors, or more awkwardly Double Dragon.) But hey, what do I know about Florence? Maybe it's just a small town.

I checked my instructions on how to get to my hostel, and wasn't it great when I came up with nothing making sense. I was at the wrong station. Right town – wrong station. But did I get nervous? No – because I arrived during the day, as all smart travellers do when entering a new city. And I had a credit card. Money solves all problems. But before it came to that, I headed to the station, checked out the automated ticket machine, and managed to find the ticket for the big station. Total cost? One euro ten cents. Nice. I was back in business.

Unfortunately, the train was leaving in five minutes, so I rushed as quick as I could, snapping shots of about one fifth of the graffiti there, and then boarding, not without a sense of regret, for my final destination.

From there it was just a one kilometer walk down the street to get to my hostel. And let me tell you, I wish I planned more time here. Less time in Venice. Yeah, yeah, Venice is the place that I had always wanted to see – one of only two places I actually care about – but... The hostel.

I'm staying at Plus Florence. It's fifteen euro a night. And it's wonderful. There is a pool, a steam room, and a sauna in the basement. A pool – a steam room – and a sauna! My first two hours in Florence were spent here. The next few were spent on the computer typing up blogs and such – and the following few will be spent back there. Yes, I'm sure Florence has a lot to offer – but, you know – poolsaunasteamroom. This is how you want to follow up Rome.

And so many day trips can be taken from here. Venice, two hours each way, I've been told makes a perfect day trip (and when you factor in the price difference for hostel, it's just as cheap to stay in Florence, and train out) – Piza is also just a train ride away, so you can see your tower, take your picture, and be done with it. Not to mention the Tuscan countryside. Which, I guess, some people are into. There was that book turned movie, after all.

Tomorrow my plan is to head out to Pisa, and then spend the day wandering Florence, getting a feel for it, before packing up and getting ready for the shift over to Venice, and expensive everything that may just make me cry. My tears, however, will be lost in beautiful canals and streams, and oceans. And that will make up for it all, I'm sure.

But if you happen to be passing through Florence, or just want a good base from what you can see a lot of Italy, I would highly recommend this hostel. Truly wonderful. And, once more, poolsaunasteamroom!

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