Saturday, May 31, 2008

thank you trenitalia

well, today was a special, special, special pile of /"$(&, as jillian put it. i was warned once about the trains in italy, but i thought it was because it was sketchy with pickpocketers around. instead, i learned the truth today.

jill and barbara woke me up this morning and told me we had half an hour to get to the train station in order to ride for three hours to the baths in Saturnia. sanford pulled his blanket over his head and declared that it was going to be a ladies day today. nevertheless we dragged adam out of the apartment and ran down to the station, unshowered and barely dressed.

we got to Grosseto where we were supposed to switch on to a bus to Saturnia, only to find out that the next bus to Saturnia wasn't leaving until 4:20PM, and that there were no more buses coming back from Saturnia, and that the last train back to Florence was also at 4:30, so we would essentially be stranded in eiher Saturnia or Grosseto. neither of these options appealed to us, so we sadly had to abandon our plans to visit the waterfall-decorated hot springs to jump on a train to visit the medieval town of Siena instead. which was beautiful. unfortunately, the man at the train station told us that there was going to be a train strike that night, and the last train we could take back to Florence was at 7:20. which left us with forty-frive minutes to sightsee Siena. so we power-walked through the city with just enough time to get gelatto and espresso while walking. it was, at least, the best espresso i ever had.

these city names may mean nothing to some of you, but essentially it means i spent the entire day on the trains. it was the equivalent of us taking a train to go from Toronto to Ottawa, to stay less than an hour to eat lunch in Ottawa, and then taking a train from Ottawa to Kingston, for coffee and dessert. it was special.

at least we passed the city of Bad Ass.

and indeed, once we got back to the train station in Florence (miraculously...adam jumped off the train and hugged a pillar) we discovered that there was indeed a train strike. i had awful flashbacks of that night when i was stranded in the subway station at midnight during the TTC strike. only this time, my morning route was cancelled, the very route that i needed to take to catch my plane trip to Paris from Milan. i was pretty close to tears. fortunately, adam (who is like my best friend ever and is officially now my little big brother) helped me talk to customer service who managed to find me a route to Milan for tomorrow. the problem is, i may miss the flight because its so close. but, um, i can walk to paris, i suppose...

stupid trains.

oh, i saw a tower of pisa today. it wasnt THE tower, nor was it leaning, but my train did pass through pisa and i did see a tower, so i am going to hold on to that.

other than today nearly reducing me to disturbing bouts of crying and lunatic laughing, my stay in Florence has been wonderfully pleasant. adam, who is italian, has been a sweetheart showing me around. the first night i came here, we took a walk along the River Arno because adam wanted to show me Florence at night, like the bridges and the Duomo, which is absolutely breathtaking. its pretty safe too, the only dangerous folks around here are the drunken (mostly american tourists).

yesterday was Sanford's birthday, and i spent a big chunk of the day relaxing with the boys watching episodes of South Park, which was just what i needed after so much moving around. what i found most fitting for sanford's birthday was that we watched the South Park episode about gingers and the ginger seperatist movement(sanford is very red-headed). afterwards, sanford remarked about how he learned a new lesson about the importance to getting rid of all asian women. i love that kid.

also, YESTERDAY WE WATCHED A EUROCUP FOOTBALL GAME. italy versus belgium. italy won, of course, 3-1. it was pretty mind-blowing. and yes, professor johnson was there. we also happily met up with chantelle, arlene, anton, and john, who are all also studying in florence. we had a few drinks at their amazing flat after the game, along with sanford's melted birthday cake (tiramisoup). that was when we discovered that John thought the bidet was a urinal, and has been pissing in it all this time. oh, toilets. how i miss north america.

wish me luck in getting to Paris tomorrow!