Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Florence, The Search for More Money...err...Wi-Fi

So we thought there was a commuter train that would get us from Oriago to Venice-St. Lucia, but what we didn't know is that it would be not running for three days because of a integrated maintenance issue. Which meant we had 6 minutes to walk a mile to the Tabachi shop to get new bus cards to ride the train in. We got on the wrong Venice bus though and got to find our way from that bus stop to the Venice-Mestre station via an underground tunnel. We made it with about 20 minutes to spare in the end much to our delight.

After riding the train for 2 hours however, the controller finally came around and checked our tickets and reservations...we were on the wrong train to Florence, train 9411. They apparently had two trains layed out exactly the same, numbered nearly the same, leaving from the same landing, and going to the same stops. The only difference was that they left and arrived 10 minutes apart, and the one we were supposed to be on was numbered 9413. So we hopped off at the next stop, waited 10 minutes and jumped on the right train. This confusion must happen a lot because they didn't try to ticket us, and just offered to let us keep our seats for 8 Euros more per person, which we declined.

We get to Florence and proceed to find some Wi-Fi, and after looking at the map there are free spots listed all over Florence. Upon arrival at one of these hot spot areas we find out that to register for a code they want to send you a text message...but only if they can send it to an Italian phone number, grr. So off we went trying to find Wi-Fi -- again. We found a spot, found a hotel, and went there to drop off our packs and head out into the city after we posted on the meet and greet forum for Florence CouchSurfing.

We made our way out to the leather market in Florence, and man was that place crazy, think Portland Saturday Market only it spans the roads for many city blocks, everyone has practically the same things, and most of the carts seem pretty shady. After seeing that I decided to head into an actual shop with a real Italian guy and bought a wallet to replace my wallet that I bought when I was nine years old.

After walking around some more we made our way back to the hotel, and found a message about a meetup happening at a gelato shop and a city walk afterward. So we booked it across town to meet up with the Polish girl that was setting up the meeting and it ended up with it just being her and an Italian CouchSurfer who was a local. We all got some gelato and headed out to some hotels that were part of some contest of sorts that involved going to their little terraced roofs high above Florence and getting the view from them as part of the contest.

Being pretty hungry at this point we all said goodbye and we headed off for dinner at a place recommended by the wallet salesman that makes all their breads and pizzas with a wood fire oven. A wood fired calzone is a pretty tasty bit of food by the way :). Then it was time to head to bed and get ready for the next day after we got reservations set for the gallery where Michelangelo's David is housed.

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