The Gateway

The Gateway
The separation between life and death

Monday, October 31, 2011

Travel Week~

Day 1, October 29th, Roma:
All right, day one of travel week! The day's events were...well, eventful. Like all good plans, it flopped fabulously, yet I'm still here to type about yet another day in glorious Italy, this time from Rome. We (Lauren, Becca, Shane, and I) caught a cab from the villa at 6 am, of course getting four to five hours of sleep the night before, and arrived at the train station in Perugia somewhere around 6:20. Our train left somewhere around 7:40, so us three girls activated our Eurail passes, while Shane stood by encouragingly, ticket already in hand. On a side note, our teller definitely looked like a Gringotts goblin. It was the greatest. We then sat around, killing time, and wondering why our train wasn't showing up on the board, but not thinking much of it because it was on a printed sheet on the wall. By the way, if this ever happens to you, look into it. Seriously. Don't sit around and wait until time and find out, as we did, that the website Shane bought his ticket from had actually booked his ticket for the 30th instead of the 29th, completely against his wishes. Therefore: Shane had to buy another ticket for a much later time and we worried about the people we were planning to meet up with in Roma.
Thus, we wandered Roma. Only around Termini Station though...we didn't really want to get lost. We attempted to find internet for a long while, and were successful, but found out it required the equivalent of an Italian social security number to be used. Also a European phone number. But most importantly: they track their's weird. And super creepy. But anyway. We did not ever actually get internet access and were forced to eventually relocate back to the train station, though a very sweet Italian lady did try very much to help us with her limited English. And so we returned to the stazione~
Our trip then continued without any real hitch, and we spent a good three hours or so riding the train, in a very lethargic manner. “I feel like” was burned into the ground between Shane and I, and also I realized I hadn't played Elite Beat Agents in a rather long time. Aside from that, I don't remember anything particular about our conversations, and so I will cut to our anxious arrival in Roma. However, we quickly managed to find our meet up, and then carried on. Deciding to go ahead and book our night train ticket for that evening, we quickly ran into difficulties when we found out it would be 33 euros each to reserve a seat on any train leaving Roma that night. We then decided to put off the decision and decision making until later, switching errands into the immediate issue at hand. We split with Shane about an hour later, him going off to carry on adventures of his own, and our party was finally alone and completely female. We ventured off to find a bancomat and a supermarket...and also a bathroom.
Almost immediately after visiting a bancomat, an Italian stopped us and asked if we were looking for a hostel. While we were not searching for a place to stay that night, we were in need of a supermarket, which he happily directed us to. Aaaand...then we did grocery shopping. The details of that are private however, thank you. We did not find a bathroom though. So, shortly after that, we quickly went hunting for both a cheap place to eat and also a place with a restroom. We found both just around the corner, and split a pizza margherita between the three of us. We also gained a business card from our quirky waiter, guaranteeing us 10% off the next time we visited. It also had a tiny heart on it, which is going in my future scrapbook. From there, we came to the conclusion we needed to go ahead and resolve our locational dilemma. We tiredly made our way back to the train station and sat down to plan out the next few days, after finding out exactly how to reserve night trains for 3 euros.
However, while sitting and planning, we ran into Shane again~ His party ran into equal amounts of difficulty in their travel plans, and they were stuck, like us, until tomorrow. After deciding to stay the night in Roma with them, we managed to plan out about half of the next week for ourselves. Our plan for tomorrow, with the addition of Shane's group, includes Pisa, for the day only~ I'll be sure to let you lovely followers know where I am after that on Monday...keeping in mind that internet is currently scarce, and most of these day to day chronicles will be published on the same day, just separately. Oh well~ Ciao!
(Additions to the night's events) – So if you're in a foreign country, and are very low on winter clothes and comfortable places to sit, do not spend the night in a train station. But otherwise, you're good! We spent the night sitting on the platform, getting little to no sleep, until 6:10 am, which was when our train to Pisa left. We were badgered by strange Italians a couple of times, as well as noticed that rats were living down in the train tracks. But anyway, I thought I'd include how long that night was for us, even with several of us watching out.
Day 2, October 30th, Pisa:
As you know already, we left the Roma Termini Stazione for Pisa at 6:10 am, after a rather cold, long night on the platform. I can't actually tell you how that trip went because I was asleep for all of it...I think at that point I'd been up for about 24 hours, though I'm not positive. Either way, we had a four hour train ride, and arrived in Pisa. Currently, I'm sitting on a park bench there, typing this out to you, and the weather is amazing~ The sun is shining, with a slight breeze, and there's not a person in sight (unless you count the cars racing by on the road). Our first order of business was of course to go and seeing the Leaning Tower of Pisa, which was probably about a mile or so from the station.
It was a rather uneventful walk, so forgive me as I skip the details. I will however tell you that Pisa is a rather beautiful city, and the area around the Tower, baptistery, and cathedral set is full of greenery. Also full of tourists pretending they're holding up the Tower in photos. Seriously, I lost count on how many people I saw posing for that. But, the whole area was rather beautiful. Because it's Sunday, we weren't allowed to wander through the cathedral, only to stand in narthex and observe the building. It was quite pretty though, and had a very large amount of baroque art adorning the walls. We could also see the large Pantokrator mosaic on the top of the apse, though we couldn't get close enough to see it very well. Only from quite a distance.
I will admit that today hasn't been particularly interesting, compared to the potential for adventure we may have in other cities, but it's been rather comfortable and not too strenuous, especially since we haven't been traveling steadily for a while now. From the cathedral, we left to find some lunch, and then we went on a quest for a park to sit around and talk in...which we found and are now doing! And so with that, I will leave you to wonder what my tomorrow and this evening has in store, and will type an update the next chance I get. Ciao~

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