Up early and beyond thankful for not having a headache (thank you beautiful german beer) I headed for the train station to score some breakfast and stock up on supplies to keep me full on my epic 10 hour train ride to Italy.
It’s always the small things you appreciate when travelling, so getting to my train seat and seeing a power outlet almost made me cheer as if I was at the football and my team had just scored the winning goal. Sure I would spent a serious amount of time watching the landscape change from the beauty of green and snow capped mountains to the rustic colours of tuscany. But I’m a wannabe travel blogger I also have to work at some stage and trains have been by far my best environments for working.
The journey was incredible and for a while made me almost regret skipping Austria, after all the country’s name is almost the same as mine and really how awesome would it be to see this kind of view a bit more.
As I marveled at the postcard like views from my train window while tapping away at the keys on my mac, I realised the train was running a little late. Then when we stopped at the border to Italy for over half an hour I really started to wonder if I was going to make my connecting train to Florence, curse the ticket man in Munich for not giving me much transfer time.
As it happened my train was late getting to Bologna, almost an hour late. Racing to find the ticket desk I found that I could get another train but would be up for a new ticket and no I couldn’t use my eurail pass. I would also be dumped at another train station in Florence and have to catch yet one more train to the station I needed, Santa Maria Novella.
Boarding the train to Florence at last I thought it would be smooth sailing. As long as you call smooth sailing travelling on a train that was melt your face hot inside. Turns out the heater was stuck on… why the heater was on in the first place given it was 30+ degrees outside and summer time I don’t know. In the sauna of a train where every other able bodied person had taken up home in the windows and doorways I sat defeated and sweated like a fat man wrapped in latex, it was not pretty.
Making it to Florence I then set about finding my hostel. Hopeful I wouldn’t get lost as the last time was in Helsinki and that was like 5-6 countries ago, I was a semi seasoned backpacker now. Alas after having checked my maps and even asked some locals I couldn’t even find the bus stop I needed, let alone the hostel. Out of sheer luck I wandered down a street hoping I was walking in the right direction to my hostel and found my bus.
Checking into the hostel I dumped my gear and headed for a cool shower to relax. I then set about finding these two travel friends of mine that had convinced me to come to Florence in the first place. They were of course the amazing duo of Suzy (suzyguese.com) and Annie (waywardtraveller.com).
Suzy saved me getting lost and met me at my hostel before taking me out into the streets to find a drinking spot. In the end it was her that got us slightly lost, but I could forgive her as she had only just arrived back in Florence herself. Grabbing beers we sat back and caught up on what we had both been up too. The only distraction, Australia was getting pummeled by Germany in the world cup.
Soon after Annie arrived and the three of us, tucked away in the corner of the pub talked travel and all things blogging while enjoying a nice cold beer. Eventually the girls lead me off to find a kebab to satisfy our hunger and all I can say is, I’m glad they had some idea on where we were going as I was well and truly lost.
Getting back to my hostel after our feed I reflected on the day I almost didn’t make it to Florence. I’d met two people who I’d only ever swapped emails, tweets and facebook messages with. Strangely after an hour or two together, it felt like I’d known them a lot longer. I had survived a missed train, a train that made me sweat from places I didn’t know possible and travelled through three different countries. All this in one day, I could never say a backpackers journey wasn’t an interesting one.