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[Entry 18] I hate trains.

19 December 201009:01AMepic-triptravel

Hey! This post is really old. You should take it with a grain of salt.

Nothing much happened yesterday, hence no post. We got stuck, you see. We were supposed to catch a train from Florence to La Spezia, where you start the Cinque Terre from. Supposedly the train left at 9:53. So there we were, at Florence station at 9:53... and the train totally disappears from the departures board. No train had left, but the departure had gone. Then a few minutes later it shows up at the bottom of the list, as leaving at 10:53. Fair enough, we think, it's obviously been delayed (despite there being no 'delayed' sign next to it), and sit down to wait for the train at 10:53.

The train does not arrive at 10:53.

Or 11:53

Or 12:53. Or 1:30 (the next scheduled time.). Or in fact, any time at all.

At 3-ish the train finally stops looping around the departures board and gets a platform number and a delay time. So everyone piles on to the train. We sit there for about 20 minutes. Then we start seeing people running along the next platform. Lots of people. Then we look out the other side window. These people are getting off our train. Do they know something we don't? An Italian guy manages to explain that there's another train leaving in about two minutes which goes to much the same place as the one we're on, but without a huge delay. So we get off and follow everyone else, only to find that the train does not in fact go to La Spezia- same line, but not far enough. So we figure, what the hell, it's only a delay, we're not in a hurry, and get back on the train we just got off.

The delay went up. Then it went up some more. Then the train got cancelled. Everyone who stayed on once again piles off the train.

We ended up staying the night in Florence again, in a hotel called the Hotel Burchianti, which had very elaborate ceilings. We went out for pizza with Bertie's son (my... step-ex-cousin?), which was good. We'd tried to meet him previously but the buses were stopped because of the snow, so he couldn't get into the center, whereas yesterday he could- so there you go, something good came out of that stupid goddamn train after all.

But I never, ever wanted to see Florence train station again by that point. Unfortunately, this morning we had another shot at taking the train. This time, we succeeded (I'm writing this on the train) and we'll stop in Pisa then take the next train to La Spezia. We have a night there and then we're probably going to head out of Italy into France somewhere, depending on (you guessed it) the trains.

So that's it, that's where we're at. This post will probably be followed with another one containing photos of me holding up the leaning tower and very little else, because there's not really that much else to do in Pisa.


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