Friday, April 22, 2011

Hoboventure: Oh Baloney!

Back to Bologna

The next morning, we headed back into the depths of the city to catch a train to Florence. Unfortunately, the Trenitalia workers were on strike. This meant that the earliest bike-carrying train wouldn't be until 1800hrs that night. And, the train wouldn't go all the way to Florence either. With no real options in front of us, we waited it out. Looking at the information board showed that all the trains were cancellato

Waiting it out meant a lackadaisical ride around the city. More cafe sitting and structure gazing. Food shopping in a market. And finally a sit down in a park overlooking a university market (skull rings, rasta hats and nepalese blankets are not the products your usual italian family is looking for). There was an adorable puppy going on a walk, but he was tired and kept flopping down in exhaustion. There were less adorable kissing couples and hipster tightrope walkers, but they were easily ignored. As the sun was waning, we headed back to the train station to get our Appenine hill crossing on. 

The entrance onto the train was easy. Wunderbar. The arrival at the last station, Prato, was also simple. On discussion, we choose to wait for the train to Florence, rather than ride the 20 km. Darkness was the main factor there. We had dinner from a vending machine (hot chocolate and kinder bueno) and finally made it onto the third train to Florence. 

Worst night ever followed. 

First off, it was 2100h upon arrival. Secondly, the traffic control road islands made a vehicular zoo around the train station. Naggy was basically useless, and we were mapless. The internet info said the campsite gates closed at 2200h.  Tired, scared and confused there was a freakout and some yellin's. The usual arrival into a new city. 

We made it to a pedestrian piazza, and felt a bit better. Look, there's the Duomo with it's famous cupola. Okay, okay, we're going. Yes, that's Michelangelo's David. No, it's just a copy. Yes, those are millennia old statues. Okay, okay. Just across the river and then it's nearby - says Naggy. Turn here, follow the road for 900 meters. What? Naggy - those are stairs, we can't go up stairs. Oh, follow the neighbouring road? It's vertical!? We hauled our bikes up the narrowest, curviest, cobbliest, darkest, scariest road. By "hauled", I mean we pushed and swore and hated every thigh-burning, back-aching, hand-sweating moment. Hated. 

At the top, past Piazza Michelangelo (no, it's a bronze copy of David), there was the campeggio. Of course, the night time building of a hotel room involved finding a site to set up our nylon house, a shin bruise the size of Malta, and an amputated tree. 

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