Europe Trip 2010 – EuroRail to Perugia (Day 15)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Today marks my first day on the EuroRail train network. I had ordered my 2 month continuous EuroRail pass before leaving for Europe upon a friend’s recommendation, and I’m glad that I did. It cost $1167 total for the Youth pass and I can now take any train in the network at anytime to anywhere for 2 months. For those curious about what kind of passes there are, you can visit their website. I had purchased my EuroRail pass through STA Travel through a travel agent, but it was the same price to purchase it directly from the EuroRail website as well…so how you’d like to book is up to you.

Today also marks my first morning waking up in a hostel. It wasn’t too bad. They just put people in rooms, and Selina and I got a room with some older Polish man. I won’t lie that I was surprised the hostels were co-ed…but I guess it’s just a place to sleep at night. He was nice and courteous and just went to bed anyway (after stripping down to his briefs before getting in bed…gah). I woke up with three bed-bug-bites…one on my left thumb and one on each forearm. Not the most pleasant way to start my solo trip but I’ll survive. The bathrooms here are actually very nice and clean which very much surprised me based on my overall experience of Italia so far lol. I didn’t feel the need to shower in sandals or anything (good thing because I don’t have shower sandals atm).

So I woke up today and decided that I wanted to go to Perugia. It seemed like a nice small town on the map. I am done and over with the big cities like Roma (Rome) and Firenze (Florence). However, I might appreciate them more since all in all, they are probably the more “tourist friendly” towns in terms of translation and language barrier. I learned the important signs like “Uschita” (exit) and used “No! Gracie.” (to all the pushy vendors and scaffolding), “Buon Giorno, Parla Inglisais?” (Hello, do you speak English?), and “Costo contra?” (How much?) as most of my conversation of the day.

It was a debate between Sienna and Perugia. Seems odd to me that I can just wake up and say…I’m going to Perugia today, and hop on a train and just go. I walked from Hotel des Artistes (recommended by a fellow traveler friend…thanks Emma) to Termini (Ter-mee-nee) and waited in a line that I hoped was one that could help me. It was in that line that my Austrailan friend Selina, who I now will call Mozzie, left me to take a cab to FCO Airport and head home to Perth, Australia. It was at that point at 12pm Italia time, that I was quite literally on my own in Europe.

Lucky for me, it was the correct line that I was standing in. I walked up to the man at the desk. “Buon Giorno, parla Inglisais?” “Inglisais? I speak Italian, French, English, Spanish, whatever you like my dear…but English it is.” I laughed because he said all this in that Italian way, where they emphasize the first syllable of each word and speak the rest with an accent. Very loud and fast talkers here.

He booked my reservation for Roma Termini (12:58) to Foligno (15:03) to Perugia (15:37). He also booked my train from Perugia to Arezzo this Sunday in the morning. Finally, I know what time I will get to Arezzo lol. Lucky for me that this is not the hot tourist and traveling season. Everything can pretty much be booked last minute and doesn’t need a lot of planning ahead. Great news for me because I have almost nothing booked for the rest of my trip as of now except for my flight home in two months. They also have many types of trains here. In this case I could chose the fast & direct train, or the slow train with many stops (the Italian family I will be staying with calls it the “puff puff train”). Of course, the fast one requires an extra fee on top of my EuroRail pass, so I opted for the slow train. I am in no rush on my trip and the time difference is negligible for the distance (I’d save about 35 minutes on the fast train I think?).

I looked up a hostel online in Perugia and will start with Hotel Umbria near the main centre. If they are full, I’ll go to Hotel Iris, and if they are full, then Farmhouse Backpackers Hostel (this one I would prefer over the others but it is about 17 minutes out of the city by car and I’m only staying for a day and two nights…plus they don’t have any openings for tonight atm).

I am much enjoying my train ride right now. The landscape in Italia is beautiful. This train is relatively clean compared to others I’ve been on, though it’s not anything really nice. The important part perhaps is that it doesn’t smell, but there are stains on the seats that I would prefer to not look at. I am eating my banana, peach, and cliff bar for lunch, which people seem to look at funny because I guess they don’t have cliff bars here and the brownie flavor one looks like poo I’m sure lol. But so far everything is good. I look forward to reporting more from and about Perugia. Until then…Ciao!

Leave a Reply