Europe Trip 2010 – Daytrip in Florence (Day 26)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Okay, back again, this time on a different train. I spent the last 5 hours in Florence wandering the streets and bought more souvenirs now than I did when I was here on the tour haha. I got off the train, confused as to where to go as usual, and found the “lockers” which weren’t lockers, but an area where you actually check your bags in for people to watch. It was 4 euros for 5 hours…not too bad…but it could be cheaper. Then off I went to wander the streets. Only to realize that I probably should’ve figured out when and what train I wanted to take to Venice so that I could plan a time, so I walked back to the Florence SMN train stazione. After waiting in line, the guy told me 10 euros to my surprise since I thought it would be included in the EuroRail pass since it was in the EuroRail pass schedule book. Apparently it was a fast train (not a puff puff) so I’d have to pay more for the 2 hour ride vs 5 hour ride. This time it was worth paying extra, but I only had 5 euros left on me. So I told him no and he printed me an itinerary for a puff puff train.

After wandering the streets, finding bookstores that sold English book (that was absolutely delightful…but dreadfully expensive lol), going to the post office (4 more postcards out today…at this rate I send my mum 1 a week haha), I found a BNL bank which is supposed to be part of BNP Paribas which is supposed to be a sister bank of Bank of America. However, I’ll have to find out later if BNL doesn’t count and they charge me a service fee on my withdrawal. Only a few minutes later, I found a Deseutch Bank which I know there wouldn’t have been any fees to withdraw from. Crap, but oh well it happens. Then I headed to the Mercato Centrale. It’s not until now that I realize that I never actually went into the market, which supposedly sells fresh food and everything. I was too distracted by the outskirt streets, which had vendors selling all the same stuff. Leather everything, scarves, souvenirs…and I ended up getting a scarf I liked (finally!) and a wallet. I also found a place that had a happy hour special of buy one get two pieces of pizza. Two gigantic cheese/artichoke pizzas for 3.30 euros…not too bad. It was funny though because at some point I almost felt like I was walking around in circles seeing all the same things over and over again. Mom, I wanted to get you a pair of Firenze slippers…they were pretty cute, but the price was too high for the quality and the vendor wouldn’t bargain with me lol. AJ would tear them a part in about a month or so lol. Of course, I bargained down most of my prices…12 to 10 euros, 5 to 4.50 euros…not much, but it wasn’t very hard lol. Maybe if I try harder next time I’ll get a better deal. I think a good strategy is to be very nice but steadfast because if they like you they’re less likely to turn you down. When tourist are blunt, which I see over and over again, the vendors are just as blunt back and don’t lower their prices.

I heard a woman asking a guy how much an shirt cost. He said 7 euro. She asked him how much another shirt cost. He said 7 euro for those as he waved his hand over the t-shirt section. She asked how much a different t-shirt cost and he said louder “7 euro, do you speak English or what lady?!” She put the shirts down and walked away as he said “Fuck you” and I was appalled. That’s not good for business lol. They had some nice stuff there, but I walked away from that stand too.

2010.03.30 Florence, Italy

A man at the stall I bought the wallet from was very nice. He guessed I was American by my North Face jacket, which confirmed my own suspicions that mostly only Americans and Canadians wore North Face clothing (and very few Europeans). And that clothing brand is everywhere on people in Europe…and they’re normally American or Canadian lol. Hey, it’s a good brand. I did however end up finding a store that actually sold The North Face in Sansepolcro, but realized why Europeans probably don’t wear them…it’s sooo expensive here. I dunno, I guess everything is more expensive in Europe lol…and The North Face clothing expensive even in the States.

Another man was riding through an intersection of the marketplace on his bicycle and I heard him say “Ciao” to me as I stopped to take out my map and find out where I was. I nodded back and looked down at my map. When I looked up again, I saw him backtracking on his bike into my view to ask if I needed directions or help finding something. I found it hilarious lol…I mean…the guy was a lot older. I think his name was Puca? He’s from South America (Brazil) and moved to Florence 13 years ago to learn about wine. However, now he owns a stand like all the other vendors in the marketplace. I said it was nice talking to you and that I had to go and went on my way to go back to the train station. It was probably in that distraction that I forgot to actually go into Mercato Centrale lol. It’s okay I had my pizza anyway. I’ll look for fresh fruits in Venice.

Getting back to the train station, I decided to see if I could take a look at the self-service machines instead of waiting in that long ass line again. And I wanted one that would take cash. I was waiting in line, being American and putting a space between me and the guy in front of me to give him room to buy his ticket, and this little Asian guy just walked and stood right in front of me. I was like…”scuzi” and he looked at me and smiled and turned back around. He obviously didn’t understand the fact that he’d just cut in front of me. Turns out he’s heading to Perugia (I looked over his shoulder). I just let him go in front of me because he seemed really jittery as if he was about to miss a train.

2010.03.30 Florence, Italy

When I got up to the kiosk to see if I reserve and pay for a train holding a EuroRail Global pass, I was pleased to find that I could. AND that 1st class and 2nd class were both 10 euro…so of course I booked 1st class. (The guy at the window when I waited in line had initially booked me for 2nd class until I said that I’d do it later since I couldn’t pay at the time). I watched my train pull in…train 9418 from Firenze SMN to Venizia Santa Lucia. Leave 17:30 and arrive 19:33 on Tuesday, March 30th. And I’m so glad I didn’t take the puff puff…this train is a lot faster, a lot-a-bit smoother, and has nice seats with power outlets so I can charge my little net-book, Nyx, whilst I write about my travels. Wonderful. Heading now to Venizia (Venice), Italia. Ciao.

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