We took a day trip to Pisa and Lucca today, and I really think that that is exactly what interrail is about, being able to just take the train anywhere without having to worry about the cost.
We started off the day by eating breakfast at hotel Signoria - this time I sneaked my cheese AND a vegan croissant inside - I really must give the employees credit for not looking weirdly at me once, I know I would’ve if someone brought their own food to a breakfast buffet. The woman at the table in front of mine looked offended though, which I don’t really get, but each to his (or her) own.
After breakfast, we took the train to Pisa. You can’t really go to Tuscany without seeing the leaning tower of Pisa. We walked from the train station to the tower, trying to keep out of the burning sun as much as possible. The funny thing is that we saw next to no tourists on our 25 min walk to the tower, but we soon discovered that it was because everyone was in the square in front of the tower. And boy was it a ridiculous sight. The thing about the leaning tower of Pisa is that hundreds of people are acting like crazy people, but for some reason no one questions it - everyone is touching air, lying down, jumping and standing on top of things to get the perfect picture. And we of course had to get in on the fun, admittedly being a bit uncreative and doing what I would call the classic Pisa pose.
You know, I actually feel kind of bad for Pisa, all the tourists only interested in one particular building that is the result of a mistake. No one goes to Pisa to see the churches or museums.
We queued for the toilet for a while before walking around for a bit, going into little shops, down streets and seeing a square or two. But we both felt kind of ill from the heat, so we quickly decided to find a seat in the shade, where we could drink our juice and wait until we had to make our way back to the train station. Zuzanna did her suduko as always while I read the hilarious book Every Day is a Holiday by George Mahood.
At 12.30 we caught the train to Lucca and arrived 20 minutes later. By the time we arrived and had passed through the city wall;
we had grown quite hungry so we started with lunch at 'In Pasta', a vegetarian pasta cafe, where we ate delicious (you guessed it) pasta.
We spend the day mostly just walking around the old town of Lucca, turning down little charming streets and going into cute shops. We did see the Amphitheatre, the bell tower and the Guinigi tower though. Lucca was a lovely little city with a cosy atmosphere and absolutely beautiful streets.
We got gelato to end off our visit, before once again heading to the train station to take the train back to Florence. In the meantime we had found out that one of the trains we would have to take to reach Nice the following day had compulsory seat reservations, so we queued for about 30 minutes to get to the Trenitalia desk to reserve tickets. We found out that it was sold out, though, so we asked him to change it to a quickly put together plan B, but for some reason Trenitalia just likes to be a dick (sorry mum) to interrailers, because reserving seats for one of the plan B train rides (which was compulsory) cost 47€, while a normal ticket with a seat reservation cost 36€. This we found absolutely absurd, so we went home to figure out another way to get to Nice. On our way we bought some presents for Carl Johan and Vanessa who we would be staying with the first night in Nice, and an extra present for Anne Mette for her overwhelming amount of help. In the apartment we spend an hour or two on a new plan, and we did find one, but were afraid that the compulsory seat reservations had already been sold out. And since the customer service at the train station didn’t close until 10.30 pm, we decided to go for dinner first, eating at the restaurant Anne Mette had first taken us to, as a way of showing our gratitude for how lovely they had been to us the first time. It was a really busy night though, so I don’t think they saw us, but it's the thought that counts and the food was great once again.
We dropped off Anne Mette’s gift at the hotel lobby and once again made our way to the station. At the train station though, we couldn't reserve seats because the ticket selling part of the service closed at 9 pm, and the woman also told us that we probably would not be able to reserve tickets for that train anyway. So we went home once again, where we tried to find a route that could work - and didn’t cost a ridiculous amount of money, had a sold out connection with compulsory seat reservations or arrived in Nice too late - until around 11.30 pm. It was actually close to impossible to find a route, but finally after hours of researching and checking we put together a route that worked and bought the seat reservations. We could finally pack our bags and go to sleep.
So here’s the plan:
At 7.00 am we will take the train from Florence S.M.N station to Pisa central station, where we arrive at 7.49 am.
Then we’ll take the train from Pisa at 8.28 am to Genova P.P., arriving at 10.21 am.
From Genova we’ll take the train at 11.43 am to Ventimiglia, arriving at 2.03 pm. And finally we’ll take the train from there at 2.29 pm, arriving in Nice at 3. 24 pm. Now everything simply has to go to plan.
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