Days 4 – 6 of the 10-day trip. Nothing like learning how to use public transportation for the first time in a different language, y’all!
This is the “Goes to Italy Once” Series, where I tell you how to plan, pack, and dress yourself for your trip to Italy, after going just once. Part I was the actual helpful post–all my recos, do’s, don’t’s, tips, and tricks. Part II is a daily breakdown of days 1 – 3 where I go to hell for declining a nun’s offerings and then meet Jesus at the altar of the fatherland.
This post covers days 4 – 6 of our 10-day ~adventure~
Day Four: Almost Canceled Half Our Plans And Marriage Due To Train Travel Confusion On The Way to Vernazza
(ok, we didn’t actually consider “canceling our marriage,” calm down, but the subhead wrote itself k go on, keep reading)
Are you keeping up? So far we’ve done 7 hours in London, 36 hours in Rome, and 24 hours in Venice. This type of boom-boom-boom traveling could only be done with a husband who is contractually bound to agree with everything you say or a very type-A traveling friend who is interested in going all out in everything except well being.
Therefore, arriving on time and being exact with transportation plans is of upmost importance to staying somewhat sane on this schedule, lest you should run late then miss half your day in a city you only have a day in.
Day Four’s plan on our 10-day itinerary was to wake up early in Venice and train to Vernazza, about five and a half hours via a connecting train in Florence. We would spend the day and night in Vernazza, then wake up early and leave the next day. Those were the plans.
And as we just discussed, AINT NO ONE GOT TIME to get lost, or speak English, or not understand trains, or breathe, during the hours spent traveling in back-to-back days.
However, we arrived in Florence and quickly became very frustrated and confused trying to figure out how to find the connecting train to Vernazza!! Public transportation!!! What is that!!!!
If you know me, and you do because you’re one of my eight friends who reads my blog, you know I’m from New Mexico. When I went to college in west Texas, my biggest fear was not meeting new people, or making friends, or failing class, or being hazed, or scary bois. It was driving. My biggest fear was driving around in a “big city” pause for laughter, I know. I think I mentioned this fear to girls during rush week so I’ll never understand how I was allowed into a sorority but that’s really another memoir for another day.
I had a fear of driving around in Lubbock, which was basically the size of Tokyo to me, a Carlsbadian.
So you understand enough of my history to know why I was lost.
BUT — Even Lane, a born and raised Chicago Suburbianite, and therefore basically a professional Civil Engineer, was struggling to understand the public transport system that is Italian trains.
We spent a decent amount of time walking around the crowded train station, lines, and talking to multiple train people, looking up maps, downloading apps, listening to overhead announcements, we were finally like………… wanna just stay in Florence lol??? Cancel day 4 – 5 plans on the itinerary?????? Promise to see Cinque Terre and Lucca on our fictional one day second trip to Italy????????????????? Spend 80% of the trip in Florence???????
It was so tempting… but knuck if u buck.
KNUCK IF U BUCK, WE BUCKED UP AND SAID NO SISTER, WE ARE DOING THIS, WE ARE GETTING OUR TOURIST BUTTS TO VERNAZZA IF WE HAVE TO WALK THERE, WHICH AT THAT POINT, WE MIGHT AS WELL HAVE.
Finally, a train conductor (not sure about the actual job title but you get it) woman and told us we filled out a paper ticket incorrectly. No big deal, right? Wrong. She told us to get in a long line to pay for a new paper ticket for us to fill out correctly. I know I don’t know a lot about public trains but it seems like there’s a better way, idk.
When we got to the front of the line the man let us “get away” with crossing the incorrect times out ONLY BECAUSE we used the same pen. Like wut.
We eventually boarded a connecting train, then looked at each other and said, “Where is this train is going?” I know you’re reading this blog, and I sound light-hearted, and in that moment it sounds like Lane and I would have giggled and hugged and said, oh to be young, in love and in Italy!! Ha ha ha la la la!!!
But in reality, here on earth, in the actual real-life moment, things were not well. We. were. not. well. We’re not crazy, we’re just a little unwell.
Relationship hack!!!! Take the trains in Italy with your husband!!! Test and strengthen your marriage!!!!!
While we were on the train, Lane figured out that the it’s similar to the L train in Chicago idk IDKIDKFIDFKFKIFIDKFIDFK IS ANYONE FOLLOWING and we somehow made it to Vernazza. Bless.
It was my birthday and we had a beautiful day. Bless again.
Day Five in Lucca: Do I Care Enough About Lane’s Ancestors To Use The Trains Again
If you didn’t know, which you do know, again, because you’re one of my five friends or relatives who reads my blog, you know our last name is Rizzardini. We’re like totes basically so Italian we own an authentic pizza restaurant just by existing.
Lane’s dad’s family is from northern Italy, specifically Lucca. Chic! I know! It’s easily the chicest thing about me. Lucca happens to be sweetly smack dab between Vernazza and Florence, our next destination, so we decided we should respect our ancestors and spend a day being treated like the Northern Italians that we are.
But like IN ORDER TO GET TO LUCCA WE WOULD HAVE TO, YOU KNOW, USE A TRAIN.
We trained to Lucca and it was fine.
Lane’s train confidence was built up by now, and all was smooth, we even stopped in another very small connecting Italian town called Viareggio, where we accidentally ordered a cup of milk by making the classic mistake of asking for a “latte,” which is kind of like a Must Do in Italy, ya know. Like check that box off your Tourist Mistakes To Make list.
Want to know what I loved in Lucca? Well it’s in part I of the Goes To Italy series, shame on u for not being a subscriber.
Day Six. Florence: The Day None Of My New European Friends Wanted to Hang Out or Add Me on Facebook And Now My Life Is A Halsey Song
Here are the exact names and descriptions of the people who did not want to be my friend after our AirBnb “pizza sunset” group experience:
- British Couple #1: fun, bubbly, young British couple. I don’t actually remember anyone’s names but she was something like “Gabby” or “Pudding.” The husband was Nate I think. He was redhead and looked like Ed Sheeran and I told him so. She laughed even more than I did and I am positive we would have been perfect pen pals. We talked about Harry Potter and Megan Markle while our husbands pontificated over Brexit. She was a proud Hufflepuff which is both unique and different. We bonded and now everything we had is dead just like Cedric Diggory. That does sound a wee bit lesbian now that I read it back, but you know, making friends is hard, k.
- British Couple #2: I LOVE BRITS. THEY’RE THE NICEST PEOPLE GOD INVENTED. This couple was older, more mature, quieter, less interested in talking about Harry Potter, fine.
- Scottish couple: This couple LOOKED like they were from Scotland. You know? Like how Keira Knightly or Natalie Portman look in their historical dramas. Like pale, light brown hair, skinny, scraggly, porcelain-y. And they were both so smart. They each spoke multiple languages and both had genius jobs that I asked tons of dumb questions about. As one does, I brought up Mary Queen of Scots. Weird they didn’t want to be my friend and keep hanging out with me???????????
- Colorado couple: Americans, they’re everywhere, it’s the worst. They were like a carbon copy of me and Lane, except they had real jobs, not in digital marketing. I don’t remember their names either. But I guess they’re not interested in looking up mutual friends and exes back in the home states! That’s fine too!
If you’re out there reading this now, long lost Euro-trip friends, I guess I just want to say, name in the sky, does it ever get lonely, thinking you could live without me? I guess I just want closure???? I just hope that it’s just you and not me? Tell me how’s it feel sitting up there?????
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Photo credits: Small Town Girl via themoviedb.com, Sorry Not Halsey SNL via Giphy, Carlsbad road via American Southwest, Halsey via Tumlbr, Spongebob time card via knowyourmeme.com,