Nothing like a massive break to enjoy the rest of travelling and get settled into London, right?
So I’m sick in bed on a Sunday and Alesha’s out so I thought ‘Perfect time to catch up on my travel blog!’, except that my laptop died earlier this week… So I’m borrowing Alesha’s. Nothing like your laptop dying to make you feel like it’s time to update your travel blog, right?
I’m great at timing. Except that I’ve learnt I’m really not…
Let’s get back to the traveling.
In Florence, Italy, Alesha and I went couch surfing. Which is where you sleep at a persons house for free, technically on their couch but a lot of the hosts have a spare room etc. Now you’re probably thinking, “How is that safe?! It sounds like the beginning of a horror movie!”, those were my thoughts too. But after doing some research and seeing that there’s a legitimate couch surfing website that you can register on and view peoples profiles and see their reviews etc, I thought why not? It’s worth a try, and Alesha and I are pretty smart when paired up (that’s not to say that we’re not smart when we’re not paired up…) so we’ll be fine, plus it’s one way to see a place with a local.
While we were staying at out hostel in Sorrento we used their computers to join up to couchsurfing.org and find a couch surfer for Florence. We found a guy named Alessandro who had a lot of good reviews and genuinely seemed nice. He was in his late twenties, could speak pretty fluent English, didn’t look dodgy and sounded very accommodating as he gave us an option of where we would like to stay; his house where there is absolutely no public transport and in the woods, or his parents house which was out in the country but had buses.
His parents house it was. I mean there’s a legitimate couch surfing website and all but we weren’t taking any chances.
We arrived at the train station and waited for him to pick us up, which was super lovely of him since he didn’t have to do this. He was really lovely if not a bit socially awkward when we first saw him but we brushed that off and tried to be as nice and as chatty as possible. We went and bought a bottle of wine and he took us up to the highest place in Florence that looked right down on the city. This hill had the most spectacular views! So we drank our wine and chatted while appreciating Florence. Alessandro knew quite a bit about the history of Florence as well so gave us a brief summary of how the city came to be, with the walls and gates and everything.
After enjoying our wine and history lesson we made it out to the house in the country . And wow. The Tuscan countryside is absolutely beautiful. At that moment I remember thinking how amazing it was that I was actually traveling in Europe, the side of the world that I’ve been dying to see again since I was younger.
Alesha was delighted to find that Alessandro had a dog, so Alessandro ended up taking us out to walk his dog and show us the countryside. It was insanely beautiful and I felt like I was in a movie of some sort (NOT a horror movie FYI!).
This dog was so adorable!
Rolling hills, olive trees and sun everywhere. It was such a beautiful walk, not a bad route to take your dog for a walk everyday.
We ended up at a stream which felt like out one of those fairytales.
The next day we had planned on going into the city to explore. First off Alessandro woke us up with a breakfast tray to have breakfast in bed! Seriously such a lovely host. Then we went out to catch a bus into town, however it turned out that we missed the bus by ten minutes and the next one was not for two hours… So we decided to see if we could hitchhike in. Another lead into a horror movie? Nahh it was fine. No one drove past! We stood outside for an hour before we got a lovely man and his little daughter that hardly spoke English offer to drive us to the train station which was down the valley a bit. Thank god for such a lovely person!
We finally made it into town only for it to start pouring down with rain. So we found a restaurant and ate a late lunch to wait out the rain. An hour later we’re drinking wine, the rain has turned into a massive thunder and lightning storm that rattled the buildings (Kind of scary) and we’re on our phones last minute deciding to plan our trip in Greece…
So instead of getting to see Florence we spent that afternoon booking ferries to the party islands in Greece and finding accommodation… Whoops. It only got worse. The restaurant cut off the wifi, clearly annoyed we had been sitting in their restaurant for the past four hours using it to book our trip. We were paying customers though and the place was empty!
So we went grocery shopping and bought ingredients for the dinner we had planned to cook to thank Alessandro that evening. However as we were at the bus station trying to figure out how to get back we realised we couldn’t remember the name of the place we were staying at! Since we now had no wifi and couldn’t find a place that did have wifi we couldn’t google it, we couldn’t message Alessandro on whatsapp and Aleshas phone had died so we couldn’t call Alessandro since my new phone didn’t have a sim card as my old phone had been stolen back in Barcelona.
Just imagine us: We’re standing in a bus station with a whole lot of groceries looking at a map in a store and pretending we want to buy it, when in real fact we were trying to find the name of the place in the country that we’re staying at…
It took us a good hour running around the train and bus stations waiting in the customer service lines to figure out what the place was called, by the time we figured it out we had missed the last bus back out there…
Luckily for us I had remembered the name of the hostel that Aleisha and Alicia were staying at, so we caught a taxi, groceries and all, to their hostel in the hopes of them being in and us being able to charge Alesha’s phone so we could call Alessandro. In the end they weren’t there but the hostel reception staff were lovely and let Alesha borrow one of their chargers to charge her phone. However it just got too late, so we stayed the night at the hostel (at a discount rate) without any of our things.
The whole day was an experience. It was days and moments like this that really made the trip. Unexpected turn of events and how we had to handle them.
We met up with Alessandro the day after and ended up just chilling at the house the whole day, which was really nice considering our hectic day the day before. We made him dinner that night to thank him for letting us stay and off we went the next day into Florence to explore the town and then leave to go to Venice.
We spent the morning and afternoon walking around the old city.
All in all Florence was really beautiful. The Tuscan countryside was absolutely gorgeous and very relaxing, we didn’t get to see some of the things we had planned, or the most famous structures that Florence is famous for but that was alright. Our first time couch surfing went okay as well, we didn’t get a creepy person and we enjoyed our time immensely.
I was super excited to finally get to Venice though!