Made it to Florence weak and weary from 3 plane rides and one train. Obviously in no shape to make a desicion. Which is how I ended up checking into hostel Bling Bling. Cheery Polish students surrounded me at the train station and promised free beer, my own bathroom, and only 25 euro a night. The real hook, no curfew- killer dude! I should have known it was too good to be true. Off I went, room key and sheets in one hand, giant duffel bag in the other.
Somehow my bag gained weight somewhere over the Atlantic. I half expected an illegal stowaway to pop out beneath my undies. I had my eye on a roller cart to throw it on but can't justify spending 20 euro on something I can get in The Mission for $5. Maybe I can score a nice old shopping cart to throw my things in. Get some pigeons to follow me around and learn a few magic tricks.
My room was one of three in a small apartment. No one else was staying there which kind of a blessing but also a reminder that my hostel wasn't exactly in demand. Oh well, bags down, beer drunk, and off I went to check out the city.
Florence is beautiful. The buildings, statues, plazas, and the people. I soon forgot about my crappy room and taking it all in. Until I was nearly run over by a horse and buggy in the Piazza del Duomo. Jumped out of the way just in the nick of time and landed in a puddle of horse piss. If you've seen a horse pee, you know I was nearly up to my knees. I trotted back to the hostel for shower and a nap.
Woke to drunken pollock singing and riding a bike around the courtyard. Time to get up and get in on the free beer. Everyone was actually quite nice and we had quite the cultural exchange. No Italians though, not really what I was looking for.
I am now in Siena and loving it even more than Florence. My room is 3 times the price but 100 times better than the pimp hostel. Siena is also in the hills so the views of the Tuscan countryside are incredible. I went horse back riding in the country today and had the wildest ride on the way to the ranch. The only thing scarier than being a pedestrian in Italy is to be a passenger. My driver was an old portly fellow about my height and 150lbs heavier. Between the difference in weight and the 140km corners we were taking, I'm pretty sure we were on two wheels most of the way there. At one point I thought he was having a stroke, the way his tiny leg shot out against the gas pedal. I was trying not to laugh the whole time. We no sooner arrived at the ranch than he hopped on a scooter, bottomed out, and was gone in a flash. The actual horse ride was a merry go round in comparison
My fellow riding companions were 7 Australian girls who complained and freaked out about everything, and a mother and daughter from Jersey. Five minutes into meeting them and they were retelling their adventures in community theater. You know the type. The best part was our guide who had a wooden leg and yelled at the australians the whole time. I wanted to ask him if his leg was torn off in a riding accident but never got up the nerve.