Wednesday, November 07, 2007
On Monday I was left all alone on the property. Even Sunil, who lives above the restaurant had gone to Sienna and left me the key to the restaurant so that I can make myself something to eat. I would think that this was my chance to go ape but I had fruit in the morning and made some rice, eggs and reheated some leftover pork (you thought I was gonna say Spam right? The pork was pretty dry and I should have made the Spam). I was online for a little bit but mostly spent the day packing.
I had to pack for Tornio, as well as Seattle. My plan was to leave my two large suitcases in Prato with Irene, taking my smaller rolling case to Torino. I would return from Torino taking all with me to San Francisco. Initially I had thought that I would not be allowed to take two checked bags with me to Seattle and would store the second bag in the SF airport while I was in Seattle but it turns out, Alaska allows two checked bags and I will be taking all to Seattle with me (get ready Kentra).
I got a lift from Andrea and Johnny to the Montevarchi train station and from there I bought a ticket to Firenze Santa Maria Novella station. I would check the times then purchase a second ticket to Prato Centrale where Irene would pick me up at 7pm. I am always nervous about traveling on the trains since my first day in Italy. I easily loaded my bags (which included, two large suitcases, one smaller carry on size rolling bag, a matching tote bag, my camera case, my purse and a tote bag that carried the wine and my French chicken) onto the train in Montevarchi. When I arrived in Firenze, I got everything out and found a luggage cart on the platform. Lucky me! What I should have done before loading everything on was check if the sucker was rolling right. Turns out the wheels were locked and I once again offloaded everything. I went and purchased my ticket to Prato then went looking for a cart as well as a restroom. I found the luggage storage area which cost 3,80 Euro per bag for the first 5 hours but I had only one hour before my train to Prato and really only needed someone to watch my stuff while I used the ladies room. An attendant saw me lingering and asked if I needed some help. I asked where I could get a cart and was about to ask how much it would cost when, he brought it around the counter for me as well as loaded my bags on it. And it didn't cost me a thing. Bravo. He then told me the bagno (restroom) was at Track 5. I was on my merry way when I discovered that one, the restrooms were pay restrooms (not a big deal) but the doorway to the restrooms would not allow my cart-o-bags through. So once again I offloaded my bags to just inside the door, paid the ,70 fee to go past the gate, and whizzed as fast as I could. When I came back I was happy to find that my cart was still there.
When the time came, I loaded my bags onto the train - at S.M.N. station it is not a problem as it is usually the first or last stop. Meaning, the train sits on the track for awhile so you can take some time loading and unloading. UNLIKE when I was getting off the train in Prato...I had all my bags by the door and after waiting for the bulk of passengers to exit I started to unload. Irene met me at the train doors and was assisting but the doors closed before I got my last bag off. I panicked! NOT AGAIN! Luckily there was a girl wanting to kiss her man goodbye and she hit the "open" button and I was able to get my last bag (and myself) off the train.
I stayed the night with Irene and Umberto. We had dinner at home (Irene's risotto was really good but Umberto's mom's eggplant pickles were awesome). Opened up the bottle of Cultus Boni I brought and watched a DVD while drinking some Vin Santo and nibbling on cantuccini that I made. In the morning, they brought me to the train station and I caught the first train from Prato to Picenza (via Bologna and Modena)then transfered trains to Torino (via Voghera and Alessandria). Paolo and Nausica picked me up from the station, brought me to Corso Monte Cucco, made me some pasta, left me the keys and a map of the city as well as some instructions on where the nearest supermarket is and what bus to catch to the city center. I have since, taken a shower and surfed online. I should be going now.