Posts Tagged ‘san gimignano’

After our hectic and legendary journey to San Gimignano we decided to slow it down a bit… Woke up, had some breakfast of potato chips (remains from the night before) bought some souvenirs, completed the scooter rental transaction, and made it to the train station. Next train to Roma was at 13:45. We were about an hour and a half early, but hey, we’re used to waiting by now.

We took the cheap train – a regional one that made at least a dozen stops between Pisa and Rome. It took about 3.5 hours to get there. When we arrived we followed the signs.

Train station

A wise man once told me, “Keep your head up, and follow the signs” it’s been working this entire trip. I’ve been the navigator for all our journey’s and we’ve made it everywhere safely thus far! Maybe not always in a timely fashion… but we make it nonetheless.

We made it out of the labyrinth like train station that is the Roma Termini and pulled out our cellphone GPS to locate the hostel we had booked. After a bit of confusion, we found it, a few blocks away. It was on the 5th floor of a building, we took the elevator.

The tiny 2 person elevator. Did not feel safe...

Unfortunately, when we got there we found out they had overbooked the hostel. Too bad! It was called Happy Days and it seems really nice, lots of young people traveling, bright colorful walls, etc! The guy felt bad though (our internet reservation hadn’t gone through fast enough) so he called up a sister hotel and gave us a double room there for the same price as the hostel (16.80 euros per person). Unfortunately it was across town. We wandered back to the metro and crossed the city, then wandered the streets until we found our hotel, this time only on the 2nd floor.

We grabbed some sandwiches from a local food store, and hit the sack.

We rented two 125CC scooters for 45 euros for the day.

Our scooters

On our way to San Gimignano! Did you know there aren't street names in Italy... or easy to see ones anyways...

Now, seeing as we were in Italy, we imagined it would always be hot, so when I asked Heinz if we should bring jackets, he said no.

An hour later on the scooters we were shivering. An hour after that it started to rain. A little chilly to say the least.

Kinda wet.

After winding our way through the country side of Italy (curvy roads everywhere!) we followed city signs to cities on the way to San Gimignano, since the street names google maps gave us were useless.

Beautiful scenery though!

After 3.5 hours we made it to San Gimignano, the city of towers!

San Gimignano!

We climbed the tallest tower for 5 euros – amazing view. For those of you who don’t know, this city is in a well known video game called Assassins Creed II.

Ta da!

Another fun shot

Beautiful city

It was around 4:00pm (we only had an hour or so to visit the city) and we started to hear thunder, so we purchased some rain coats from a souvenir store… the shopkeep didn’t mention they were children’s sizes…

Atleast their waterproof... right?

We started our trip home, leaving at 4:30PM from San Gimignano. We were hopeful, there was a train to Rome for 8 and we were suppose to have the scooters back before that…

An hour later we were still winding around country roads… And it had started to rain. We followed signs to cities in the direction of Pisa, but it was as though we never got any closer. Finally we decided to go on the freeway the FI-PI-LI, which I assumed was the Firenze-Pisa-Livorno highway. It had started to rain heavily and it was a brutal ride. When we got on the highway, it headed to Firenze first (a city east of Pisa) . . . an hour later we made it there. Then we made it onto the exchange to the Pisa highway… 76km away from Pisa (we had seen a sign earlier that said it was only 40km away)… by now it was pouring and extremely cold. We stopped at a gas station but the snack bar had just closed. The staff felt sorry for us though and wadded up paper towel for us to stick in our jackets – the one waitress gave me an actual towel to stuff in my jacket. It actually helped a lot.  They didn’t speak any english by the way.

We rode another hour in the cold windy and freezing rain conditions . . . on a highway, with 125CC scooters. We stopped for gas again and were told that it’s illegal to ride 125CC scooters on the highway (90km limit) but the gas station attendant said they probably wouldn’t notice at night (150CC is the minimum). We went into the attached snack bar and warmed up using the hand driers in the bathroom and bought some high-calorie snacks to keep our energy up. A bag of cookies, a bag of potato chips, and 3 toblerones. The cashier gave us garbage bags and we constructed better rain suits. Then we continued.

Took another few hours, and the rain lightened up a bit. Our makeshift rain suits really helped! We finally made it to Pisa, and rode around for a bit trying to find the small section of town we were familiar with, we hit a stroke of luck and found the market square and made it back to our hotel. We dropped off the scooters and checked our hotel to see if they had any rooms available, they did. Gave us a triple for 30 euros each (same price we paid previously for a double). We dried off a bit, called the scooter rental place and went back into town to get some dinner. We had spaghetti with eggs cream and bacon (it has a name I forget though…). The food never tasted so good.

We made it back to the hotel around 11:00 and collapsed in bed. It had taken 5.5 hours to get home from San Gimignano, in less then ideal conditions…

This is the way I think we ended up going…

All kinds of fail. Not the most direct route by any means...

Remember all pictures can be found on the picasa web albums page under the gallery tab!

It was pricey, but we bought tickets to climb the Leaning tower of Pisa! (15 euros each).

293 stairs...

They only allow 30 people up at a time due to safety concerns (also the staircase is tiny!)

The top!

Quite the view!

The stairs were crazy, eroded from so many people walking on them:

Crazy steps

The musical bells of the tower (can't be used anymore due to safety concerns)

One more!

And now we’re off to rent scooters! Going to San Gimignano (an ancient medieval town, which also so happens to be featured in a favorite video game of mine… Assassins Creed II!)