So while I was sitting in that little Florence cafe yesterday morning starting to feel like a comfortable and journey-ed backpacker, writing my last blog post and drinking my cappuccino, my knapsack which I had stashed under my chair/beside my foot was stolen. Some sneaky pick pocket (or pick bag?) somehow managed to grab my bright blue bag out from under me without me noticing. Luckily my important items such as my iPad, passport, work visa, wallet, and phone were on the table so they did not go missing.
Thinking well that kind of sucks but hey whatcha gonna do – everything other than my travel journal was replaceable -we boarded our train to La Spezia only to realize we had to make a transfer to another train with only 5 minutes in between.
Once we arrive in Pisa – where we had to make our 5 minute transfer – Rachel and I literally grabbed our bags (reminder: they are 30lbs) and sprinted across the train station to grab the next train. Luckily we made it and headed to our destination: La Spezia.
Upon our arrival in La Spezia we planned to meet our Airbnb host at 5pm. With an hour to figure it out we thought we had plenty of time. Unfortunately we missed the bus to our Airbnb and not many people understood English to give us any kind of direction. The people who could speak English had no idea where the place was. Eventually we got a hold of our Airbnb host – bless him – he came to pick us up. He kindly offered us a drink (by this time I think I might have looked like I needed one) and gave us some time to settle in. I also had a chance to FaceTime my parents which I desperately needed.
Being in a mountain there was only one restaurant that was walkable. Not wanting to risk going back down the mountain and not being able to get back up we went to the restaurant, Acadoleo. When we walked in we asked for a menu – the host/cook informed us that it was a fixed menu and totally out of our price range (25 euro per person). In the end it ended up being a spectacular classic Italian meal of 10 courses. Full and finally relaxed we had an early night knowing we would get up early to hike the Cinque Terra.
This morning we navigated the weird bus system and managed to get to the train station to find out there was a train strike – my exact words to the station attendant were “you are kidding… Are you for real right now.” Her reply “Not good English, no kidding”. Finally after waiting for several trains one glorious Conducter decided to run his train and take us to Monterosso, the first town of the 5.
After many hours (approximately 8) of the most beautiful towns and views I have ever seen we made our way back to La Spezia. Trying to get back to our mountainous Airbnb we decided to give the bus system another go.. with no luck. We stopped at a bar to ask for help and the chef came out to call us a taxi. After 3 attempted calls and taxi’s answering our request with “not possible”, our chef friend told us that our best bet was to hike in the dark to our villa (42 minutes). At this point I think I started exuding ‘holy shit-help’ vibes because he kept calling the taxi as I stood there with Rachel and panicked. Finally he said “it will be here in 10 minutes”. I actually wanted to cry I was so happy.
So here I am after having a 20 minute relaxing shower sitting on my bed going over the last 30 hours like what the heck happened. And here’s my conclusion:
1. Everything turns out and there is always a way.
2. Having a bag stolen isn’t the end of the world… It could have been worse. I will never leave anything even slightly detached from me again in the future.
3. I ran record speed time through a train station. I probably looked like a grade three student with their book bag weighing down their little body as they run to be first in the bus line as I booked it to my train , but you know what? I really didn’t care because I made it!
4. I ate the most glorious dinner in an Italian restaurant in the mountains and it will probably be the most amazing meal I will eat the entire time I am away.
5. Family is always there when you need them!
6. There are shitty people in the world (that take backpacks) and there are really really good people in this world who just want to help you find your way – ex. our Airbnb host, the chef and receptionist at the bar, the taxi driver.
7. I learned to say “Grazie” properly (gra-zee-ay) – thank you taxi driver.
8. There will be many more times through this trip that I am going to be that level of stressed and I just have to learn to roll with it – its all learning.
9. I HIKED THE FREAKING CINQUE TERRA TODAY AND IT WAS AWESOME!!! Hiked through all 5 towns in 8 hours, had pizza, beer, gelato, a ‘seafood cone’, and met some lovely people along the way. I feel kind of badass and it was worth all the stress.
This post isn’t meant to sound negative at all. Just a reminder that travelling is hard sometimes and while there are always good things to pull from it, it isn’t always a picnic.
Tomorrow will be spent exploring the town of La Spezia and replacing all the items in my bag – should be fun!
Sending love from La Spezia, Ciao ❤️