How I got to Firenze

Hey everyone!

As mentioned yesterday, I made an impromptu trip to Firezne, better know as Florence, Italy!  How I got there was a mystery that I recently figured out!

I was backpacking across Europe in the summer of 2000.  I started in London, England, then flew to Paris to hook up with my wife-to-be.

After 10 wonderful days in Paris, I boarded a train to Berlin.  Now I was again traveling solo, on prebooked trains.  All Planes, Trains and most hostels were booked through Simon Fraser University Travel in early 2000.

After Berlin, I took a train to Czech Republic, and stayed there for ten days.

With the help of a Deaf Czech friend I had met in Praha (Prague), I boarded a train to Trento, Northern Italy.

Or so I thought!

My ticket said, I don’t have it on me now, but I am 99.12% sure that it was direct from Praha to Trento.

I put full faith into the ticket I had!  Oh boy!  Being Deaf-Blind, on a train, in Europe!

Well, here is what happened.  This train I was on took a short trip from Praha to Wien (Vienna), Austria.  And stopped.  It did not stay long!  So, naturally I stayed put.  I was reading a new book “Tale of Two Cities” and was totally engrossed in that!

I was not always reading, I was also enjoying the views, haggling with other people trying to steal my seat, and maybe napping.  I believe it was an overnight trip, can’t be sure, hazy memory!  But I do know it was early morning when the train slowed down and stopped.  I put down my book, or woke up groggily, and had a look around.  I honestly remember reading the station stop as Bologna.

Now, my mind is really hazy on this part.  It took a minute to register, but in that 60 seconds I realized that I had arrived at my station and needed to get OUT to change trains!  But also in that 60 seconds, the train started to move!  Oh Shit!

I rushed to find a conductor and we had a nice chat by writing back & forth on my pad.  Having showed him the ticket, he was very helpful and called my friend’s cousin.  But was interrupted by the long tunnel we went through!

I still had faith that I was on the right train heading, my ticket said so!

Well, the train finally arrived in Firenze, and the conductor went beyond his duties to but calling my friend’s cousin, helping me secure a ticket to Trento, showing me the exact platform to get the train and showed me where the money exchange was, I think I paid for the ticket, I can’t remember.  I got that train to Trento, arrived in the late afternoon, I found the Cousin, and she drove me Italian-style, which is to say FAST to her family home is Rumo!  We stopped in Cles, where she lives, and other areas.  It was amazing part of my trip and I met so many of my friend’s crazy relatives!  What a fun time!

I never thought about that particular train journey until just recently.

This is what I believe happened, or was supposed to happen:

The train to Wien was right, but at that station I was supposed to transfer to another train that would go to Trento.

Because I couldn’t hear the announcements, or see the schedule board, I missed the information!

I put too much faith in my tickets, and not enough in my observations!

One thing I did learn about this trip was that I wanted DIRECT travel for the rest of my holiday!  So, from Trento to Rome, I made sure it was one-way with no transfers.  Then I rescheduled my train from Rome to Paris to be a direct train which, in today’s high speed travel, takes 11 hours.  In 2000, that train was an overnight trip and stopped a few times, so it was maybe 14 hours.

Next up: The Fight for Fruit in Praha!

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