Wednesday, July 23, 2014

San Gimignano Part 1

I still don't think I can pronounce it right. But I had planned my first weekend excursion and adventure alone last minute to San Gimignano. Point for me! As a chronic over planner, this was a big deal. I booked a hotel for Saturday on Friday night after my failed attempt to check out a bar in Lucca for a drink. I couldn't help but feel totally lonely and depressed. This was hard.

I had pondered just staying around Lucca the first weekend or doing a short day trip somewhere close by..but that's what I would've normally done. I figured why waste time? I did enough wasting time over the past seven years and I wasn't about to do it any longer. I'd start big and take a trip that required 3 trains, a bus, and a mile walk on both ends. San Gimignano was about to be my bitch. I hoped.

I had picked San Gimignano to visit since it was a smaller, but still popular Tuscan town surrounded by amazing scenery. All I knew was I needed somewhere with air conditioning and a pool. The heat all week with no relief was getting to me! This no air conditioning anywhere thing was a crazy concept.

I did feel somewhat liberated and independent boarding the train for this solo adventure, but the problem with traveling alone is it gives you a lot of time to think. As tears pricked the back of my eyes and threatened to spill over on the train, I saw a giant field of sunflowers and thought of THE LIST. Clearly I couldn't jump out of the train to frolic, but I knew that I had to pull myself together somehow and just do this. The train ride was gorgeous. Tall cypress trees shot up from the rolling hills and old Tuscan homes dotted the landscape. Now that I've painted a pretty picture...

Three trains later..I waited for the bus with a refreshing drink in Poggibonsi to go the last 20 minutes to San Gimignano.

I made it! It took a little over 3 hours, but I arrived in San Gimignano.

In my exhaustion from the week at camp I totally forgot to look up how to reach the hotel on foot once I arrived in town. I picked a hotel a little bit outside of the town center because it had a pool. I had the address but not the slightest clue which direction to walk. A fitting metaphor for my life, but enough with the deep stuff. I needed wifi and google maps. Unfortunately I had neither. 

I walked into a small cafe/restaurant and inquired about the wifi that they did not have. I tried to explain that I didn't know where my hotel was, and soon I had the owner and another person that worked there trying to help me out with broken English. My backpack was getting heavy. Contrary to what the hotel's website advertised, the owner mentions steps, hill, and a long walk. I nod and gather the energy to walk when a guy walks into the cafe. The owner points to him and then to me and says, "You go. With him. He drive you to hotel." I must have looked utterly confused because he then said, "It's okay. He is my friend." Of course. Why the hell not.  And the bus driver was probably your cousin. 

So I got into this stranger's van (no he did not offer me candy) and he didn't speak any English so he just smiled and drove me to the hotel.  So random, and so nice. Grazie mille. I may have just kind of hitchhiked in Italy, and I was a bad ass. At least I made it to the hotel and I was steps away from air conditioning...

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