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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Train: Perugia - Florence


Okay I will concede that I just might have gone a little crazy and bought just a little too much chocolate, considering I couldn't fit everything into my suitcase and had to pull out my camera bag and carry it seperately - I certainly won't mention that even it contained chocolate.

At breakfast I took the opportunity to take a photo of a notice on the buffet table


All I can say, it's about time! It used to really disgust me the way people would just treat the breakfast buffet has their lunch and snack bar, ferreting away copious quantities of food. What was worse were the ones that came prepared with plastic bags to hide their stash and they would always look around to make sure the staff couldn't seem them.


Apart from the card reader locking up when I was checking out, everything really went well. I enjoyed my time immensely and this is one place I'd gladly return to. You don't really mind the stairs, slopes and hills because it is just so photogenic and picturesque.

I had noted the taxi ranks on the previous days but as usual when I arrived, no taxis were present. As I contemplated my next course of action I spotted a taxi and signalled - although he couldn't take me as he was on his way to pick up a fare, he called it into the depot and another taxi was being dispatched.

Indeed in 5 minutes, the taxi arrived and I was on my way to the station. Once again, it was an €8 fare, very reasonably considering the options. The taxi was clean, the driver polite and really highlighted just how bad the taxis in Florence are.

perugia station

The train I'm taking is another direct regional train, though this one runs non-stop from Arezzo to Florence.

During my trip, two New Zealand women learn a valuable lesson.

After managing to hoist their overlarge suitcases into the train they settled in to read their lonely planet guide to Italy. During the journey the conductor came to check tickets and that is when the problems arose. They had failed to validate their tickets and were sitting in first class with a second class ticket.

The conductor found an English speaking passenger to play translator as he explained the situation - all the while they were claiming they didn't know what he even meant by validating the ticket.

Now so other traveller will get into trouble, when you buy a train ticket you need to validate it in the yellow boxes that sit through all train stations. Because a lot of these tickets are open ended and not time and date specific, you need to validate them, the machine puts a time stamp on them - this is because the conductor can't possible see everyone's ticket and if it's validated you won't be able to use it at a later date.

Their excuse for being in first class was that they just saw the non-smoking sign and went in the carriage. Somehow they missed the big 1's and 2's also marked on the carriage. The translator helpfully informed them that all trains are non-smoking and that is just an old sign.

The conductor said he should fine them but he would let them off this one time but they will have to pay the difference for being in 1st class.

Now this when it gets funny. Because they had travelled all of 15 minutes in first class they would have to pay €10 each extra but to go all the way to Florence would cost €12 each extra. Needless to say they paid the €12 and stayed in first class.

This was amusing as my perugia to Florence ticket cost €13! It makes me wonder how much ended up in the conductors pocket.

So be warned, make sure your tickets are correct because they will fine you and they won't let you off like they do Italian citizens and believe me I've seen it happen enough to know that there is one rule for locals and another for the rest of us.


  1. Trust me, Italian people get fined too. I know my friends and I were and they're all Italian

  2. Hi Betsy - I'm sure Italians do get fined but there has been at least 3 occasions where I've seen them let off when other non-italians have been fined.


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