No-slow. Five cities in a day from Oslo to Florence

Sometimes life is flying, and you just have to hang in there and make the best out of it. Well, to be honest – I´m the one running the schedule, right? When I booked my tickets for eight days in Italy, I felt I had all the time I needed to ramble around for some time after the conference of TBU. Then free blog trips happened. Then staying over at a friend´s place in Rome happened. Then meeting a friend from 20 years back happened! It was hectic, but fantastic.

It was when I hit the seat at the train back to Florence I had the time to absorb the impressions of the day. A wild run from the parking lot, two kisses and waving goodbye as the train started moving. I was not sure I was on the right train, but I trusted my friend was in control when he pushed me onto the train just before the doors closed.

I´m not a morning person, but I jumped out of bed when the alarm clock rang at 6:30 – it was time to travel. I left a rainy and cold Oslo, and after changing from air to train in Rome I arrived in an even more rainy Florence. The streets were soaking wet, and the umbrella guys in the streets were smiling big and had obviously had a good day. All thought the rush traffic was heavy already, the air felt fresh from the rain. I walked the 600 meters to my hostel, and had my first glimpse of the streets of Florence in 20 years. The last time I was 17, and toured Italy as a delegate from a Lions youth camp.

One hour later I was back in the busy buzz of the station, eagerly looking around and trying to spot a friend from 20 years back. It´s amazing how small the world has become when you can easily track down your pen pals from so many years back on the internet just like that!

“Lucca is one of two cities in Italy which still has the entire city wall intact” my friend and guide eagerly told me. Even after the city expanded and grew outside the walls, it is still there to surround the old town center. Being shown around by a local is so much more fun than just randomly walking around on your own. I love my random walks as well, but sometimes it is nice to hear the stories from places. This was a bad-weathered day outside the main season of tourists, and I loved the quiet ambience of the streets of Lucca. One of the landmarks in town is the Torre Guinigi tower, which is 44 meters high and has a roof top garden that can be seen from all over the city. In the middle age it was about 250 “tower houses” in Tuscany, meant to symbolize the wealth of the owners. The Torre Guinigi is one of the few towers left in the region.

After a good afternoon walk I had my first – but oh no, not the last – glass of red wine in Italy. Before my pizza, I was also introduced to “cecina o farinata” – some kind of pancake made from chickpea flour which was fried in the oven, and would traditionally be seasoned with black pepper and sea salt. It was a very simple, but tasty starter.

The evening finished way too fast, and after an evening in Lucca I was taken to a ten minutes quick tour of Pisa. I still remembered the overwhelming busy streets and markets of Italy from when I was 17 – my first meeting with the big, exciting world! Entering the gate of the cathedral late in the evening, I could watch the leaning tower of Pisa towards the dark background, lit up by the spotlights in the night.

Santa Maria Firenze. My third arrival to the station on the same day, as a hub for my busy day. The station was quiet at this time, and wandering through the streets of Florence there were not much sounds but the laughter from some pubs and a car passing by now and then. The discovery of Florence had to wait though, enough impressions for one day.

Even though I´m a slow-go´er, days like this is great experiences once in a while.

Have you ever had wonderful days on travel where you feel your head is “exploding” from impressions?

About the Author Elin

I´m an Oslo based web publisher with passion for communication, travel and a green lifestyle. When I travel, I prefer to go slow, sustainable, and “live like a local”. Why slow? It is about challenging the cult of speed, and to enjoy the small things in life and to live in the present.

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