InterRail Italy

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Polaroid of Lucca, InterRail trip
Cycling round the walls of Lucca
Where American high school leavers road-trip, we Europeans 'InterRail'. Unless you live on the other side of the pond (or don't get out much), you've probably heard of it. And if you've left school, you've probably done it! The basic idea is to travel round as much of Europe as possible by train.

   Now, by last June,  most of my friends had had their Euro-Trips planned and under the belt for months. Profile pictures in every European capital guaranteed. I was... not quite so organised. Bitter at their imminent departure and gloomy at the thought of all those missed - and inevitably brilliant - photo opportunities, I got my act together. As did three great friends of mine: Alex, Julia, and Flo (pics below, admire them as you please).

Slight problem: money. Travelling round the whole of Europe wasn't going to happen: none of us had jobs and £900 wouldn't appear at the click of a button. So we decided instead to do a mini-tour of Italy. Why? Cheaper, warmer, less planning and, well, more pizza. I know, 'sa tough life.  And so began The Grand Tour.

Polaroid of the Ponte Vecchio, Florence, Italy
First stop: Florence. Though packed with tourists in some of its most iconic spots (like the Ponte Vecchio), Florence is perfectly-sized for a couple of days travelling, and we escaped the madness to relax in a peaceful oasis known as the Boboli Gardens.

We then travelled to Lucca, a sleepy walled Etruscan town. It's the smallest and most accessible of the four cities we visited so I think it's safe to say we got a real feel for it despite being there for only a day. The highlight, for me at least, was cycling on tandems round the town's walls. Tandems, by the way, are suitable only for those of us blessed with the gift of a buff, toned and rugged physique. Ahem. Not only do they weigh an absolute ton, but it takes a while to get the hang of the synchronised pedalling: I think I can speak for both Julia and myself when I say that death flashed before our eyes.

Then we moved onto Perugia. Well, we tried, but got off at the wrong stop and briefly saw the bright lights of Ellera C. (not to be confused with the other Elleras), a town with precisely 0 inhabitants. In case you're wondering, 10/10 would recommend!! We eventually made that evening's last train and stayed in Perugia for just a night. It's a university town so has loads going on at night, and all within a truly magical setting.

Now, here are some oh-so-flattering mugshots of the four of us.

Polaroid photo, fujifilm instax                         



polaroid portraitOur Grand Tour came to its close in Rome, where we blissfully remained for the final five days. Rome was wonderful. It's relaxed in the day and animated at night, and we spent much of our time aimlessly wandering, pondering, gorging ourselves on ice cream, livin' the life. We were also certainly not afraid to embrace our inner tourist. How could we resist a couple of photo-souvenirs with those Colosseum 'gladiators'? For a bargain price of €50 euros ONLY, we got TWO photos and one GENEROUS share of sexual harrassment! We bolted, of course. With photos. Without dignity.
Polaroid of Florence, Boboli Gardens

If there's a moral to this story (other than that four lucky bastards had a great time gallivanting round Italy) then take this as your opportunity to pack your bags and go. Holidays don't need planning down to the very last second: your evening skincare routine will take care of itself. With that, until next time. Carpe diem or #YOLO or something.
        Polaroid of Boboli Gardens, Florence, Italy
Polaroid of Colosseum, Rome, Italy
Mildly creepy 'gladiators'

Oh and once again, for those of you with short attention spans, high-five, and here's the trip in video-form:


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