I signed up for the other tour offered by Walkabout Tours – their Best of Tuscany trip. The tour takes you in three cities which are Siena, San Gimignano and Pisa for € 80.
BUT BUT BUT. See...the call time for the Cinque Terre trip was at 8:00am. I went home and had a pretty late dinner. Which means I read my emails and checked all my social networking sites pretty late. I did my evening bathroom rituals late. I slept late. Which all leads to this conclusion: I woke up late.
The call time for this one was 8:30 which is actually not that late considering that my hostel was just five minutes away from the meeting point. I woke up with a slightly scratchy throat – which is probably from eating all that gelato since I landed in Italy. I finally got up but I knew that I can’t get ready in time for the tour call time. Oops. It was my fourth day in Florence and I did not want to explore Florence any further because I was getting tired of all the tourists roaming around (even though I was one of them). I decided to just DIY my San Gimignano and Siena Tour and drop Pisa. Anyway, my breakfast-mate mentioned that it was just a leaning tower over them. I saw the leaning houses inAmsterdam anyway. Ha.
It took me a couple of minutes to research how to go to San Gimigano from Florence. I decided to take the following route:
- Ride a train from Florence Santa Maria Novella Station to Poggibonsi. €5,30 – around 90 minutes. I just bought the ticket a few minutes before departure.
- Ride a bus from Poggibonsi to San Giminano. €1.95 – around 20 minutes.
|Some art stuff in Poggibonsi station|
There are no train stops in San Gimignano. You can also reach the town via bus but you have to switch trains in Poggibonsi. I like riding trains so I went for the train option. Although I arrive in Poggibonsi at around 10:20am, the next bus going to San Gimignano was around 11:00am. I missed that in my research. I had to kill some time so I brought my weary self rest in the train station for a bit.
|Everyone else arriving in Poggibonsi with their luggage|
What the heck is in San Giminano anyway? It is not one of the popular cities that will come to your mind when you think Italy. Nevertheless, it generates tourists from all over. San Gimignano is a walled hill town which is famous for its towers. It is also the home of the best gelato award. Of course, a scratchy throat can’t stop me from enjoying a scoop (or two) of gelato a day, I shouldn’t miss this.
Walled city against the infinitely blue sky.
The remaining mighty towers. What’s up with all these towers anyway? Well, these were built by the wealthy families to show their wealthy of (and keep an eye on others, I suppose). That earned the city’s historic center a UNESCO world heritage status for its architecture.
I think you can climb some of these towers but I wasn't feeling up to it.
I felt that time stopped centuries ago.
There are plenty of shops all over the place. I actually saw a couple of affordable synthetic boots that I’d like to buy but I was still doing another city after this and I didn’t want to carry around some stuff.
San Gimignano is hilly. I was feeling quite under the weather so I didn’t explore the hilly streets a lot. I turned and eventually found a leveled street to get lost into.
Even their churches have this same shade of brick. I said a silent prayer of thanks again. I was safe and happy in my adventure.
Ouside Chiesa Di Sant' Agostino. A couple from Argentina took this photo. I took theirs in return.
|The purple camera case in San Gimignano|
A guy from California, who was doing a motorcycle tour around Europe for five months, took this picture. Five months of traveling around Europe. Man, the benefits of not having to apply for a visa. He shared everyone thought he was crazy. Five months of being unemployed is not good on a resumé. But there is just no perfect time to take a vacation – you just have to do it.
|Hello grandma in the right.|
I had to take a break from all the walking and picture-taking. The scratchy throat coupled with the hot weather was taking a toll on me. I had a lunch in a touristy street. I know I should’ve avoided it but I was too tired to think. Lunch cost me €12.
The pesto was just...so-so.
If you need to use the restroom, there are public pay-restrooms. It will cost you €0.50 and 20 minutes of queuing time.
Time for that best gelato in the world.
No scratchy throat can keep me from tasting pistacio and coffee gelato. This is mind blowing. I sat in a corner and watched the people go by. Almost everyone had a cone in hand.
Then it was time to go to Sienna. Sienna is an hour long bus ride from San Gimignano. You have to go back to Poggibonsi to catch the bus going to Siena. I wanted to keep my schedule open so I took a pic of the bus sked and I just caught one whenever I felt like leaving San Gimignano.
Bus tickets can be bought in tobacco shops (Tabacchi) in the city. They have this map. I took a picture too - I can't handle remembering too many Italian names.
That's it for San Gimignano. Ciao!
On to Siena!