This trip marked my first experience staying in a hostel. Even though I haven’t stayed in one, I had a pretty good idea of what to expect.
Apparently, one of our roommates did not.
This woman, roughly 45, was visiting Florence from another country, and clearly didn’t think through her commitment to a communal room. I’m starting to doubt if she has ever lived with or encountered another person.
Friday night, we returned to our room at 1 a.m.,which she reminded us of roughly 15 times even as we whispered and tip-toed around the room in the dark. She kept saying she just didn’t understand.
Naturally, I was the first to cross a boundary, by changing in my corner of the room. She expressed disgust, which for the sake of my own self esteem I will choose to not read too far into. Once we went to bed, she continuously yelled shh at one of our roommates for snoring. Next, she hovered over another roommate’s bed and woke her up to tell her to be quiet. Allison has a tendency to talk in her sleep, which apparently was unacceptable.
After the roomie from hell flipped through channels on the TV at 3 a.m. (I’m assuming we were too free spirited and noisy for her to sleep) she woke us up at 5 a.m. with a 10 minute phone conversation. Something tells me that could have waited, but considering it happened the next morning as well, it must be her thing.
Luckily, by the time I woke, I had an amazing wine tour to look forward to. Three friends and I met the bus just a few blocks from our hostel and began our day. We spent the morning in Siena, visiting the Siena duomo, exploring the city, and tasted a Siena speciality that we nicknamed sugar balls.
Next, we took a beautiful scenic drive to a Chianti vineyard, where we were having lunch on an organic farm. I just feel like that sentence speaks for itself. It was refreshing to be surrounded by green hills, plains and every beautiful part of nature you forget about living in a city as big as Rome.
The four course meal of toast with olive oil, pasta, salad (non-vegeterians had pork tenderloin), and almond cookies were made completely of organic ingredients from their farm. Each course was accompanied by tastings (then glasses) of white wine, Chianti, Merlot, and dessert wine. The care and appreciation Italians have for food and wine has been inspiring all semester, which was even more evident here.
We finished our tour with a visit to Pisa, and were brought back to Florence after some touristy photos. My three friends and I met up with the rest of our group, who decided to stay in Florence for the day. We explored the city, had a wonderful dinner at Mamma Gina’s and swapped stories from our days.
The next morning, I got up early to walk around Florence one last time with my friend, Rachel, who had also gone on the wine tour. I was glad I was up, because our angry roommate turned on the lights in the hostel room, packed loudly and had more phone conversations. I received more glares while changing, but you can’t win ’em all.
All in all, I strongly recommend the Walkabout Florence tours. Everything was planned perfectly and required little to no effort from participants. We had the perfect amount of time in each place and got a true feel for the Tuscany region. Also, considering the number of laughs our hostile hostel buddy gave us, I wouldn’t have changed a thing.