Foggy night in Pisa
Having managed to get my new emergency passport this afternoon, I had no reason to hang around in Rome any longer (nor anywhere to stay in Rome); so I continued on to my next destination: Pisa. The train to Pisa was an easy three hours, with a change in Florence: I got the high-speed "EuroStar Italia" from Rome to Florence, which was nice but absolutely packed — I can see why they have compulsory reservations on the EuroStar trains. From Florence, it was just an all-stops local train to Pisa Centrale — I pulled in there at about 8:30pm. And when I arrived, I found the famous city to be completely enveloped in a thick fog. Not to worry: the fog didn't stop me finding my bed for the night; and it had all cleared up by the next morning.
Pisa's a quiet place of a Monday night. The place I was meant to be staying — the "Welcome Bed and Breakfast" (I couldn't find any hostels for Pisa — surprising, but hey, you shouldn't expect too much here in Italy) — had instructed me to catch the blue "Lam" bus to reach them. However, by the time I arrived and found the central bus stop, this bus (a special express service) had already finished for the evening. But by asking a few drivers, I managed to find an alternate bus, that still took me quite close to where the B&B is located. Just a short walk down the street, and I was there.
The Welcome B&B, contrary to its name, was not so welcoming this evening. Firstly, I received a nasty price surprise when I arrived: I was under the impression (from looking on their web site, and from using their booking form) that they offered dorm rooms, and that I could pay the minimum price for a single bed in their largest dorm. But this wasn't quite the case: they only rented out their largest "dorm" (a 4-bedder) to groups; and even for their smallest dorm room (a 2-bedder), they wanted the price of the whole room, whether or not it was fully occupied. Secondly, the owner and manager of the B&B (a very nice woman, if a bit busy and stressed) told me that they were overbooked tonight (sounds familiar — is there anywhere in this country that's not dodgy?), since the heavy fog in the city had grounded all the airport's planes, and since numerous tourists were stuck in town for the night. But she offered to move me to another guesthouse that she operates, where she had a private room available for the same price as what I'd originally expected to pay tonight (also the same price as an 8-person dorm bed in Rome).
I was a bit disappointed with all this: but despite the problems, the woman in charge was really nice; so I agreed to her offer, and I let her drive me to the Central Station Guesthouse (which, despite having no breakfast, is actually in a much better location than is the B&B), where she did indeed give me a lovely private room. Once I'd checked in, I was bloody tired and even more hungry: so I went round the corner, grabbed a pizza for dinner, and then crashed into bed.