Florence was much more of a bustling city than Brussels had been. While Dani and I were very anxious to take on the Italian city, we were also extremely exhausted from so much travel as well as still toting our loaded bags with us. After realizing that attempting to wander the streets with our luggage was not going to work we went to the bus station to get a ticket to the small Tuscan town where our hostel was located: Castleflorentino. While we did have to wait quite awhile for our bus and later found out that the train tickets were actually cheaper, I still hold some level of gratitude for the bus ride we took to Castleflorentino.
While I did somewhat feel like I was back on Bobby Selch's school bus from my eleme ntary school days due to the incredible amount of snaking through the hills we did, the view was nothing like that from the old school bus. We seemed to just climb up on hill, wind back down, only to snake up another. But upon every one of them the view of Tuscany was amazing. From the tops you could see the green rolling hills dotted with cream colored houses that peeked through the trees. Small villages of similar houses covered the foothills and valleys. This is the Italy I imagined and seeing it all gave me such a sense of relaxation that I needed more than I realized.
Castleflorentino was indeed a small quiet town and it rests idealy between Florence, Siena and Pisa. After spending a full day traveling and then finding ourselves in the mess of tourists and craziness in Florence, I felt so relieved to be in this small Tuscan town where the green hills were in such close view. I felt even better when Dani said she felt the same way. I couldn't help but think to myself beforehand that this was a sure sign that I am a small town girl at heart, making me someone worried that Dani would find it a pain to be a 45 minute train ride away from the city we had originally planned to stay in. (She's an Atlanta/Indianapolis girl...Quite a bit different from little old Liberty, Kentucky.) Somehow though, without any knowledge of what we were really doing when we booked the hostel, we had definitely chosen the right place for us both.
I love the cities and their magnificent buildings and streets, but nothing puts me at ease like a small town found in the quiet foothills of rolling green knobs.