Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Travelling Cheaply

One of the things we learned when we decided to "leave the nest" of our host's apartment was "pensionnes." These are low-cost lodgings, like a boarding house, that were popular with retirees getting by on a small pension.
Hence the name, pensionne.

Our travel guide - "Let's Go Italy," gave the best for each town and we never ran into a bad one. We always got a bathroom in the room - not shared - and I doubt if we ever paid more than $25. a night.

We would stay in a new town for anywhere from one day to three or four, depending on how much there was to see. Florence, for instance, merited three days, Rome four, and Venice just one and a half because of the expense and it was raining the whole time.

Then we would hop on a train - say from Milan to Florence. That was about seven hours if I remember right. We'd leave at night and we'd sleep on the train. Always second class, and that was always fine - no problems or discomfort. Comfortable enough to sleep, anyway. That's what counted; this would save the money of a night at a pensionne. This obviously worked for the longer journeys but we had many all night trips. Just about every third night or so. When we pulled into the next destination, we'd leave the bags in a locker at the train station and see which pensionne had a vacancy and if we liked the way it looked. If the place was decent, and the owner friendly, we'd end up staying there. After booking a room I'd go get the bags and head back to the pensionne for a shower.

Sleeping on the train saved us money for a good meal and, generally the ticket money to the next town.


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