Living Abroad: Italy


By Erich Roepke /// Staff Writer

The other day, I decided to take the bus back to Siena after a long weekend in Florence. I got to the station on the Monday after Easter and checked the schedule. My bus was due to depart at 10:30. I saw the bus and the sign didn’t seem to be working, but the people in front of me mentioned Siena. The bus had a Siena logo, so I got on. I didn’t want to look like a tourist, so I got on the bus and put on my headphones, in Italian fashion.

Well, as you probably surmised, this was the wrong bus.

The route seemed the same until about half an hour in ­— we then veered off onto a small country road. The realization that I was totally screwed dawned and I couldn’t help but laugh. It was a major holiday and I was about to be dropped off somewhere unfamiliar with all of my stuff from the weekend. The bus jerked to a stop, the driver glanced up and I gave him a final look of false confidence as I stepped off into a small town in Chianti.

I started to walk. Everything was closed except one bar with about ten 60-year-old men gambling. I ordered a beer and when I mentioned the bus, the bartender told me it was the last one from this town for the day.


I took an extra large gulp of Peroni. He then told me that there was a bus in the town about 10 km from there, but I would have to leave the road on a series of trails.


There went the rest of the Peroni.

I began to walk. As I started on the first trail, I started to laugh again. I was crossing vineyards and forests, surrounded by Tuscany. I strode on. As I crossed a field, I noticed a parking lot filled with Audis and Mercedes. As I came closer, a deck filled with tables and people came into view. I had happened upon some sort of vineyard resort. They seemed a bit concerned that a large, dirty guy just strode out of the woods with all his possessions on his un-showered person. After an exchange in Italian, I was invited over to the wine bar, where I was given a tasting. I stayed there and drank for two hours, making friends and sharing stories.

I missed the next bus. I made it to the last bus from the region with minutes to spare. As I boarded to return to Florence, I thought back on one of my best days of my life: a day full of happy accidents. I have had no bad days in Tuscany.


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