Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Last Full Day in Livorno, Italy - Again and Buses 101

Since I have my 3 day Livorno bus pass I decided to put it to good use today. Dai told me a few beach towns I should check out and that I could catch a bus to them from piazza grande. So, I walked to the train station and caught a bus to piazza grande. I walked around looking at all of the bus schedules and found none that said it was going to any of those towns. There is no one place to look at bus schedules, you just have to go to the different bus stops and read the major places each stop. The good thing about the schedules at the bus stop is that you know which direction the bus is going. Open circles beside the name of the stop means that is the direction it is going. Colored in circles means that it has come from there.

So I decided to jump on Bus 1 because I knew it went along the ocean. We got off somewhere along the ocean, and walked past the Naval Academy and found the local beach. I had just taken off my winter coat before I saw the beach filled with people in their skimpy swim suits - especially the men! This isn't a great beach but it is free and close to town.

I then continued walking and there were some impressive homes and hotels across the street from the beach.

After more walking along the ocean, we came to these stone gate-like buildings, obviously old but I don't know what they were for. I think there was the word 'electrcity' (in Italian) on them.

I then hopped on another bus and went back to the train station. I bought my ticket for tomorrow to Arezzo and walked back to the iberCoop mall to see if they had any new doggie things - they didn't.

But all of the bus riding made me think of the things I have learned from riding so many buses. I hope I didn't post too many of these before:

1. Always see if you can get a bus pass instead of individual tickets. It will save you money when you end up getting lost and have to change buses a few times.

2. You can buy your bus ticket on the bus but it often costs up to 50 cents more than if you bought it ahead of time.

3. Just because you are standing at a bus stop does not mean the bus will actually stop. You have to flail your arms around and look like a fool before they will give you the satisfaction of stopping. But they will often stop beyond where you are standing so you have to run to get to the door.

4. There is no politeness with people getting on a bus or train. It is every person for themselves. I was sitting on a bus and a group of people pushed their way inside. Finally a little old man toddled up to the bus - he had a cane and had a wide stance where he kind of shuffled from side to side to get some forward momentum. I didn't see him until he had shuffled almost to the door of the bus, and the bus door closed. He had a shocked look on his face. Not being able to speak anything helpful in Italian, I didn't know how to yell to the bus driver to stop and no one else did either. Even if we yelled, it is not a given that the bus would have stopped. I have missed a couple of buses when the doors closed right in front of me. I know I should have pounded on the doors but I wasn't ever in a hurry to go anywhere. And I didn't want to be embarrassed when the doors still may not open.

5. There is a "do not speak to the bus driver" sign in every bus - I think the driver points to it if he/she doesn't want to talk to someone.

6. Bus drivers seem to get a thrill out of almost hitting other cars, bikes or people. I think it adds a little fun to their lives. They also like to stop quickly, especially when the bus is full and people are barely able to find a place to hold on. I don't know why a bus driver would ever go on strike, unless they want a long weekend because they are pretty much the kings and queens of the cities.

7. Periodically, the buses just stop and the driver gets out and disappears for 15 minutes or more. Don't panic, just sit there and he/she will eventually find their bus again.

8. Never expect a bus driver to understand English - even if they do, they won't admit it.

9. If you are lost, don't ever get off of the bus, no matter how long it sits empty, unless someone says the driver has gone home for the night. Sooner or later (unless the bus breaks down) you will get back to where you started.

Once I understood the rules of the buses, I was able to just accept the quirks and just enjoy the ride - to somewhere.

We are off to Arezzo in the morning, after taking the bus to the train station!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


  1. Beautiful buildings and I love the bus stories! -Shannon

  2. I'm learning all kinds of lessons :)