Pistoia is just a 17 minute train ride from Prato. When we learned the apartment upstairs was doing some major renovations we made hasty plans to go there to get away from the noise. My sister made reservations over the internet. Armed with the address and instructions to get the key from a place 100 meters from where we would stay we hopped on the train. After masterfully negotiating narrow passageways that were never meant to accommodate a car. Our taxi was easily able to locate our home for 3 nights and dropped us off right in front of the door. Now finding where how to check in, was a another story. We quickly realized we should have had the taxi drop us off at the second address. Oops.
We didn’t have a map, GPS, internet connection or a working phone. We devised a plan. I would stay with our baggage by the door of where we knew we were staying, and my sister would look for the street of the room management office. How hard could that be? A hundred meters, wish I had a better understanding of the metric system.
Pisotia is beautiful medieval city and a challenge to navigate even with a map. At least we knew if we didn’t find “the key master” it was a short train ride back to Prato, if we could find our way back to the train station.
As I stood there waiting my sister circled back my way twice. On her second time round I suggested she pop into the hotel right next to us. Surely they would know where this street was. She came out shaking her head “they say they don’t know.” Really? How is that possible? It’s only 100 meters from here.
OK off she goes again in a different direction. At this point I’m desperately try to think of what to do. Then the door to the apartments opens and this handsome young man steps out. I look at him and decide I need to at least try to talk to him. So in my very best Italian accent, I say “scusi.” Now I have his attention I realize it’s silly to try and move forward with my feeble Italian. So I ask in my next question with my perfect American accent “do you speak English?” His reply is “a little”, which is what they all say before they embarrass you with language skills you would kill to have in their language.
So I proceed to ask him if he knows anything about the room rentals. He says yes, and I ask if he can tell me where we go to get the key. He says he can take me there. Okay, I’m not sure if I should leave while my sister is off wondering the streets of Pistoia. But this may be our best hope of ever finding the B & B office. So off we go. Me and this young man who introduces himself as Lorenzo. As we are walking I’m mentally leaving bread crumbs and craning my neck around for a glimpse of my sister.
Finally I see her. It takes a bit for her to respond and she is clearly alarmed when she sees me with this strange man. I explain to her that he is helping us. Lorenzo proves to be pretty chatty. He’s on a weekend here with his Scottish girlfriend. They are enjoying all the museums and restaurants.
He takes us down the street to the right then two more streets, a left down what feels more like a corridor than a street, then points to the door on the right. There isn’t a B & B sign, just a list of names and a buzzer.
Without Lorenzo’s help we never would have found it. We are grateful to have relied on the kindness of a stranger.