A Journey

Why is it, that getting the kids out of the house on a school day is nearly impossible, but getting them packed and ready to catch a series of intercity trains and be at Zia Rita’s house by 9am, is a piece of cake?  Our train left at 10:45 and Zia Rita wanted to see us before we left town.  We couldn’t refuse, as we know her quite well.  4 years ago she moved from Melbourne back to Italy to be nearer her 3 children.  That one one moved to Canada while she was in the process of getting over to Italy and the another hightailed it to the USA soon after she arrived in Italy, leaving her with just Vivienne nearby, is another story.  We weren’t sure when we would see her again, so we had to visit, albeit for only a brief time.  She lives in an apartment right on the Po river.  The view is beautiful.  See? 

So, we dashed across the bridge, had a quick cuppa,and dashed back in time for Colette to take us to the station.  She’s been amazing for the last 4 days.  She’d welcomed us into her home, cooked for us, taken us out to eat.  We’d used her professionally as well.  She’s a dentist.  Yanni had pointed out a wobbly tooth on the plane over to Europe, but all I saw was the permanent tooth growing in front of it, so we consulted Colette about this and ended up in her surgery for a proper look which ended up in the removal of the offending tooth!  She’d even taken time off work, (except for half an hour on Friday afternoon), to spend time with us!  Now she was not offering, nor insisting, but telling us that she was taking us to the station.  

So we get to the station and our train arrives.  It’s a Freccebianca, a fast train, but the slowest fast train.  We say our goodbyes, make promises to see each other soon, and we get on the train.  We find our seats and sit comfortably for the next hour, knowing that our train is late and when we get off we will only have 10 minutes to find the platform for the next train.

The next train is a Frecceargento, the fastest fast train.  It should be a 1 hour ride from Bologna to Venice.  It’s usually about a 3-4 hour drive.  I’m excited and nervous, I mean, if we miss it, it’s going to be be a huge waste of money.  But it’s late too, 35 minutes late.  The bonus is we haven’t missed it and I can get a photo of it.

  

I know the train was going slowly, but I only had one shot at the photo and this man could see what I was doing, coz I was the one looking like an idiot taking a photo with an iPad, so he gets his head in my post!  So we march the kids on, past all the suitcases lining the entrance, to our seats.  Firstly there’s a mix up with some seats and the conductor has to sort it out with the guy and 2 women, all crammed where we are trying to sort ourselves out.  Eventually they all sit.  The kids sit.  The Pazzo and I are standing with our luggage on our seats wondering where to put it.  I mean, there is luggage everywhere.  Not just ours, but everyone else’s as well.  Any bag larger than hand luggage doesn’t fit anywhere, except in the aisle like everyone else’s.  Eventually we sit and cram it where we can.  No-one is very comfortable, lucky it’s not for too long.  Eventually we settle and start looking around at the wonder of this train.  It even has screens for advertising, and the route the train is taking, the weather.  The most fascinating a the speedometer.  We are travelling at 220km/hr.  Wow.  The corners are seriously banked to keep the train on the tracks!  As uncomfortable as we are, we are starting to be quietly impressed!

However the 30 minute delay means we have missed our connecting train, which is unfortunately just a normal train, so we jump on the 1st train from Venice to Trieste.  We didn’t look, we just got on.  There was no time for looking, the train was leaving, and it was going to where we needed to go.   I spoke to the conductor and showed him the ticket.  He looked sorry as he told me that this train would take more time than the train we had originally booked.  He didn’t tell me how much longer.  Turns out it took about an hour longer on this train, it really does take the scenic route!  As we arrive we have 3 restless kids who are ready to run around.  We check in to the hotel and head off to Zia Gina’s florist shop, knowing that it might be closed, but thinking a walk would be a good idea. A walk is a good idea, but the shop is closed, and so we will see Zia Gina in the morning!  We head to a bar, the Pazzo needs a beer and decide to get takeaway for dinner.  Everyone is asleep by 8:30, peace and quiet at last!

xxx Merri

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