Friday, August 27, 2010

Arrival in Italy - Oh the Trains!

We left Charlotte last evening on time with a plane full of Italians. In fact, I didn’t hear a word of English spoken other than the flight attendants. We had dinner on board and then it was time to try and get a little sleep. Fortunately I was in the center section and the only other person on my row was at the other aisle. I’m not sure how much sleep I actually got, but it didn’t seem like very long before we were descending into Rome. We went through passport control – where I’m not even sure they stamped my passport – and then to baggage claim. Thanks to the priority luggage sticker my bag was already there. As opposed to some of our other trips, I did not need the evening gowns, etc., so I managed to bring a “backpack ensemble”. It didn’t seem to heavy at first, but as the day has gone on, I am a bit exhausted. I followed the signs to the train station, which is attached to the airport. I knew I had 2 hours until my train, so I just sat down for a while.

I’m not quite surewhen it occurred to me, but I realized that this was not the Roma Termini which I had been in before. That’s when it hit me, I needed to take the regional train to Termini in order to catch the high-speed train to Firenze (Florence). By this point it was less than an hour and a half until my reservation, so I jumped on a kiosk, bought a ticket, validated it, and jumped on the train as the doors were closing. All I could do way say a little prayer and hope that I had made the right choice! It took about 35 minutes to get from FCO (airport) to Roma Termini. I guess this was a good exercise for heading back. I won’t make that mistake again! The next step once getting to Termini was figuring out which of the 30+ platforms I needed to go to. Since the train I am on continues all the way to Milan, it took me a bit to figure it out. I then managed to get to the correct “bin” to go up, but it was closed. At this point the train is to leave in less than 10 minutes. Fortunately there was another couple that asked and found out we had to go all the way around. By this point I am a little tired of trying to run with 40 lbs strapped to my back, but I guess it’s good exercise! I am now on the train to Firenze, so I thought I would take this opportunity to fill everyone in on the trip thus far. I’m not sure what the afternoon has in store. I would love a Panini about now and a shower. Since I seem to be doing ok on the trains, I may venture out to Pisa this afternoon and then back for dinner. I think I will take the next 1½ hours to sit back, relax, and enjoy the trip!

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