The Gateway

The Gateway
The separation between life and death

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Travelling Continued

Needless to say, as great as our day was, it couldn't continue to stay as amazing as it had been. We meandered about in Pisa a bit longer after my last update and then returned to the train station to catch a train back to Roma, so that we could then catch our night train to Bari. None of our compartments ever end up being together at night it seems, except for this night when Lauren and Becca were together. I myself ended up in a compartment with three young Italian guys (who were definitely returning from an anime convention in Pisa), an African man, and a highly disgruntled African woman. The Italians left in the middle of the night and were replaced by two Italian women, and after a lot of flip-flopping, I ended up having an empty seat across from me and got some sleep. All in all, not too bad though, as far as sleeping in a tiny room with five total strangers goes.
Then we arrived in Bari sometime around 6:00, and stumbled out of the station to regroup and decide on the day's events. While sitting there, we suddenly realized that our train tickets that night were actually leaving from Milano to go to Napoli...not leaving from Bari. After a few moments of talking about it, we decided to abandon exploring Bari (which seemed rather small and not exciting to begin with) and hop back on a train to Milano, and end the day there. This sounds simple enough I'm sure, and we got back on another train about 7:30. About half and hour to forty five minutes later, we were informed that we needed a reservation to be on that train, which we hadn't known about, and were forced to get off the train in Baletta. From there, after wishing wholeheartedly we hadn't made such an error, we managed to catch a different train to Bologna, maybe ten minutes later. However, we'd been on that train for about an hour or so when we were again informed that we needed a reservation...even though the lady on the train before had told us we wouldn't need one. Rather than charging us, they entered us into the train system and moved our seats down to very low class. We ended up mostly just sitting in the hall outside a compartment, being very unhappy with our current lot in life. We finally managed to make it to Bologna, and from there onto a train that wouldn't require us to make a reservation...and arrived in Milano around 16:30. An entire day spent hopping trains and sleeping pretty much, and also being told we were in the wrong place. There was so little time left that we mostly just camped out in the Milano train station until we left on our night train to Napoli.
My adventure for the night involved a very caring Italian man, a smiley Italian who slept a lot, two Americans who were also studying abroad in Europe, and a drunk Italian man. It started pleasantly, and ended as being the worst night train yet for me. But enough of that.
We then were dumped in Napoli...and started warily to explore. We ended up deciding to adventure to the Duomo and orient ourselves from there. There were a couple of Vesari frescoes, but also free bathrooms. The bathrooms were the most important to us at that point. After that, we wandered towards the Castella Nuovo and also the Teatro San Carlo nearby. The Castella cost money to go inside, and we planned to go in the Teatro and look around...but they were filming a thing outside the Teatro, preventing us from entering. However, I did manage to get a video of the short scene they were shooting, complete with Italians in snazzy Victorian costume. It was definitely worth it, though I'm sure the Teatro is glorious inside. We then also carried on along the waterfront to Castella dell'Uovo, which translates to Castle of the Egg. The story is that when the castle was built, Virgil buried an egg underneath it, and that if the egg ever broke, the castle (and Napoli) would fall. Or so the story goes. Either way, it's a fantastic name, and we explored that place as much as possible. And then it was lunch time. Once we'd finished eating, and establishing that Napoli is probably the dirtiest city we'd ever been in, we trekked back to the train station...and rather lengthy walk. And then we sat for three hours, growing more and more uneasy with the people around us. We were very quick to jump on our train when it arrived, as long as it would take us away from the shady characters springing out of the concrete. The train we got on was scheduled to connect in Bologna about 5:30 and then we would catch an early train over to Venezia.
That night? The best night train experience for me. I don't know that I'll ever be able to have such a great night again. Our train left the platform with only myself and a fairly young Italian guy in our compartment. It turns out that he spoke remarkably good English, and so we started chatting. His name was Francesco and he was also headed to Bologna, to go back to university after taking a break for Halloween. He was definitely one of the sweetest Italians I've met since coming here, and I'm very glad we spent several hours talking before we both tried to get some sleep. I had no worries about any of the other people in our compartment for once too, such as awkward leg contact or uncomfortable proximity on head rests, because he was sitting across from me and I was on the corridor seat. So good times~
And now, I've been sitting in a coffee shop in Venezia for a pretty decent length of time, recharging my laptop and enjoying having internet. However, we will soon be recharged and ready to explore, so you'll have to wait until we have more adventures to get another update~

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