Italian Railway

I’ve done my fair share of traveling, this is a story from when I was backpacking through Northern Italy about ten years ago. The basic set up for the story is that my friends and I spent the night in a hostel in Genoa, we had traveled all day from Rome in one of the hottest summers on record.  We had met some Belgium travelers (And of German Gypsy) who offered to share their beer and hash.  We all sat on the stairs talking about our travels.  They told us of a place they had just been with the most beautiful beaches where people drink and play music by the fire all night long. The next day we set out for this place, Cinque Terre (The five villages).  You had to travel by boat to the first four, and if you wanted, the 5th village had a train station. We met up with some Canadians on the train headed to the same place so we made friends and set out together.  The first stop was La Spacia where we needed to catch the ferry.  All being hungry, myself and one of the Canadians went to grab few slices of pizza for the group while the others waited by the dock.  The asshole owner knew we said slices, I pointed to slices, but the next thing I knew, he comes out from the back with 8 full pizzas.  I bought them all and headed back to the rest of the group with my head down in shame like a tourist that had just been duped.  The more you travel, the more you think your better than stuff like that, but it was more funny than embarassing, so we laughed about it before boarding the ferry. I dont remember all of the details, but somehow we decided that it was getting late and we were going to get off at the first stop, turn around and head back to Genoa (Where all of our things were).  We got off and followed the crowd past a machine gun holding gaurd in a tiny gaurd house to a small area of beach with a shop and cafe, lots of out door seating and families enjoying them selves everywhere.  It was amazing, and everything was so cheap.  We asked when the next ferry would arrive and found out it would be over an hour, so we swam, well at least I did while my friend laid in the sun.  As I enjoyed my swim, I could hear little kids playing games in Italian and watched one or two old men swim past me with claim nets trying to find dinner.  This is the real Italy, I thought to myself.  As we left the beach to catch the ferry, my friend noticed the gaurd, “Holy shit, that guys holding a gun.”  “Yeah, I thought you knew, this is a military base, all of the green jeeps, overly cheap prices, and guys with guns gave it away pretty early.  I thought we were just going with the flow.”   It was too late to freak out and no one cared we were there, so all in all it was one of those experiences that you could not replicate if you tried.  Funny enough, when we boarded the ferry we ran in to our Canadian friends.  Turns out, the original ferry went to the wrong place.  It seemed fate wanted us to go th Cinque Terre with these people, so off we went.  The boat ride was amazingly beautiful, and after passing the first four villages, we docked at the fifth village. ImageWe hit the beach, and as the sun began to set, we set out to find a place to sleep.  Understand that this was supposed to be a day trip and all of our things were in a locker back in the hostel in Genoa.  We found a hotel, and that’s when we ran into a problem.  We didn’t have our passports, and couldn’t book a room without them.   It was getting dark, so we said our goodbyes and headed to the train station to get back to Genoa. We managed to catch the last train of the night.  We grabbed a prosciutto and mozzarella sandwich (The best I have ever had), and hopped on the train. We were tired and the train ride was quite.  We were the only two on the cart.  We made a few stops and were beginning to worry as the time flew by.  The gates of our hostel locked at midnight and we were beginning to think that we were not going to make it.  The train made another stop and the conductor said something in Italian, it got really quite, and then the lights went out.  We ran to the doors to find them stuck shut.  We ran to the window to call for help, but there was no one on the platform.  I was now freaking out and we began to run up and down the train to try and find someone on the platform who could help.  As I was trying to rip the doors open (Unsuccessfully) we saw someone that worked for the rail system.  We shouted out to him, he angrily shouted back while giving us a look like we were the dumbest Americans in the World, and he had a pretty good argument right about now.  He called someone who came to unlocked the door, and luckily for us there was one more train to Genoa.  It was really late when we got to Genoa and we needed to make a mad dash to get to the Hostel by midnight.  We took a bus up to the top of the hill, having to sit next to two young lovers who were loudly making out the whole time. It was 15 past where the bus pulled up to our stop, we ran to the gate with our fingers crossed, the moment of truth.  We pulled as hard as we could and… Thankfully, it opened.  We made it, what a day.Image


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