Breaking Point on the Road to Como
Yesterday I had my very first “I hate traveling moment”. I have yet to experience one of these since leaving New Zealand back in the middle of June. I wouldn’t say it was a “I hate this, get me on the first plane home” kind of moment but more of a ” I hate this, I want to spend all of my money on a flash hotel and hide there under the blankets with the air conditioning on, eating room service and watching movies” kind of moment. This moment came about after a wonderful day in fair Verona (see Snippets-Verona for photos and details) and ended near the middle of the night in a quiet, wet train station in Como.
I was up early to take the train from Peschiera Del Garda to Verona on Monday morning only to find that it was delayed by half an hour. I had heard that the Italian rail service was not the most reliable but this was my first encounter since being here with a delay of any sort. Not to worry, I had all the time in the world as of course I am unemployed and traveling solo. I got to Verona at around 10.30am and spent a great day walking all over the city and I absolutely loved it there. It is a popular tourist destination but I would say it’s less crowded than Rome and Venice and there are certain areas of the city that remain quite desolate of tourists for the most part of the day. I had my train route home all planned out as I was to meet my new couch surfing hosts in Como at 6.30pm. I needed to catch the train from Verona back to Lake Garda to pick up my bags and then continue on to Milan where I was to catch the next train to Como, arriving between 6.30 and 7pm. Easy. Well maybe in a country like Germany. Not so easy in Italy as I found out.
My train back to the lake was delayed by half an hour (Oh bugger!) so in turn I missed my first choice of train to Milan meaning I had to wait another forty minutes. When I finally got on my way, the train went backwards. Seriously?! The train wasn’t meant to go backwards! So I went all the way back to Verona where we sat stationary in the train for 20 minutes only to travel back to Peschiera Del Garda to sit for another 20 minutes (Oh shit!), this was going to be a long trip I could tell. What was worse was that no one spoke English so I had no idea what was going on or when I was to arrive. The train finally got rolling at about 7.15pm (already very late) and I arrived in Milan at 9pm (not good). From there it was on to Como, but wait …. my train was delayed (of course!) In the end I didn’t reach my destination until 10.30pm and when I arrived I was greeted by the late night station inhabitants and a cellphone that decided to run out of credit (Oh F&*K!) just as I was to tell my hosts that I had arrived. Several scenarios started racing through my mind as I eyed my co-habitatants of the dank and dark station, none of which involved me inside a safe, warm, house far from the drunks and the displaced. Running through all of my options I thought I could wait it out in the hopes that my hosts would get worried and come and find me or I could take my chances on the late night streets and ask around for a nearby hostel.This was the moment. I hate travelling.
As I began walking out of the station I noticed in the window of a bar, in front of the occupied polkie machines, a familiar orange logo that loosened my navy seal style knots in an instant. WIND! My Italian sim card provider! Thank you Italian Jesus for coming to my rescue. I was able to get the barman to top up my sim card with enough credit to call my hosts and tell them of my arrival. Within 10 minutes I saw the big green car puling up beside me and I was welcomed in to the home of the most generous hosts anyone could be lucky enough to have through the couch surfing project. They had waited all evening with dinner in the oven to greet me and had provided me with everything I could need for a great nights sleep. So after a long day of seeing the unpredictable side of Italian public transport, I had finally reached my next destination and found my new friends and fellow surfers. After a delicious dinner and some even better gelato for dessert, I lay my head down on the couch and thought to myself “my god I love travelling” and that ‘blankets over my head’ moment was gone….. until the next one of course. ¡viva those fleeting moments!