15th June, 2019
Previous readers of my blog may remember my last post about my problems with Italian train. If you want to revisit the drama, need a refresh or have no idea at all what I am on about, you can catch up on what you missed here.
Well, sifting through some of my writing files, I stumbled across a recount which I had forgotten about. It was a wild story. So, naturally, I decided to share it with you all!
Strap yourselves in, folks! We are about to experience the beauty of Italian trains!
And, this time, I promise that it was not my fault!
I am currently on a bus in the middle of Abruzzo. Where I am exactly, I couldn’t tell you. Nor do I know where we are going.
But let me tell you the story of how I came to be here.
Today at 15:20pm, I caught a train from Celano-Ovindoli which was bound for Roma Tiburtina. From Tiburtina, I was going to catch my connecting train to Bologna.
I got on the train, waved goodbye to my Zia, and the train set off.
We came to Avezzano, the first stop. As we pulled up, the ticket inspector came into the carriage. As he neared me, I started to take out my ticket, but he shook his head.
“There is a problem with the train,” he informed me. “We are going to wait here for half an hour while they fix it.”
I sighed. I had been on the train (which had no working aircon) for a grand total of two minutes, and we had already run into problems. That’s pretty quick, even for Trenitalia!
Twenty minutes later, he passed by again with an update: “We are going to get off the train at Carsoli. Two more stops. When we get there, there will be a bus.”
There is a problem with the train. A problem serious enough that we need to get off the train. BUT the train is fine enough for us to continue travelling on it for a little longer.
“Does the bus go to Tiburtina?” I asked. “I have to change trains at Tiburtina.”
“Yes, ,yes, it will do all the stops,” he assured me.
After a while, the train started to move again. According to the announcements, we were “26 minutes” late. However, I had been watching the clock, and I knew that we were in fact 34 minutes late.
We arrived at the next station, and then passed on to Carsoli, where we were all required to step off the train.
The ticket inspector informed us that the bus would waiting for us out the front of the station, so we able through the station to the little cul-de-sac out the front.
The bus was not waiting for us outside the station.
Nor anywhere, it seemed.
The minutes dragged on. Finally, the ticket inspector appeared from the station and someone asked him when the bus would coming.
“I don’t know!” he called out, walking towards a nearby café. “I have no idea, and I have no idea if I am supposed to come or stay with you.” He shrugged, leaning out of the café doorway, and then disappeared inside.
A bus came by, but didn’t stop.
Then another bus pulled up, Roma written on the side. We all began to murmur amongst ourselves, hopeful.
We edged towards the bus and asked the driver, who was leaning out of the window, if his bus was the train replacement and he had come to pick us up.
We received an enlightening response: “I dunno.”
Well ain’t that dandy.
As if on cue, our ticket inspector appeared again.
There was more muttering, some confusion, many people asking questions. The inspector and the bus driver began to question each other and promptly realised that neither of them knew what the hell is going on. They separated from each other, each pulling out his phone to angrily telephone other people.
The rest of the stranded passengers and I collectively sighed and did what we had quickly learnt to do. We waited.
The bus driver returned from his call first. He informed us that must wait on “a person” to arrive to tell him where to go, because he thought that he was supposed to drive only to Tivoli, while we were informed that a bus would be sent as a train replacement and would be able to drive each of us to our respective stations.
At this point, everyone has begun to get a little bit upset.
In the meantime, the ticket inspector, standing a little way off and still on the phone, has begun to get more aggressive.
Several minutes later, we were instructed to board the bus.
It is now 5:40pm. I was supposed to catch my connecting train from Tiburtina at 6:00pm. We are still driving through mountains (albeit pretty ones) in the middle of nowhere.
No one knows where exactly we are headed. No one knows when we will arrive. It all sounds like an exciting adventure movie until you remember that we have young children with us and an elderly man with an eyepatch and crutches, and none of us know when we will be able to grab a drink of water or pee. I have started to hand out snacks to other passengers. Everyone is on the edge of their breaking point.
And that is Part One of my Italian train drama! Tune in next week to find out exactly where we ended up!