Vacation Tale #4- That's Amore!

Today's Guest Blogger is Nicole (@nicoleella10)!  Her trip to Italy!  Enjoy!

We rushed to board our train, fearing we would be late. We needed to eat lunch before we left on the four hour trip and we were finally able to find the pizza place the guide book highly recommended. It was more than worth it. The best part of my Naples, Italy experience. The place was well hidden and almost made us miss the train. I still talk about this pizza and how no other pizza has ever been as good.

We needed to make sure we got on the train to Bari. I had to get out of Naples. I hated it there. This apparently is one reaction some people have. After reading many travel websites, it seems people either really love it or really hate it.

We board the train with just a few minutes to spare and wait for it to pull out of the station. This train, instead of having cars that were open and had rows of two seats on either side, had compartments with benches. These compartments sat about six people. We chose an empty compartment and were soon joined by an Italian couple. And we waited and waited. The train was not leaving on time. This wasn’t so shocking. We had been taking the trains in Italy for almost a week – we knew that they weren’t the best in on-time performance. As we waited, I noticed a large group of guys, teenagers, were rushing to board the train. I also noticed that the people who worked on the train seemed to be getting nervous as they were checking tickets and allowing this group to board. They were checking their tickets multiple times and seemed very reluctant to let them on board. I didn’t think too much about what was going on. After they had boarded, they started causing some trouble in other parts of the train. The men who worked on the train were running up and down the cars yelling at them. Since we were all in individual compartments, I couldn’t really tell what was going on.

The next thing I see shocked and worried me. We were travelling through Europe a month after 9/11. We decided to keep our plans to travel as my boyfriend had the time off and I was starting grad school in a couple of months and wouldn’t be able to travel much for a couple of years. I was a little nervous about travelling and being away from home right after this happened, but for the most part I was able to tell myself it would be OK. However, seeing police in full riot gear surround the train made me really freak out. I told Mark (my boyfriend at the time, now my husband) that I wanted to get off the train. Something was not right. I was even willing to stay in Naples longer. Police in full riot gear with large guns were right outside our train. I did not think this would end well. He was a little worried, but assured me it would be ok and that we had a ferry to catch so we needed to be on this train.

The train finally started to pull out of the station. The police were still there, but at least we were moving and nothing had happened. All of a sudden there was a series of loud bangs. Immediately, I jump out of my seat and get on the floor trying to pull Mark down there with me. I was certain there was a showdown between the police and that gang of guys and that those were gun shots. Mark and the two other Italians in the train compartment with us were laughing at me. Needless to say, it wasn’t gun shots, it was firecrackers. That group of guys proceeded to set off firecrackers on the train for the remaining time they were travelling on it. I was not amused. They also continued to cause a lot more trouble. They were harassing two American girls who were travelling on the train. Apparently, the harassment was so bad that the girls were escorted into the first class section of the train and had a train staff member sit with them for the remainder of the journey. The guys decided to come into our compartment as well. The Italian couple got off the train a few stops into the trip so it was just us in the compartment. The guys kept coming in and smoking in our compartment. I couldn’t figure out why Mark was letting them do whatever they wanted. It was driving me crazy. I can’t stand breathing in smoke and kept trying to let them know they were not welcome. I found out later that Mark was concerned because there were so many of them and that if one got mad at us, they could call their friends to harass us as well. They eventually got off the train after two hours and the rest of our trip was uneventful. The Italians in our compartment told us that they were going to a soccer match. I misunderstood and thought that they were a soccer team. I couldn’t figure out why they would be smoking (cigarettes and pot) and drinking so much before they had to play. I then realized that they weren’t a team, they were just going to watch a game between Naples and other city. I was really happy that we wouldn’t be on the train back to Naples later that day.

Even though this happened many years ago now, this still sticks out as a kind of funny and embarrassing travel story for me. Mark still brings up the fact that I hit the deck over firecrackers.


Beautiful Mess said...

I probably would have hit the deck, too! Glad it was firecrackers and nothing else.