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When I started my retirement travels - the first of which was my solo overseas trip to Italy in 2009 - I wanted a way to share it with family and friends as it happened. Hence, "My Travel Journal". However I realized I wouldn't always be on a trip and wondered what to do with the blog in between times. My daughter pointed out, wisely, that travels can also include trips to the kitchen to try a new recipe, trips to visit family, trips to my neighborhood Starbucks, or a fun day trip with a friend. You're welcome to join me on any of these journeys!

P.S. I've set up separate pages for each of my major trips (see tabs above).

I recently added an "Italian Word a Day" thingie which shows up at the bottom of every page. You see the word and can click to hear it pronounced. I've been enjoying it and I think my accent is improving as time goes by.

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September 26, 2010

The Saturday that Was

Good grief - where to begin for Saturday.  I really should just say it wasn't too good a day but I got to Riomaggiore and now I'm typing this on Sunday and I think this will be a better day.

But, here's a brief scenario...I and the nice man at the hotel who helped me with train schedules had decided that I could catch the 11:57 train to LaSpezia, connecting to Riomaggiore.  I think the reason we chose one that late was so I wouldn't have to make TWO connections which the earlier ones did.  So I wasn't going to get to Riomaggiore until 3:10 but figured that would give me the afternoon and evening to poke around maybe walk to the next village up the trail, etc.

Well...rethink that!

First off, this was my first experience taking a train here so, one could expect it wouldn't go perfectly.  Right out of the door of the hotel, I turned the wrong direction, finally began to think something wasn't right, had to ask for help and got pointed the right direction.  I got there and I think there were probably 10,000 people there all buying tickets from the self-serve kiosks, using ATM machines (bancomats), standing in huge long lines at the four open ticket windows.  I got in a real short line at the self serve, only to find it was cash only and I hadn't yet taken any cash out of the machine - another thing I still had to do.  So I went and stood in line for a credit card one, all the while time is ticking away, finally got up to it and couldn't make it work (I forget why).  So I decided it was the windows for me but went and looked and couldn't stand the thought, so went back to the self-serves and found a line with people speaking English, got help, finally got my ticket with about 6 minutes to get to the train which was around the corner from most of the gates (which figures), went tearing off and as I saw my train, it suddenly dawned on me I hadn't validated it - a tricky little thing you have to do cause if you don't, it's for sure some type of person will come along, ask to see it and fine you 50E.  Of course, if you do, you never see any train employee anywhere.  Incredibly enough, when I got to the door of the train frantically shouting "scusi - validatione?" there was a young couple just getting on and while we all stood there discussing it, they closed the doors.  Someone got them reopened cause, actually, all kinds of people were still coming to get on, the woman and I got on and the man said he would go validate it!  I said "no, no - you'll miss the train" and off he ran,.  He didn't miss the train, my ticket got validated, and I don't know how I'm so lucky to always meet such very nice people.  There English was perfect, they were from India, and we had quite a nice visit off and on for the duration of the trip.  The train, by the way, felt like my kitchen did when I self-cleaned my oven right before I left. :)

Okay, that was the train experience.  Now, just to keep things brief, I'll copy the e-mail I sent to my daughter Heather in which I gave a very concise report of my first "day" in Riomaggiore.

By the time I got here and waited to be met,then waited while she showed two guys to their place first and took all their information and answered all their questions and then came and did me and told me  that I needed to pay her now and in cash and I had no cash, and we went to the first ATM and I couldn't get it to work, and we walked back down the mountain to another one, and finally after two  tries got it to work, and I paid her and she left (pant, pant) and I went to the WiFi place and paid 5E for my piddly hour on-line, and then walked back up the mountain (by this time the beautiful blue sky was completely clouded over and it was around 4:30 or so) and got lost trying to find my apartment and tried calling the numbers I have for the "place" and the damned phone wouldn't work, and
decided to slit my wrists or at least never travel again, and decided that first I would forge ahead on one more attempt at the apartment and it worked and I got there, the day was pretty much over. But...rather than hide under the bed until time to leave Riomaggiore, I decided to venture out a little later when I could see what looked like a clearing sky and a possibly lovely sunset and somehow managed to get myself to an absolutely lovely lookout place with the water crashing on the rocks below and the sun slowly setting in a golden blaze.  Very, very nice...and here are a few pictures of that loveliness.

And that was it.  I walked back to my street, bought a banana, a carton of strawberries, some crusty bread and cheese and a bottle of wine and went home and tried to eat and drink myself into a stupor cause I'm in the process of trying to get a cold and trying not to and I wanted to sleep!

So, buona sera


rosanna said...

Hi dear, your train travel has been a tipical one ;o) Italian trains are not famous for being either punctual or clean :o(
But Rio Maggiore is a must ee. I have to warn you about La Spezia, apart from a nice modern art museum it is the most boring, not to say ugliest,little town in Italy. It's a shame they take you there. You must try and go to Sarzana instead.But the cooking class sounds fun :o))
Keep your invitation for next year, I'd love to show you my home town. try not to get a cold and have a nice night sleep, Rosanna

January said...

Wow. It's always an adventure, isn't it? :) I think that sunset view must've been worth it, though, because the pictures are stunning, and real-life probably just about knocked your very tired socks off.

Don't get a cold. That's an order.

Christopher said...

Wow, that is a gorgeous shoreline with waves crashing on the rocks... rough day or not, it certainly looks worth the effort!

jfalls said...

Ok - your very own version of "Planes, trains and automobiles"! You are incredible! Most people would be screaming into the streets, but not you. No siree. You are going to do it! But the sunset photos are amazing! Can't wait to hear about the cooking class.
Love ya,


tstickler said...

I am so enjoying reading your your tales and details, especially about the people you are meeting along the way. Enjoy your adventures my friend, and be safe.
Love and Prayers, Tracey

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