Ok, so maybe I actually took a train that ran on a track, but so what? Being “on the road” just sounded cooler! Anyways this particular journey from the region of Campania to Tuscany was definitely not without it’s pitfalls. It may have started with me walking an hour, luggage in hand, uphill the whole way (I know, this almost sounds like a grandparent describing their walk to school when they were younger). Needless to say, when I actually reached the town I intended to take the first train from, I was pretty damn tired.
Upon asking the locals where I could find the train station, I was met with amusement and laughter, as they explained to me that there was no train station in Sicignana Degli Alburni (Fan-freaking-tastic!!). They told me, I would have to take a bus at 2pm to the first station, and from there head off to Rome. Simple enough, I thought. While enjoying my 3rd cappuccino of the day before noon, the barista asked me where I was headed and I replied that I was on my way to Tuscany. We attempted to have a conversation, but my Italian either sounded too broken, or I just wasn’t being clear. She decided to call over an older woman from across the street who spoke very good English.
“Where are you headed?” she asked politely. “Well I’m off to work on a farm in Tuscany, and I was planning on taking the train there.” She looked concerned and mentioned that her and her husband were headed back to Rome via the closest running train and offered me a ride to the nearest station. Oh happy day!! I thought to myself. So I agreed, and we set off to where the Sicignana train station was actually located (Not anywhere near Sicignana Degli Alburni of course!!). Upon arriving at the station, you’d almost think the place was abandoned, with the barred windows & doors, and zero staff working there. At this point, I definitely knew I had lucked out meeting this woman exactly when I did.
From this point on, it looked as if it would be pretty smooth sailing all the way to Tuscany. Of course, I was wrong. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it went a hell of a lot better than my journey from Rome to Salerno previously, but more challenges would in fact, present themselves. We arrived in Napoli, via the first train and at that point I parted ways with my new and terribly friendly companions, left to fend for myself. This time, I thought to myself, not a soul will even dare take advantage of me on my way to Tuscany. And they didn’t.
Napoli offered a brief repose, in an otherwise exhausting day. I enjoyed one of the best pizzas I’ve ever eaten in my life, made with Alfredo sauce, basil, prosciutto crudo & mozzarella. Luckily for me, the gentleman I dealt with at the train station when buying my tickets was ridiculously helpful, and let me know the exact details of how I would be getting to my final station of Montalto di Castro in Tuscany.
The train ride itself, was smooth as silk and I honestly found it pretty soothing, just watching the scenery go by. After transferring trains in Civitavecchia, it wouldn’t be long before I arrived in sweet, sweet Tuscany.
At last! I’m here! Thank the lord!! My day of travel is finally at an end. Now, to just send Roberto the farm owner, an email letting him know I’ve arrived. I’ll just sit in this tiny little station and connect to the internet. Oh wait, I need a password? And no staff are currently in the station? For the love of god!!! I was so close to a seamless transition from Campania to Tuscany, and this happens!! Perfect!
So what do I decide to do you ask? Well, I start by walking down the street from the station at spot a family eating a late dinner outside of their farm, so I ask in my best Italian, if they would be so kind as to let me use their phone. And in the father’s best broken English, he somewhat politely says, sorry buddy! …Prick.
So back to the station I go. Thy have to have a payphone right? Some way to communicate with the outside world, they just have to! As I walk back into the station, I spot a bag and realize “I can ask this person to use their phone!! Oh, happy day!!) Luckily for me, this gentleman happily obliged my request and, at long last I managed to reach Roberto. He tells me he’ll be by the station in 40 minutes to pick me up. Sweet baby jesus, thank you!!
While we’re on the way back to Roberto’s farm, I can already tell I like the guy. He doesn’t speak the best English, so we talk mostly in French (Weird!!), and get along great. Finally, upon arrival at the farm, I have the pleasure of sitting down to a 3 course, Tuscan meal of delicious proportions. God bless these people, I think to myself. Roberto sets me up in a tiny little trailer, near the edge of the farm and I pass out like a wee little baby. A very happy, satisfied and relieved little baby.