In December of 2010 I was in Italy. After a few incredible days in Venice we boarded our train due for Florence. The train we were in was admittedly uglier than those we’d experienced in Austria prior.
Back then I wrote:
“It’s bizarre but I don’t feel that I have become a more efficient packer during this trip. My bags still feel lumpy, I have to squeeze the last few items into crevices remaining in my backpack, and I always end up with extra items which I have to carry in a plastic bag. This time was no different, and after checking out and a lightning bolt breakfast we were running towards the Vaporetto stop. We arrived just as one was docking at the pier, and in no time we were aboard, en route to the train station.
We enquired about the next train to Venezia Mestre, which was from where our train to Florence was departing, but were told we would have to wait 15 minutes for the next train. This would leave us little over 5 minutes to find the platform for our Florence train. Fortunately for us, it only took a couple and soon enough we were en route to Florence. We felt a bit like contestants on the Amazing Race that morning, and looked the part, too. I would definitely be needing another shower at the hotel.
It was not a very nice day, but it did not matter as our window was foggy and full of graffiti so our visibility was minimal. We played Uno for a bit, and as we approached Florence the view improved somewhat, and soon we were surrounded by greenery.
The next stop was Firenze Rifredi. It was cheaper to get a ticket to Firenze Rifredi and then a suburban train to Santa Maria Novella, Florence’s main train station, so we went with that option. I was the first to jump out when we arrived at the station. The doors closed behind me, and stayed closed. I pushed the button several times but the train doors did not budge. [Bob] ran to the other side of the carriage to see if the doors opened there, but at the same time I looked at the station’s sign and it read “Firenze Castello”. I had gotten off at the wrong train station.
The train started on its way, and as I saw it getting smaller and smaller I weighed out my options. I asked a lady when the next train to Rifredi was departing and she took me to the station’s timetable chart. I’d have to wait an hour for the next train.
I thought to myself that if they weren’t waiting for me at the station then they’d most likely continued on to the hotel, so I would do the same. But first I asked a man whether it would be worthwhile to catch a taxi. It would definitely save me some time, but after calling the taxi line he gave me the sad news that there were none available. I waited.
I had my iPod to keep me company, and a pesky bug attached itself to my daypack, so my hour wait was not without adventure. My train arrived, and after making sure that it was going to my station, and then that I had arrived at the correct station, I saw the group waiting for me, and waved from my carriage.”
I find my Amazing Race reference back then funny, seeing as I didn’t actually watch the show until years later.
I stayed surprisingly calm throughout. I guess I knew that everything would be OK. As far as international travel is concerned it is nowhere near the worst that could have happened but it certainly was no laughing matter at the time. Regardless, laughs of relief were shared by the group upon our reunion.
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Retrospectively Funny.”