Cinque Terre & the trains
This is an interlude to my writings about my stay in Italy.
While still in Nice, I decided it would be nice to check out the Italian Riviera- Cinque Terre. 5 beautiful small towns on the rocky cliff coast that can be seen on a 6 hour hike. Sounded like a dream. So on the public computers, I typed into hostelworld.com: Cinque Terre. Then the guy next to me said "hey, I'm going there too! Want to go together?" and like any sane person who was offered a ludicrous suggestion from a male stranger twice my size, I said "sure! Want to share a tent?"
On the day of departure, we needed to tram to the main train station. Then train to Ventimiglia, Italy, next train to Deiva Marina, Italy All before 9pm final checkin time. It was a 5 hour commute. Easy.
We left at 11am and made it by tram to the main train station 2 minutes after the train departed at 11:30. We had to wait until 1:30pm until the next train. We arrived in Ventimiglia and realized we didn't have the address to the campsite or the stop we wre supposed to get off on next so had to look for an internet café before we got on board the final train. When we got back from that quest, the next train to Deiva Marina was at 4:30, getting in around 6:30. Only half an hour late at this point. Then Italy was being all Italian and messed with everything.
Of course the departures board read that our train left at 4:30 when in reality since it was Sunday that train did not leave at all. It was pouring rain and we were hiding in the subway that was quickly flooding with water and people. It took us until 5 to realize that our train was definitely not late. It was not going to show up. We ran around like crazy trying to find someone that worked at the station that could also speak English. Fruitless effort. There was not even an information desk. We harassed a police officer until he helped us and at 7:30 we boarded an intercity train to Rome that stopped in Deiva Marina. Whoops again. That train was apparently only for people with intercity tickets. A whopping 20€ extra charge to our 18€ pass we were holding.
We arrived at 9:30 and since the shuttle was no longer running to the campsite we were about to need to walk 3km in the pouring rain. Thankfully, a nice Italian man saw our struggles and offered us a ride. I was already with one stranger why not make it two! He gave us a free lift and we safely made it to our tent (which quickly became the dirtiest, wet, nasty thing ever).
What I failed to mention is why Italy is always late. That day we were, but I did not once experience a train or transport that was not at least 10 minutes delayed for my entire stay. Or any transport board that made any sense. Silly Italy.