Tuesday, November 8, 2011

October 26th

The night before we had decided it would be best to take the earliest train out of Corniglia as possible, so that is what we did. We woke up early and made our way down the long winding road to the train station and tried to buy our tickets. As it turned out, the ticket window was closed and the machine that vends the tickets was not working correctly so we would have to chance it on the train in case the conductor did come by, which he hadn't on any of the previous Cinque Terre trains we had been on. When we made it to the correct platform we realized how lucky we were to have chosen the earliest train because all of the other trains after this one were canceled. They decided to have this one run and then one later in the afternoon which would have meant that we would miss our connecting train to Rome, just one of the many reasons we were thankful to have had the idea to go early. We took the train to La Spezia and thankfully no one came by to check tickets because there is apparently a big fine if you do not have your tickets validated, unlike the metra, you cannot purchase them on board the train.

We made it to La Spezia with plenty of time to catch our next train to Rome then to Naples, but as we looked on the screen to see which platform we should go to, we noticed that our train to Roma was canceled. Not a happy site to see, obviously. So we freaked, just a little, and promptly went inside to the customer service to try and see if there was anything that could be done. While we were in line, there was an Italian man in line behind us who spoke very good English who was talking with us about what was going on. As we got to the window, he started talking with the customer service agent for us because he spoke very little English. Long story short, we had to purchase new tickets. First to Pisa, switch trains to Florence, then catch the bullet train to Naples. So after a small headache, we got it figured out and went to the other customer service station to try and get our previous tickets refunded. She said it was possible but we would have to fill out an information sheet and then hope that the Eurorail company would refund Chris. While waiting for our train, we got breakfast of a prosciutto, goat cheese, and arugula sandwich which was delicious.

The train to Pisa was on time and we got onto the train to Florence with out any issues, the issues started arising when the train didn't leave on time. The train from Pisa to Florence takes exactly one hour and in the beginning, we had an hour in between to catch our transfer to Naples. The train to Florence didn't leave until 12:10 and our train to Naples left Florence at 1:10. Tight fit, huh? Well the train left and at 12:45 Chris had the idea to start moving up cars so that if we got there early enough we would already be at the front of the train and wouldn’t have to run as far once the train stopped.  All we had to do was jump off this train and I would run to the next platform to hold the train from leaving. Unfortunately, as our very delayed train arrived at 1:10, we watched our connecting train to Naples leave promptly on time at 1:10. 

We went to the kiosk to try and get our train time moved back to the next train and after waiting 10 minutes in the line, he instructed us that we needed to go inside and wait in a different line to get our new tickets. We rushed inside to the correct line, which was of course ridiculously long, and began our waiting and hoping that we would make it to the next train. While Chris held our spot in line, I went in search of food because we were both very hungry, for some reason half of a sandwich for breakfast didn't quite hold us over. I found the cafeteria area located inside the train station and got us two sandwiches (one the same as our breakfast sandwich and one a ham, cheese, and tomato) a fanta, and some Ritz crackers.  When I got back to Chris we ate while we waited in line and with 10 minutes to spare, we made it to the ticket counter. I explained the situation and the man responded with, "you know that leaves in 10 minutes right?" Yeah buddy, like we had no clue. Gosh, some people, I tell ya. We got the tickets and made it to the train with 10 minutes to spare. Luckily, that was the end of our train troubles for that day. We played cards on the train to pass the time and it was a pretty quick ride considering it was a three hour journey.  After all that mess, we only arrived one hour later than expected.

When we made it to Naples, to say it was raining would be an understatement. It was pouring and luckily for us, we drag our suitcase through the cobblestone streets and try to find our hotel. Easy peasy, right? Wrong. I, of course, took us down the wrong road so we were getting lost and our suitcase was getting wetter and wetter by the second. We stopped by a luggage store and thankfully they gave us some plastic garbage bags to put over our suitcase to stop the water from getting inside to all of our clothes and books that we had brought with us. After a long, long, long walk in the pouring rain, we finally found our hotel and were greeted warmly by the keepers. They are brothers, I am assuming, and they were so nice. We put our stuff in our room and changed our clothes. They gave us a map to the city, all of their recommendations, and even gave us their laptop to use.

After getting all of their suggestions on the map, we headed off in search of the oldest pizzeria in Naples. After finally finding it, we ordered the only two pizzas on the menu and started talking with the people who were sitting next to us. Turns out, we were in the Pizzeria from the movie and book Eat, Pray, Love. COOL! The people next to us were from Australia and New Zealand and had just met earlier in the week. They said they had gotten a long so well that they decided to tour the rest of Italy together before having to return to their homes. The pizza was beyond delicious. It was very plain, but it was still very delicious. Good start to our Naples marathon of pizza.

After pizza we went in search of the suggested gelatoria but it was closed. And that was particularly annoying because every time we asked someone where a good gelatoria was, they kept suggesting the exact same place. So after walking around for a while we bought a bottle of wine and decided that if all else failed, we would just go back to the hotel room and enjoy the bottle of wine. We walked along the coastal road in search of gelato, but didn't find any. When we decided to turn back and start going towards the hotel, we walked near an old castle and through a more modern part of town. We found a nice cafe that ended up having the best gelato and the world's largest scoops. I got armarena and nocciotuella and Chris got fragola and caffe. They let us watch the Napoli soccer game with them at the bar and then we headed out after a little while. We made our way back to the hotel but were both too sugared out to drink the wine so we put it in the fridge and decided to save it for the next night. From all the walking around and stress from trains, we were pooped.

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