14 November, 2009

Leaving Rome

I am not a planner, but Dick is. I don't know if we are stupid or what. But as luck will have it, even if you plan things in advance, that doesn't mean they will work out.

Today Dick's flight for Denmark is scheduled at 12:25pm.  So we bought the ticket for the Leonardo Express in advance and were ready at 8am to get a taxi and go to the Railway station. We went to the local bar to call the taxi, which we had set up in advance, because our cell phones don't function here. However, the bar man could not call the taxi because his cell phone wasn't charged. So since there is no taxi stand in the area, we set off by foot for the station. It is only a kilometer and even at  my slow pace we can get there in 15 minutes. We were there by 8:30.

The day before we'd asked the ticket man where to catch the train for Fiumicino Airport.   "It is always on track 25. It never changes."   

Never believe anyone who says that!!! We went straight to track 25. There stood the Leonardo express but it wasn't going anywhere. I assume it had broken down, but no one was going to tell us.

"Go to track 23," said the ticket man. That means dragging your luggage down 30 steps and then up 30 steps. When we reached track 23 we only had 2 minutes to catch the train and it was at least 5 minutes down the track. So we missed it.

Okay, we still had time. Now what to do, the next train is at 9:23. This time we went back to the arrival point and  watched the postings. Sure enough the next express would be on track 23. Finally Dick got on the train and is now hopefully underway.

Now one might think that this happens only in Italy. But it's not true. I remember when I was traveling  with my oldest son in Switzerland. He was about 8 months old and I had all of our luggage and had to carry him.  I went to the track specified in the departure sign and got on. The lady across from me asked me where I was going and when I told her she said they had just then changed tracks. Take down the bags, and carry Richy to the next train with about three minutes to spare.

I love European trains, but they do have their disadvantages and finding the right track is one of them.

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