Direzione Nord

20130702-073654.jpg Easy come, Easy go
Paola bid me a silent wave as I left the B&B before most were awake.
Today was mostly a travel day. The first bit of travel was to lug my belongings the 15 minute walk to the Sorrento stazione.
As I had been planning this adventure for awhile, I was bound and determined to travel as light as possible. I did not excel in that department. First of all I have a borsa AND a carry-on size bag. I wish the purse would have been sufficient. But when you start adding your last minute items like chargers, a small blanket, medicines and toiletries incase your luggage were to get lost, ipad, a couple of kind bars, water….your borsa runneth over. I probably could have fit everything in the little carry-on (kinda the size of a gym bag….only snazzier!) but then I have to lug it around all day every day. Anyway, to do it all over again (hopefully someday), I might have a different approach.
All this to say it was a bit of a challenge to get the Ferrari’s (my red suitcase) hood closed.
But I made it to the station, no problems.
My plan was to take the 9:07 to Napoli….have I already gone over all this? If so, sorry. I thought I would be more comfortable waiting in the Sorrento station instead of the notorious Napoli one. Since I arrived 45 minutes or so before my chosen train, a couple more loaded and departed. Finally the little lady cleaning (thankfully) the glass around the station tried to encourage me to get on board….at 9:07, I did.
Now this is the commuter train that runs several times an hour between Sorrento and Napoli. Graffiti rules here. Little did I know there were 30+ stops between my two cities. Good times.

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I did tip these guys. I know I probably should not have. Most savvy travelers just kept their heads down, but I give them credit. Sure “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” was barely discernible, but I am on holiday and it adds to the mood. When they passed my car and were entering the next, their serenade slid off in an unrehearsed stop….I am assuming they were to told to stop by an “official”. So later when the young, young boy entered with his accordion, dripping with things to pull at the heart; holy cards, crosses, a picture of his mamma, I put nothing in the attached Pringles can. Anyway, all he was doing was opening and closing it. He would need to use the money for lessons and I doubt that is where it would be going.
With each stop, the train fills to the brim. A moment or two before my designated exit, an older man gives me a nod, as if to say, “Hey lady tourist…this is the one you will want.” Luckily, I had read ahead in my Rick Steves’ and he alerts you to the fact that you actually want to get off one stop ahead of the last one; Garibaldi. The central station is just up the escalator.
In Naples, I have just 20 or so minutes before my train to Rome departs. I look on the board and cannot find my departure time. I ask an “official” , he pulls me aside, makes a call on his walkie talkie and tell me “diciassette” and then REAL slowly “O N E….S E V E N”. Thank you kind sir.
I board the train (the fast, really nice one…quite a contrast with the last) even though it says it is going to Milano. I ask a couple if it indeed stops first at Roma and they tell me yes. Perfetto.
The people on this train are not the same ones on my commuter. Gucci, Chanel, Hermes, Louis Vuitton luggage everywhere….the sound of my peasant plastic bag disrupts the mood as I dig for a biscotti.
I arrive in Rome and I feel like a pro.

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From there I make my next connection. This time on a older, slower train. Oddly enough, still headed for Milano. I make my way past the worn seats making the mistake of looking at the head rests. Although they have the kind of paper covers that are to be changed each excursion…to ensure sanitation, these are gray and ragged. I take seat number 87 and lean forward the entire journey.

20130702-090228.jpg I have arrived.
Each time I change locations, I contact the B&B I am staying in as to avoid any issues. In Chiusi I have booked Albero di Gameli. Milena, the owner, has told me via email that she can pick me up at the station. Walking through the small station, a beautiful, young woman approaches me smiling. “Paj?” she says. In tow she has two precious, dark haired girls, both in pink from head to toe.
Milena drives to the B&B as she shares points of interest along the way.

20130702-090747.jpg Albero di Gameli
The B&B is lovely and the scenery, although different from my recent costal vistas, breathtaking.

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20130702-091333.jpg The day jumped between cloudy and hazy so the pictures are not fabulous. But look at the hills in the far distance. They give the illusion you are looking at a painting when you are indeed standing right there! Perfect for a study of Atmospheric Perspective next year…
Milena shows me to my room.

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I have never been a lavender girl but I have appreciated the calming, welcoming effect it has. My last room in Sorrento was lavender and that oh so cool indoor/outdoor restaurant used lavender in its color scheme.
My first order of business in Chiusi is to figure out a way to lighten my load. I discuss this with Milena. She makes a few calls, Fedex and the like. Then she decides to take me to the post office. It is excursions like these that make a trip I tell ya! It is also people like Milena and Franco. I did not have “family” in Italy and now I feel like I do. They are wonderful.

20130702-092106.jpg Without Milena’s help, I could have never communicated all of this.

20130702-092147.jpg Putting together our grande scatola gialla.

20130702-092247.jpg Done.

20130702-092307.jpg I think even the postmaster lady got a kick out of all this. When we left and I was thanking all, she gave me her best “Bye-Bye” with a huge smile.
I feel lighter all ready!!

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