Frustrations in Italy

posted in: Italy Travel | 9

Friday June 3

Today was a day with a series of things going wrong. It started out bad and went downhill. I guess after eight weeks in Italy, that isn’ t too bad.

I was checking out from the monastery, and although the information stated they accept credit cards, they don’t. So I had to find a bancomat and withdraw money to pay them in cash prior to leaving, so that was OK.

At breakfast an older Italian man started talking to me, and wouldn’t leave me alone, offering to take me to Positano, Amalfi, etc. When I told him I was leaving, he wanted to help me pack! He actually followed me to my room and when I told him he couldn’t come with me, I had to physically stop him before he went away. What is it with these old Italian men! As much as I enjoyed being on the Amalfi Coast I was now ready to finish packing and get on the bus to Salerno as soon as possible.

I waited for the bus for 40 minutes, as it was 20 minutes late, and when it arrived, it was packed and I had to get on with a suitcase, which caused comments from one Italian woman. By this point, I was not being quiet and got on, telling her in Italian that I had to get to the train station. Luckily a few stops later many people got off and there was room to sit down and a place for my luggage.

When I got off the bus in Salerno the other side of the strap on my luggage broke. The bus stopped several blocks from the train station, so I had to ask directions a few times but eventually arrived there. This day keeps going downhill, so keep reading.

I had an hour wait at the train station, where I noticed a suspicious character hanging around, so I was just a little more on guard than usual and the wait was uneventful. The trip to Boiano involved a change of trains in Caserta.

At 2:10 the train to Caserta left, and after about 20 minutes, the train just stopped and sat on the track for a half hour. Then it started and moved slowly and after two or three minutes stopped again. At no time did the engineer or any train personnel inform the passengers of what was happening. At 3 pm, after one of the passengers went up and asked what was going on, I found out that there was a mechanical problem, and that the train would be stopping in another town called Cancello, where we would take a bus to Caserta.

By this time I had already missed the connecting train to Boiano, so I called Antonella to update her, since she was picking me up there. When the train arrived in Cancello, there was a bus provided by Trenitalia, which I took to Caserta. It was now almost 4 pm.

We arrived near the train station in Caserta, and had to walk in a light rain from the location the bus dropped us. Of course in the train station there was a line to buy tickets, and only one window open. The person working there was in no hurry, but according to the departure board, there were no trains leaving for Boiano within the next hour. I was hoping there would be a train sometime that day, as I did not relish the idea of spending the night in Caserta.

Finally at 5:45 pm I was on a train for Boiano that was scheduled to arrive at 7:30 pm. Either Antonella or her husband Michele would be picking me up. They are wonderful. I had phoned her several times with updates. By the time I would arrive in Colle d’Anchise, I would have been traveling for 10 hours to go a couple hundred miles.

The highlight of the day was meeting an Australian family who was on the same train, and later the bus to Caserta. They were really nice and we shared our frustrations of the day. They too were on the Amalfi Coast, and had a private driver take them to the Salerno train station. They told me that what was supposed to be a 40 minute ride, took an hour and a half. This is Italy, and more specifically, the south of Italy, where efficiency is not on the agenda.

I must say my patience was wearing thin, and while waiting in line to adjust the train ticket, I could see an Italian girl not in line, but positioning herself to move in front of me. As soon as she made her move, I was ready and told her “io sono stata qui primo” with a look that could kill, and it worked. I am sorry but after the day I had, I wasn’t putting up with it.

Antonella picked me up at the train station and took me to La Piano dei Mulini, where I had stayed previously with Rick and Monica. She made a phone call to the priest, Don Fredy, and arranged for us to meet tomorrow at the church at 2 pm.


At La Piano dei Mulini, my single room ended up to be a private apartment. It was so quiet and beautiful and very large, truly a welcome comfort after a stressful day. Everything inside was new, and there were wooden beams on the ceiling. It looked like it could have been in a magazine. Colle d’Anchise is in the Matese mountains, so it is actually cool here in the evenings and mornings.

I decided to have a light dinner, just a salad, in their restaurant and then called it a night.

9 Responses

  1. Lora @savoringitaly

    This was a fun post to read, Margie! So many frustrating situations can arise when you least expect it when traveling. I like the part of the guy wanting to help you pack…oh, my gosh! I had someone once offer, I should say, insist…to take me to stay at their B&B. Sometimes it is good to be ready w/the firm look and a definitive NO:)

  2. Lori Samarin

    Thank you for the good chuckle..actually hearty laugh!! The way you explained it allowed me to envision you every step of the way. In as far as the old Italian man, he had nothing else to do. If you would have pulled out a deck of cards he would have been just as happy to play scopa or briscola with you.

    Unfortunately southern Italy’s infrastructure is not quite up to par (there was a big debate recently on an Italian political TV show about the regional and local authorities of southern Italy not having assigned the Italian government’s funds to emiliorate the infrastructure). And do be careful when traveling on the train, bus, cab, subway down there. You could be a target. I don’t know if you heard the story of an American tourist who was attacked right after he and his wife got off the cruise ship in Naples. Apparently two guys went for his ROLEX and he fought back; they shoved him to the ground, he hit his head on the cement, went into a coma and died a week later. Don’t pull that IPad out unless you’re in your room or in a safe place.

    Sounds like you’re in good hands now. I am sure these days with the parroco and your friends will more than make up for it.

    Buon proseguimento!!

  3. Jill

    WhewGirl! Whaat a day! I LOVED “the look” you gave and how you handled the situation with obnoxio (probably not Italian, but you know what I mean) to the man with the guts of a snake. I didn’t even need a translator to know what you said to that woman getting ready to step into the line. I hope your luggage is fixed. How wonderful that your dear friends are there looking out for you and meeting up with you and that your place to stay is so beautiful and that you are getting some rest!

  4. Donna Musser

    OMG!!!! What a day!!!! At least it ended well with great friends and accommodations. I’m counting on this being your first and last bad day and smooth sailing from now on.


  5. jeanniemn

    I’ve only been back in the U.S. from Italy for less than a month. I miss Italy so much and feel like it really was like a second home. The people, the landscape, the food, the towns all hold a special place in my heart. Enjoy every second of every day there! You could be back in Michigan USA like me!

  6. Bonnie D.

    Oh my gosh! What a day. Sounds you became me for the day. Although, since I retired and can go anywhere anytime I do not seem to have the same problems. But I swear that if I tried to fit three ten minute appointments two hours and 15 blocks apart I would never make it to at least one of them. Just not in the stars.

    At least you had understanding friends to fall back on (aren’t cell phones the best invention ever?!). And a gorgeous place to overnight.

    I will also mention yours suspicious stranger; glad you were alert to the possibilities and the crazy Italian wanna be paramours; I think they watched Three Coins in The Fountain once too often. Maybe ten times too often. Dream on little men, dream on.

    Still, it is nice to be able to catch the eye of a gent, even an old one! LOL

  7. bagnidilucca

    Italy can be very frustrating at times. Just go to a post office and try to do something fairly simple, like posting a package home. It can take an hour or more. Did you read my post called ‘Sometimes Italy really drive me nuts’? I could scream at them sometimes, and sometimes I do out of sheer frustration. It is not always a barrel of laughs, but we love it anyway.

    • margieinitaly

      Yes I loved that post because Italy can be frustrating, even though it is beautiful! I know all about the post office here and have written a couple of posts about it!

      When you are here for several months you have to expect not everything will be perfect!

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