Sept 24, 2013
I am on my own today since Rick and Monica don’t feel that great and want to hang out in Salerno and at the hotel.
After breakfast, all of us ride together on the shuttle to Salerno and I go to the train station to purchase a ticket to Pompeii. From there, I will have to take another train, the local Circumvesuviana, to Sorrento. I could have taken a ferry to Amalfi, and another ferry from there, but Giuseppe at the hotel desk recommended the trains.
I am on the platform waiting for my train, which is delayed. After the delay time continues to be extended, I decide to see if another train will take me to Pompeii, and yes, there is another one, so I look for that platform and wait. Eventually I realize that I am on the wrong platform and move to the correct one and am happy to see the train already there.
I settle in to my seat, and moments later a conductor informs all of the passengers that we have to move to another train. Finally, over an hour past the original train departure time I am on my way.
I have plans to meet Tina today in Sorrento, so I call to inform that I am running late because of the train delays. I have only met Tina on Twitter but she operates Discover Napoli Destinations and offered to take me to a place in Sorrento, known for a special type of biscotti.
Once I arrive in Pompeii, I go to the ticket window to purchase my ticket for Sorrento and I learn that I need to go to a different Pompeii train station, two km down the road. I can’t believe my luck, or lack thereof! So, to save time, I figure I will take a taxi to the train station. Several taxi drivers are hanging around so I assume all is good.
Unfortunately my bad luck continues. “Oh we have a big problem,” one says in English.
“What kind of problem?” I ask.
“There is a train strike now, for four hours. No trains until five o’clock.”
I could not believe this, and said, “What? Are you kidding me?”
Italy is a place where unannounced limited-time scioperi dei treni, train strikes occur frequently. I wondered why the ticket seller didn’t tell me about it. So I called Tina again, and she advised me to inquire about a bus to Sorrento. I went inside to ask, and of course, with my luck today, there is no bus to Sorrento from here. One of those situations of “you can’t get there from here.” At this point I have strong doubts that I will ever make it to Sorrento today.
Even more frustrated, I called Tina, and she surprised me when she said, “I am coming to get you. Just wait there and I will be there in about forty minutes.” I could not get over the fact that a woman I don’t even know is coming to my rescue with her car! She must be a saint. Thank you, Tina.
In the meantime, another taxi driver who speaks very good English approaches me and informs me that there is no srike, and that those men lied to me. He assures me that I can catch a train to Sorrento now.
“It’s too late now. A friend is coming for me,” I said. Besides, at this point I don’t know who to trust. So we carry on a conversation and he even provides me with a map of Pompeii. Later the original taxi driver returns and now informs me that the strike is over and the trains are running again. What is wrong with this picture?
Just before 2pm this angel from heaven named Tina arrives in her car, and I am so grateful. I was thrilled to see her, after all the chaos. She was wonderful! This amazing woman whom I never met, was my savior today, rescuing me from a frustrating situation in Italy.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of my day in Sorrento with Tina.
Hint – It is the best part of the day!