If you live in Liguria it will be very likely that your life will revolve around trains one way or another. Often, people around the Cinque Terre have a very conflictual relationship towards Trenitalia, a bit like those things you hate but you can’t live without. Two years ago they adjusted the train system from March to November to accommodate all the tourists and basically, if you want to go from Levanto to La Spezia, you will have a train every half hour. In doing so, they had to cancel some trains and people who had to commute to La Spezia or had to go in other towns to the north of Levanto had their direct trains canceled or set at weird hours. We, as tour guides, were happy but some other residents were not!
This morning I had to go to La Spezia to a doctor appointment. Now, let me tell you, this is something you don’t quite understand until you come to live in a small town in Liguria. When I lived in Parma nothing was further than 15 minutes by car and we lived right by the hospital so having to spend 40 minutes just to get to the hospital or doctor’s office can be quite tough to digest. But whatever, I had no kids with me today and I could take advantage of the quiet time to edit some stuff I had written. That wasn’t so bad.
On the way there there was this couple of octogenarians who started chatting in the most ferocious Ligurian dialect, and although I understood only half of what they said, they really distracted me with their chanting sentences. Then, I had to change cars because a group of women who had to stop in Riomaggiore kept complaining about the train being 2 minutes early (while I, in their shoes, would have taken this as a sign to play the lottery).
On the way back, I carefully chose the car that had the least number of people but because the train was parked in La Spezia for 15 minutes before departing, more people came and sat close by. There was this young couple, he was blatantly flirting with her and they were saying the most banal things … fine, I’ve been out of that business for a long time now, but I would never go out with somebody with such poor vocabulary. When things finally started getting calm, an old hag with green dyed hair and a pink hat with no teeth sat in front of me and started saying how important it was in life to study. If only she had done it when she was young! She kept also addressing me as “signorina” which – even compared to her – I cannot be mistaken for.
To cut it short. Enjoy the ride, cause you ain’t gonna do much more on the train.