Barbara's Random Thoughts

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The Journey to Elba: A Study in Contrasts

Bad: Melinda mistakes "treno" (train) for Turino, and we wait for the wrong train on the wrong platform.

Good: We discover the error before the train arrives.
Melinda: Why would the train be going to Turino--Turino is north; we need to go south.
Me: Isn't that what you said was printed on the ticket--Turino? Let me see the ticket. (Pause.) Mel, this says "treno." That means TRAIN.

Bad: We discover the error 2 minutes before our actual train is scheduled to leave.

Good: Our train is delayed, so we don't miss the train.

Bad: Our train delay causes us to miss the next connecting train.

Good: There's a little Tabacchi at the very cute station where we must wait. I buy potato chips and get a free "Bandana di Pirati." This is seriously cool.

Good: We make it to the ferry just barely in time, and go straight on board to buy tickets, rather than to the ticket office.

Bad: They don't take credit cards on board the ferry. We don't have enough cash to pay for our tickets. We are about 4 Euro short, the amount we spent on snacks at the little Tabacchi at the train station.

Good: The conductor is understanding and tells us to pay tomorrow. There is a beautiful sunset on the way to Elba.

Bad: We arrive on Elba 4 hours after we told the hotel we'd be there, and they've given away our reservation.

Bad: The other hotels on our list don't have vacancies or are too far away to get to without a car.

Bad: We drag our bags and our sorry hotel-less selves all over Portoferraio searching for a hotel.

Good: We find a kind woman who speaks a little English and directs us "through the door with the clock" (an archway with a clock over it) and up the hill to a small hotel with a vacancy. It's cheaper than the hotel where we'd made a reservation.

Good: We have an incredible dinner at the restaurant up the street from our hotel.

Good: Elba is gorgeous, peaceful, and QUIET. The weather is beautiful, and we have an incredible Sunday wandering through Napoleon's villa, up and down the steep hillside streets of Portoferraio, and relaxing on a small beach.

Bad: Leaving Elba, we encounter another train delay causing us to again miss a connecting train. We arrive in Rome so late that it's not worth it for me to go to the youth hostel. I sleep in the airport.

Good: I loved Elba and it was totally worth the journey.
-Quiet. Sounds: Seagulls. Ocean. Church bells.
-Blue, blue sky; blue, blue water.
-Beautiful little streets, shuttered windows, ivy-covered buildings.

Also good: Our departing ferry was named "Moby Love."

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| posted by Barbara | 7:09 PM