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.