Train 9939 for Bari departs from binario 8. Jack and I were ensconced in Italo’s first class lounge at Milano Centrale. Ah, the benefits of senior rates and first class train travel. We didn’t rush and drag our suitcases down two flights or up escalators. We gathered up our bags and took the private elevator right to the tracks.
Italo’s first class lounge in Milan is a long and narrow room that is filled with comfortable “Italo Red” couches. We snagged two that faced each other and stared out the window at the minions racing from binario to binario, while we sipped coffee and noshed on a snack or three.
My phone rang and not being on the concourse I could actually hear my pals talk to me. We swapped stories when I said shit. There is an influencer shooting video and describing the lounge with me in the frame. Should I flip her the bird? Would she give me a SAG day rate? By the time I got my hand over my head she turned her phone in the other direction. Hmm, maybe I need to be more conscious of what or whom I snap a video of?
We boarded the train and discovered I had booked the Italo Club Car with two private rooms, five single seats and our four facing seats. (We were originally traveling with friends and booked the easy conversation facing seats.) Promptly, all cozy in his Club Chair, Jack started snoring. I decided it would be rude to take of picture of him with his mouth open and took this one instead.
I miss our friends, but am glad we aren’t sitting with knees touching. Luckily, no one sat in the other seats – yet. Obviously, I made a mistake booking a four some. The singles along the window and private rooms looked more comfortable. That said, Jack was so comfortable, even with the train traveling at 248K an hour, my husband slept through five stops.
We had the four top to ourselves until Firenze. The “fixer” boarded and sat across from us. What is an AD Trentino? Anybody know? Seriously, this quasi business attired woman just said that to the ticket taker and no ticket was shown. The big clue she would spend the trip blathering was her reaching under the armrest to plug in her phone. The second clue was the focused scrolling through her contact list. Call one – to a harried professoressa asking the teacher to cut a student a break. It was obviously a hard sell. If she had called me, I would have hung up on her. She kept going on and on about this kid. I wanted to shout, let the kid fail, but I realized then she would know I understood her. Call two – to set up a meeting with someone she wanted to lobby on behalf of something else. Call three – social faces into the FaceTime screen. Call four – and it went on and on. I stared at her. She said to her call Devo parlare basso voce. And then she finally started to whisper. I guess the raised eyebrow stare got to her. My laughter erupted – her whisper was entertaining to the entire cabin.
A wonderfully harried young businessman raced into the car shouting in English on his phone. “No, we can’t meet then. This is important bla bla bla.” He went into one of the private cabins, shut the door and continued not just that conversation, but hung up and started another. Then another and another. All corporate secrets were revealed to the whole car. The little room had walls – but they didn’t reach to the ceiling! I was impressed he spoked English with an Eastern European Accent and about three other languages. Too bad, he was so stressed out. The weather was great and the views he never saw were fabulous.
Il treno viaggia in orario. The changing sign kept me amused and since it was being read aloud in both Italian and English I really got a giggle out of it. What a great way to learn important phrases in either language. Prossime Fermate. Next Stops. Prossima Fermata Bologna! Next Stop Bologna. Siamo in arriva a Bologna. We have arrived in Bologna. Non fumate nell’ ambiente. I think they meant don’t smoke in the bathrooms. What I heard in English was “Don’t smoke int he ambiences.” Now, I thought I had a fairly decent vocabulary but didn’t have a clue as to what a space called ambience was. Maybe it is a British thing. I texted my talented Niece, Alex, who went to university in London and asked her. “What is an ambience?” We both laughed out loud. Don’t smoke in the atmosphere. Don’t smoke in the feeling. Don’t smoke in the …. The giggling kept me occupied all the way to Benevento. Il treno e in orario. The train is on time. Grazie per aver scelto italo. Thank you for choosing Italo. Arrivederci. See ya!
A shout out of thanks to my publisher, Read Furiously, for promoting my interview! Thank you for reading what I write – if you want to know more about me why not check out Episode 165!
6 thoughts on “Train Travel Rocks”
Prima classe ed terzo classe vivere in Italia (aka local train from hell).
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Hey MidgeAs usual I’m not sure if my comment went through. ” Spoked” isn’t a word I was impressed he spoked English with an Eastern European Accent
My grandparents came from Bari!! Hope you had a wonderful trip. 🥰🥰🥰
I heard your interview on On Off Stage. You’re still the Midge I’ve known for most of our lives!
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During my last Italian trip in 2007, I tokk the express train from Rome to Potenza; no food, compartments or fun on my empty train. A ticket Taker came to stamp my ticket otherwise il treno era un soggiorno solo.
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“Don’t smoke in the lounge” = restroom?