Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Florentine Fiasco Part Due

Did you enjoy the eye candy?  

We LOVED Florence.  There was a pleasant nip in the air, despite the sun streaming down in the crooked medieval streets.  We stayed in a place we found on vrbo.com.  The owners provided us with this very cleverly written list of off the track, locals only food haunts.  We spent most of our weekend wandering the streets finding food to eat.  Delightful.  The list was so nice, it apparently decided to stay in the diaper bag and so it has migrated home with us (whoops).  I still need to email the nice ladies and tell them I will speak to it sternly for stowing away and send it home.  It's been a week.  I will get to it.

Reluctantly, we left Florence amid the musings that always accompany our departure from the north of Italy.  They sound like this,  Me: "why couldn't the Navy have a base here?"  Jack: "Because there is no place for the boats."  Me: "So. You don't work on the boats"  Jack: "I know." 

The ride home was a little iffy.  Maybe Abigail could perceive something we couldn't.  She was fussy and exhausted and unbeknownst to us about to embark on the second sleep strike of her life.  I wonder if there is any correlation between her being born here and striking... Confused? read on.

Italy, like many of the post war social democracies of Europe, has found that strikes are an effective method of influencing the political climate.  So, there are lots of strikes.  Most are announced and it is quite necessary to check the times etc. before planning travel.  We did...but not thoroughly enough.

As you might remember, we took the small, local train from our house to the station.  When we arrived in Naples, with a finally sleeping baby in the Baby Bjorn, we were approached by a middle aged man in a worn, dark leather jacket mumbling "taxi, taxi"  Much in the way we would turn away the same sort mumbling, "coke, coke" or "tickets, tickets"we breezed by him.  Not stopping to think.

We had one goal which was to find the metro to get to our train.  We stopped, me nervously trying to shield ALL of our luggage with my body, and asked a security guard where the metro was.  He told us, 
with what I still believe was honest regret, that the trains were on strike.  Seriously?

After much debate, I remembered that there was a Sepsa bus line that followed the same route.  We could not find anyone who could tell us where the bus stop was.  Finally, I channelled my mother and marked the family to the police station and asked there.  We were given directions and headed out of the station and down the road.

Now, the Napoli Centrale Station is not a place to be distracted, lost or generally not looking like you will rip the head off of anyone who looks at you sideways.  Am I exaggerating? Perhaps, but then I come from the bias of one who has actually been mugged.  And it could happen to you.  

OUTSIDE the train station, is downright sketch.  Let's step back and look at the situation:

Me, with diamond ring turned inside, baby strapped to chest and hauling a Jansport carry-on size suitcase behind.  Jack wearing the diaper backpack and pushing our UppaBaby Vista stroller.  We were like sitting ducks out there in the wilderness.  

Off we set to find the station.  After we passed a family selling about six pairs of used shoes lined up in front of them on the street, a block with clothes competing with the garbage strewn all over we finally stopped before we got to the cluster of about ten young, rough around the edges men standing around.  All I was capable of was controlling my breathing to ward off a panic attack.  Jack finally stopped and said, "I don't care how much a taxi costs us.  We are getting out of here."  We turned around.

On the mad dash out of there we were stopped by two older men who scolded me for not having a hat on my baby and not putting her in the stroller where she would be warmer.  There must be some conclusion to be drawn from this, but I don't have it.  I mean really?  I was in NO way going to put my baby in something that could be taken AWAY from me.  

Ok.  We got back to the taxi stand.  We saw a bunch of empty taxis and a group of taxi drivers standing around smoking...Yep.  The guys whispering taxi to us?  Taxis, ON STRIKE.  Joy of joys.  

I whipped out my cell phone and called our dear angel friend Jess.  We got on the Alibus that runs between the airport and the train station, and Jess picked us up at the airport.  Bless HER.

No comments:

Post a Comment