I slept soundly for five hours or so before getting up to pack and clean up. I wanted to be sure to leave the boat ‘ship-shape’ for the owner. Unfortunately, there was no more running water for some reason, so I wasn’t able to wash the dishes (or have a shower, for that matter!).
This is a retrospective account in diary form of a trip I took in 2013, based on memory and my notes from the time. Continued from Paris to Rome – Day 1.
Friday, 14 June 2013
I tossed and turned all night. I think I slept a little bit, in snatches, but hardly enough to qualify as a good night’s rest. I couldn’t take all my clothes off either, what with others in the compartment. The train kept trembling and roaring through the night.
This is a retrospective account in diary form of a trip I took in 2013, based on memory and my notes from the time.
Thursday, 13 June 2013
Well it’s been a very long day. I arrived at St Pancras International this morning in good time, and went through the check-in and arrived in the departures lounge. I bought a coffee and croissant from Café Nero and settled down to wait for boarding to begin. Around this time, there was an announcement that due to strike action by French train drivers (groan…), there were delays and cancellations on all trains going to the south of France. You must be joking, right? Today of all days? Would it affect the overnight trains as well? What about the ones that went to Italy? Maybe the driver would be Italian and he wouldn’t be on strike?! Now I had no choice but to wait and see what would happen. Worst come to worst, I’d have to spend the night in Paris and try to get directly to Genoa the next day? Would I get a refund? Questions, questions.
After dinner last night, I headed out again to the centre, where a giant TV screen had been set up to show matches from the World Cup. Last night, it was Spain vs Holland, and a crowd had gathered in the piazza watching it. It was around half-time when I arrived. Many people were wearing Spain shirts though there seemed to be a lot of Holland supporters as well, judging from the reaction every time a Holland player started attacking. There was a whole group of Indians sat in front of the screen and for some reason they all seemed to be Holland fans–no idea why! It was a fantastic game–Holland unexpectedly won with the incredible score of 5-1. It was nice watching the smug Spain team get a good thrashing. 🙂
Finally, a decent night’s sleep on the sofa-bed here at the apartment. I got up at 6:45, feeling a bit lazy, and decided what to do. I’d thought about the possibility of taking a trip to Mount Etna, or at least to the immediate area, and there was a bus leaving at 8:15 in the morning from Catania central station, and returning at around 4pm. However, I’d also found out that you could take a train from one of the metro stations further north at any time of day. I decided to rest a bit more, spend the morning seeing a few places in Catania, visit the market for a bit of shopping, then head to Mount Etna in the afternoon.
I arrived at Lugano train station at around 11pm last night, and of course by then it was completely dark. Leaving the station, I used the GPS on my phone to make my way on foot to the apartment where I would be staying. I’d rented a room through Airbnb, so I knew it would be a room in someone’s house. On the way there, a car with a group of loud young men honked at me, and one of them called out: “Ciao bello, vai in centro? Tu con la valigia!” Yes, I was the one with the valigia (luggage). No idea what that was about! :-O
I got up at 4am this morning and was at my nearby tube station by around 5:30am, waiting for the train to take me to King’s Cross St Pancras. As soon as I was at the station, I realised I’d made a fashion faux-pas by wearing a black belt with my brown suede shoes. That’s what happens when you get dressed in the dark!