Random Friday


Dunno on your side of the world, but this year, besides the usual (and worsening) heat, we even have fires. I mean, we always have fires in the summer when it doesn’t rain much, but this year it has been particularly harsh on me. Here’s a summary in English – my story is from Sunday, but as you can see, it’s not over yet.

My 3h30 train ride back home became an 8h30 odissey where only Techie Bro’s intervention allowed for a happy ending at that time – otherwise it would have probably lasted much longer.

Ice-cream in Massa

I spent the weekend in Massa (my father’s hometown) with a friend. Both writers, we mostly stayed in and did our stuff. Sunday my dad took us to the train station. She stopped in Pisa, so she took the regional train (cheaper) that was 10 minutes late. My Intercity was also 10 minutes late for much affluence at previous stations.

But I saw the train coming from the south (i.e. where I was headed) was 174mintes late. I was afraid something had happened on the line and I was soon proved right. First stop in Grosseto where we gained another 20 minutes of lateness. They told us it was because of a fire near Capalbio and that firemen were at work.

At that point my mother called me from Massa, since the fire was on the TV news. A ViP camping had been evacuated but it was mostly over. So on we went… and stopped shortly afterward, at Montalto di Castro. Again they told us it was because of a fire between Ladispoli and Fregene (north of Rome). We were still in Tuscany.

One hour went by. One and a half and the AC of the train was giving me a headache. I saw a train going north, and hoped things were clear, but we still didn’t move.

Then they told us that if we were headed for Roma Termini, we could take the train on platform 1 that would take us to Ladispoli where a bus service would take us to Roma Termini. Whoever was headed further south (the train was bound for Salerno) should stay onboard.

So I moved train, found a seat, and the train didn’t leave for another 10-20 minutes. The following stations it filled itself. At Civitavecchia there was still smoke and smell of fire and the refugees of another fast train (the one I could have taken that passed through Massa one hour earlier) came onboard.

Talking to a Filippino lady who had had the bad idea of visiting Pisa, leaving her husband and son in Rome, that train had met both fires and was by now 4 hours late. And it was canceled and wouldn’t go anywhere else. We found out that we were on a regional train that supposedly did Roma-Genova, but did only Ladispoli-Grosseto (it was probably the same that I had seen go north and that had come back one hour later).

The packed train ended in Ladispoli, where they told us there would be a bus service. The outside of the station was already packed with people from other trains, and the platform was so busy with people stopping and not moving that for the first time in my life I crossed the tracks to get out of the crowd.

Then I used the underground passage to go to the front of the station, since I had come out in the back, with the Filippino lady on my heels. No bus in sight, and hundreds of people milling around. The police said the bus were coming, and it was 9pm by now. I called my brother and told him the bus would only take me to Maccarese where we could take another train to Termini, so he said he’d come to Maccarese to spare me the last leg of the trip.

By 9.30 still no bus and the station restrooms were locked. The Filippino lady had struck a conversation with two students who had decided to go for a beach day in Ladispoli and had been stuck there for hours – bus had come at 6pm but there weren’t enough of them. One was Hungarian, the other Danish, but both studied in Denmark and were in Rome for some summer course.

My brother reached Maccarese and since no bus in sight he decided to come over to Ladispoli. With the help of the Danish girl I managed to use Google Maps and send him our location (we walked away from the overcrowded train station). Around 10pm, five minutes after 3 bus showed up, headed for the station, he arrived and picked us up.

stranded in Ladispoli – bus and Techie Bro arrived from this street

We live south of Rome and the highway is the one that takes to Fiumicino airport. The 3 foreigners needed Gianicolo and Nomentana, so we left them at a taxi parking near Eur (with 2 lone taxis – and I saw them trying to call a Uber before heading there) and I was home by 11pm.

Could have been worse. Midnight or 1am if I had waited for the bus+train+taxi from the train station in the center since I don’t trust the metro at night… Gotta love one’s Techie Bro who is not afraid of driving in the dark, right? Now my parents and sister will take that same train on Sunday… here’s to wishing them a prompt and safe journey!

On a last note: I’ve had a maximum of 3hours late, but being stranded 50km from home – 40minutes by car – was a first… Have a great weekend! 😉

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4 Comments

  1. Ugh! That doesn’t sound like a fun journey! Glad you were able to get a ride and avoid some of it.

    As a general rule, it’s Autumn or Winter storms that usually cause problems here. My brother ended up staying an extra day one time because trains were completely cancelled due to flooding and downed trees, and when he went home the following day had to take a longer route (made even longer by the assistant meant to be helping him forgetting about him for over an hour, so he missed one of the trains he was meant to have taken).

    Yet people wonder why I prefer to stay close to home, and start getting stressed even before the journey starts.

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    • yes, traveling is becoming more and more of a hassle. Train, plane, whatever, public transport is back to medieval times and private transport doesn’t take you everywhere.
      I’ve done that trip many times over the years, by car when it was new (22 years ago, LOL), then by train. It was never that bad.
      We’re destroying the planet and we complain she’s trying to shake us off. Go, Gaia, get rid of this disease…

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  2. Oh wow! *knock wood* I have never been impacted by wild fires personally as they are more of a western or southern issue.

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