God Bless Feisty Italians
Written from a bus en route to Sorrento, Italy
Everything they say about feisty Italians is true.
We arrive in Salerno after a 9-Hour train ride with the intentions of finding a nice beach-side campsite for the evening. Upon consulting Mr. Google and finding out that the city along the Amalfi Coast that we wanted to visit was Sorrento not Salerno, we hasten to find a route to make it there tonight. Meanwhile, a pregnant, homeless lady asks us for our half-empty Coca-Colas, but that's another story. The train-information guy told us to take a train to Naples leaving in 15 minutes, transfer to the Circumvesuvianus line and it will take us to Sorrento. Perfect.
We hopped aboard at Platform 3 and rode for a solid hour and a half in a stuffy cabin. At one point the train has been sitting at a stop along the way for fifteen minutes or so when we heard a rap on the window and a dark, short, balding man yelling at us in Italian and gesturing wildly with his hands.
"Excuse me? Do you speak English? Oh... We have to get off?"
...turns out it wasn't a stop along the way.
Great. We've been in Naples for fifteen minutes sitting patiently in a train devoid of a single soul save the two Great World Travelers.
We grab our bags down from the luggage rack and haul them into the station. Now, if we can just find our connection to Sorrento. After several minutes of searching, we find a sign for the Circumvesuviana line. As we're following the signs down an incredibly long underground terminal I'm vaguely aware of the uncomfortable emptiness. No loud Italians here. Odd...
When we get to the end of the hallway we see three men standing around smoking cigarettes. One approaches us and begins yelling at us in Italian. We think he says the line is closed for the night but that there is a bus just up the stairs.
I whisper a short prayer pleading with God that we heard wrong.
A set of stairs takes us above ground and we spend about an hour asking hotel clerks, restaurant waiters, bus drivers and strangers where we might find a bus to Sorrento. It probably wouldn't be a surprise to you if I told you they said all the bus lines had stopped running for the night. The consensus was clear and we were stuck spending the night in a train station in, purportedly, the most dangerous city in Italy.
I whisper another prayer, begging God to keep us safe.
As we are walking back to the station, laughing at the situation we find ourselves in, the man who approached us in the empty terminal showed up again. He asks if we found the bus and when we reply that we hadn't, he begins frantically yelling at us in Italian again.
He gestures in the direction of an dimly lit bus stop with a few people standing around on the sidewalk.
He had no idea what he was talking about. The bus lines weren't running.
The station proved to be well lit and arguably the nicest place we could find to sleep for the night without getting mugged so we find a bench and laugh a little more at the predicament.
I remembered a taxi driver had offered €70 to take us and I figured since we had no other options, I would try to go barter him down to €40. No luck. But on the way back to Micah and our humble abode for the evening, Loud-Italian-Man approached me again!
"Boos! Ten minute. Sorrento. Sorrento!"
Again, he pointed to the dimly lit bus stop, this time entirely vacant. But he seemed determined that a bus to Sorrento would show up there at 11:00pm. Since a cold, concrete floor didn't sound much more appealing, we decided to grab our stuff and head to the bus stop on the off chance Mr. Boos was correct.
...turns out he was.
As we board, I ask the driver how much it would cost and he just made a face as if he was too tired to count money and waved us on to our seats. I write this on that bus in route to Sorrento at 11:22pm, praising The Lord for His faithfulness, His protection and feisty Italians.