After just barely catching my train out of Innsbruck, I spread out the sheets and tossed the wool blanket over my body and tried to fall asleep as fast as possible. The rocking back and forth and the low rumble of the wheels on the tracks lulled me into a light sleep.
When we arrived in Rome I was flustered to be in a new place. I guess I wasnt quite ready to have left Austria. I met some amazing people in my last minute trip to Innsbruck and it was so cool to eat well and share stories. I definitely look forward to going back. Next time: snowboarding and paragliding are on the checklist.
But, despite the beautiful memories of Innsbruck, I was in Italy. I was only in Rome for two hours before catching my next train to Ancona to visit my friend Salva from university. Then all hell broke loose.
Lets rewind to the previous 5 times Ive taken the trains and used my Eurorail pass.
Conductor walks by, asks for my ticket, I hand it over, they look at it, write the date and hand it back. No questions asked, no issues to be dealt with.
This morning I had the conductor from hell.
Summary: Because I failed to write the travel date on my ticket she decided to ruin my morning and fine me 50 euro. Did I have 50 euro in my wallet?? Of course not! SOoooooOOoOO, she was going to charge me 100 euro instead. Because that makes sense.
I say okay, theres nothing really else to say since she cant speak English and I cant speak Italian — and she walks away to check other tickets. I close my eyes and try to forget she exists. Then the yelling begins.
The older man sitting across from me raises his voice. I hear the words ‘ingles’ or whatever it is in Italian. Lots of words being yelled back and forth that I dont understand. I open my eyes. The man has money in his hands and the woman is writing a ticket . . . for him. He continues yelling and shaking his head. Everyone is staring, my eyes start to well up with tears because she starts yelling at me. I dont do well under pressure.
Then the older man hands me a 50 euro bill. She hands me a ticket. We exchange. The older man keeps shaking his head and yelling at her in Italian. She stomps away.
Everyone who had been staring looks at me with sympathy, they all dont understand why she was being so unnecessarily mean. I keep saying ”thank you, thank you” to the older man when he leans over and says in broken English, ”horrible, horrible woman. no man has ever taken her home.” Then, after a few head shakes and more mumbling in Italian under his breath he says, ”smile, things are alright.”
There are amazing souls all over the world. He doesnt realize how much that meant to me being so far away from home. So, Sir, wherever you may be, GRAZIE MILLE.