Monday, June 18th
Ciao! I am now in Bologna. I still need to catch up with my days in Venice and also my stay with my friends in Coccaglio. I am only here for one day and have a dinner reservation in an hour but I wanted to at least check in.
I arrived at the train station in Rovato about 15 minutes early. I validated my ticket and I was set to say goodbye to Katia when we saw that my train was 50 minutes delayed! That made my connection in Verona impossible. Rovato is a very small train station with one ticket booth with a man that is not very friendly. After buying a ticket from him a few years ago, I always buy my ticket in advance when taking a train from this station so that I can avoid him. I was not very hopeful that he would be able to help but surprisingly, he was able to suggest an alternate train that should still get me to Verona in time. He told me that I would not have to pay anything more since the train I bought the ticket for was now canceled.
Katia had to leave to go to work and so I sat and waited. This train ended up being 5 minutes late also. I arrived in Brescia and saw that the Eurostar City train was going to Verona and would get me there on time. I told my story about my cancelled train to the conductor but he would not let me on the train. He said I had to wait for the IC train which would get me to Verona in time for my connection.
Right after the Eurostar City train left, there was an announcement that the train I was waiting for would be 10 minutes late. This meant that I would probably miss my nice Eurostar train from Verona to Bologna. I looked at the schedule and with the time delay, I would arrive with 1 minute to spare to make my connection. I went into this little office to ask one of the train people to find out my options. I did not know the time of the other trains and thought that maybe it would be better to go to Milan instead as I seemed to remember that there were many trains that go to Bologna from Milan. The man told me that next train was an IC Plus train and that I could use my ticket for that train. It would arrive 70 minutes later than my original train. At least now I had a backup plan.
When the train arrived, it was packed! I was not able to get past the tiny area by the door where the bathroom is and so I stood with 2 other men and 2 other woman for the journey. The 2 women sent SMS messages, the 2 men read books, and I listened to my iPod.
When we arrived in Desenzano Del Garda we had to all shuffle a little to make room for people to get off the train and board the train. Once the train left, we all resumed our positions. The next stop was Peschiera Del Garda. Again we shuffled to make room but this time a man and his son got on. The man left his BIG suitcase right in front of the door and went inside one of the cars. His son sat on the floor and proceeded to play his gameboy. The rest of us were now squashed like sardines! As people came through to use the bathroom, it became a game of twister as we all tried to move this way and that for each person to get buy. The son did not move an inch and the man looked at us all through the door of the car.
We arrived in Verona at 10:45. My Eurostar train left at 10:41. Of course that train was on time!! I now had some time to kill. I bought my tickets for my next train trip (Bologna to Cortona) and then headed to the bathroom. I have to say that the bathroom at the Verona train station was extremely nice as train bathrooms go. It is a pay bathroom and you need coins. The machine will take .50, .10, and .05 coins and it does not give change.
I headed to the binario and read on the board that my train would be 10 minutes late! What a surprise! At least this was my last train of the day! I was concerned that I would have to stand the entire way but was happy to find a wonderful seat with room for my bags. I took out my sudoku puzzles and turned my iPod on and was finally ready for a nice train ride. When the train ticket person came by, I handed her my ticket. She made a funny face as she looked at my Eurostar ticket. I started to tell her my story of my canceled train and all the late and missed connections. She continued to make the funny face and so I continued to tell her my story in Italian. Either she did not want to hear my tell my story anymore or she decided that it was ok as she said as long as I was getting off in Bologna my ticket would be fine. Now why wouldn't I be getting off in Bologna??
We arrived in Bologna 15 minutes late and in all I arrived an hour and 25 minutes after I was supposed to arrive. I headed to the taxi area, waited about 10 minutes in line and then hopped in a taxi. A very nice man at my hotel (Hotel Porta San Momolo) met me at the door. Everyone was SO friendly. I was told that my room was almost ready but another room was ready which I could have right now. She showed me the room but I told her that I prefered the other room as I requested a no-smoking room. I asked if any restaurants were still open as I was starving. It was now almost 2 pm. I left my luggage, had a wonderful dinner and then returned to find an amazing room. I reserved a single and thought for sure that they must have made a mistake as my room seems like a suite! It is the biggest single I have ever stayed in.
I grabbed what I needed for the afternoon and headed out to enjoy an afternoon in Bologna.
More to come later as I am off to dinner pretty soon.
ciao a tutti!!