In 2009, when I was traveling on a very slow train to somewhere, a charming guy looked at me, and sighed, "Ah, Eetaly!" It was a lovely moment of camraderie with someone so different. Today I spent the whole day traveling from Arles to Ventimiglia, Italy, just across the border. I designed a 3-hour layover in Marseilles, hoping to see a couple of madonnas there. Honestly, I wish I were the kind of moneyed traveler who could just jump in a cab, hang the cost, and say, "Take me THERE." But I'm not. So despite good directions from a sweet Australian guy in the tourist info office, it took me way too long to get my bearings. Then, when I finally DID figure it out and get to the right spot, the bus was full, and I really didn't think I could wait 20 minutes for the next one. So off I trudged, nearly in tears, reaching the station only by intervention of a beautiful black, English-speaking angel who walked me to the right corner and pointed up the street for me.
Then I rode on from Marseille to Nice, and from Nice to Ventimiglia. That last train from Nice was a local. stopping at places like Cannes, Monaco, and Monte Carlo. Yes, I'm just down the road from the rich and famous, and I saw dozens of large yachts anchored offshore. Ask Mitt Romney - the economy's good for a few, at least!
So now I'm here, at a nice little hotel, right on the beach of the Mediterranean. Crap. I got here about 7, and have to leave tomorrow at 6 am! This place deserves a few days of beach time! But tomorrow I spend 14 hours on the train going to Lecce. I love this place, but kind of wish I'd just waited, not made a reservation in advance, and stayed at what seems like a perfectly nice hotel right across the street from the station. On the one hand, I'd have missed sunset and an alfresco dinner on the seashore. On the other, I wouldn't need a 6 am cab for the station.
And now it's already time for bed!