Sunday, April 21, 2013

On the road again

                            Avignon train station, 9am today

"Traveling is a brutality. It forces you to 
trust strangers and to lose sight of all
that familiar comfort of home and friends . . ."
                                            ~ Caesar Pavase

I don't know where to start.  How about this:  It started raining in Torino (Turin) as our train arrived.  Surprise!

Actually, it was gloomy almost everywhere we traveled today except for Avignon which was, once again, sunny and getting warm.  Sigh.

This was the longest train ride we've ever taken. We left Avignon at a little before 9 and arrived in Torino around 4:30 after a short stop in Lyon.  

"Holy crap!  Where are all these people going?" I asked.

"Let's find our seats and then worry about luggage," Mike said ignoring the question and trying to yank his luggage down the aisle crowded with people who didn't want to move.  "These are our seats."
I looked as he tried to pick his backpack up.  "These are 91 and 92.  We're in 61 and 62."  Thank 
goodness he was wrong because 91 and 92 were in a foursome while our seats were just duplex.  As it was, we had to sit with pack backs under our legs.

Other than the fact that the women behind us didn't shut up for more than four hours and the little kid across the aisle decided to start cackling about half-way through the trip, it was rather uneventful and really okay. I think part of the problem with travel is that once you make train or plane reservations, you are at the mercy of others.  A friend told me that the reason I don't like flying is that I'm not in control.  I guess that's true of both flying and traveling by train. 

"How are you feeling, Punkin?" Mike asked me a few times today. He means well, and he's concerned about this stupid cold in addition to the fact that he knows how I tense up on travel days.

"Tired. Cranky. Achy." I can be brutally honest at times.  "I'll be okay once we get there."  

The second part of the journey actually didn't feel like it had taken more than four hours.  We made a few stops along the way, and I think that helped break it up.  At each stop, the conductor would make an announcement of where we were and that we should watch our luggage and take everything with us.

(Side note:  Interestingly, when we left Avignon, all the announcements were in French, only.  When we left Lyon, all the announcements were in French and Italian.  At the second stop after Lyon, they added English to the mix, and when we crossed through Switzerland, they added German. )

                   Somewhere in Switzerland as we zip by

"It's raining" Mike announced as we pulled our luggage off the train and up to the taxi stand.  Was I surprised?  

"Of course it is," I'm sure I snapped. "We're here."

"What's the weather supposed to be tomorrow and Tuesday?"

"Partly sunny and mostly dry."  I sighed.  

"We're here, though, so it will rain . . . and the museums will be closed . . . and the tour buses will run only one route."  He can be so funny sometimes, and I was almost doubled over laughing.

"And they serve cannelloni with gravy instead of sauce."  (If you didn't see the photo of his last dinner in Avignon, hold on until tomorrow.)

We're settled in a hotel for three nights before we take off for Spoleto.  We Skyped with Mary and Riley (and Mary's husband, Don) yesterday and Jason today.  Actually, Jason called twice.  The second time he said, "Mom! I can't find your recipe for stuffed mushrooms.  How do I make them?"

Here I am, thousands of miles away, no cookbook in sight, and the kid wants my recipe for stuffed mushrooms.  

Gosh, it made me feel great.

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