Episode 311 – It’s “Fine”

It’s not always wonderful, especially on travel days, which stress me out a bit.

Double check the train time. What track? Which train car? Did we make sure to reserve seats in addition to tickets? Does this rail line use e-tickets or do we need to print them? Where do we find a printer? What time is our connection? How do we get to our actual lodgings?

I don’t sleep the night before each move.

You’d think it would be old hat by now, but it’s not – and maybe never will be.

Today, for instance, our train left Vienna at 6:25 a.m. We COULD have stayed in our apartment, walked to the Underground in the wee hours of the morning, made the 2 connections to the Wien Hauptbahnhof (main train station) and then looked for our international train information.

But, honestly, that was way too stressful for me,

Instead, we checked into a hotel right across from the train station the afternoon before, had the hotel concierge print our tickets for both legs of our trip (Austrian Rail to Udine, and then Trenitalia to Trieste), walked over to the station to check the lay of the land, had a nice dinner outdoors at Eloa, and set the alarm for 5 a.m. instead of 4 a.m.

Relaxing at Eloa…. AFTER making sure I knew exactly where we were going in the train station the next morning!

Our trip Vienna to Udine was relatively uneventful (lots of green mountainsides, LOTS of tunnels, and a quick appearance on the train of the Austrian police, removing the completely harmless looking young men who’d been sitting across from us. Hmm.

Most of Europe is brown right now, and we passed some very dry river beds, but the mountainsides were gloriously green.

I had pre-purchased our timed train tickets from Udine to Trieste on-line, with a 4 hour travel window, not realizing that the 4 hour window BEGAN with the time on the ticket, which was 3 hours AFTER our arrival in Udine. In very slow English, I explained my problem to the gentleman at the ticket booth and asked whether I could exchange our tickets. His solution? Buy new tickets. We did, rather than wait 3 hours for our travel window to open. €14 lesson (€7 x 2) learned. Buy train tickets ahead, but buy bus tickets at the station.

On the hour long train ride from Udine to Trieste Centrale we were almost alone on a beautiful clean Italian regional train, so it felt like money well spent.

In Trieste, we knew we’d need to get fortnightly bus tickets, which our Italian landlord told us would be available from the tobacconist the train station. Visions of Monty Python’s Hungarian-English phrase book sketch have been imbedded in my head ever since she told me that. I don’t speak any Italian, but had written down what I needed. Tobacconist#1 sent me to the train ticket office. They sent me to tobacconist #2, who said he couldn’t sell me anything except a single ticket unless I had a Trieste tax code, BUT….. if I were to use the ticket machine at the bus station down the road, I could simply choose it from the menu. I did. We have fortnightly tickets. They need our name and tax code written onto them. We’ll see.

From the bus station, we knew we needed Route 1, but my pronunciation of Via Luigi Frausin just had the driver shaking his head. We boarded and crossed our fingers, which must have worked because we got off just one stop early and found our lodgings.

It’s not that picturesque looking in from the square. As has been the case all over Europe, huge communal recycling bins have become part of the urban landscape.

Our apartment is not totally what I expected. It’s not that it doesn’t look like the pictures, but it’s a little smaller, a little less clean, a little more sparsely outfitted … and none of the unfamiliar things have instructions (the washer, the gas stove, the remote lights, the door lock). The teeny tiny bathroom is so small the towels hooks are outside it. The iron is too scorched to use. There’s no ironing board. The TV is tiny.

But the view out into the square is wonderful.

Ted could tell that I was beyond my usual stress levels, so just as I figured out the laundry refresh cycle on the washer (the instructions were for a completely different Brand and model) he cued up some Italian Dean Martin tunes on Spotify and asked me to dance.

Suddenly the reality of being in Italy, on a gorgeous summer day, in the arms of my man, dancing around our tiny apartment all hit me at once and life was good again,

There’s going to be stress. There are going to be disappointments. But we’re seeing and doing things we never dreamed we’d see or do… and seeing and doing them together.

Ted’s not one for superlatives. As we sat in the square later this evening, eating pizza (and the best gorgonzola gnocchi I’ve ever had), drinking Prosecco (that flows from a TAP!!), listening to the happy families all around us, he looked at me and said, “It’s fine.”

And it is.

Ending the night with gelato? Also very fine.

21 comments

  1. Prosecco, pizza, gelato, a nice way to end a stressful day….the ups / downs of travel keeps it all in perspective…it’s all about the experience ( annoying / uplifting) that adds to the total experience ….

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Next time check the type of train tickets you purchase. Most Trenitalia and regional trains are valid 24 hours or 2-3 hours before and or after the travel time, meaning you could use them for an earlier train. I have done it many times.

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  3. A lovely ending to this episode! I can identify with your worries over train connections. I was concerned about a short train connection time in Florence. It turned out to be needless. We got there to discover the train workers had gone on strike! Luckily it was just a two hour wait until it ended. Apparently unexpected but short strikes like that are not uncommon in Italy.

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  4. Perfect description ! A man who quietly drops the world into calm – common sense – peace. “It’s Fine” – aaahhhh!

    Udine has caves that are like the ones at Luray Caverns in Virginia. We visited them on the way back to Canada when I was 12. (It was a while ago. Now they’re twice as old)

    You really are truly an amazingly balanced perfect couple Xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    >

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  5. Welcome to Triesta. Ted asked you to dance? Hope Karin doesn’t expect that from me!

    Al

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

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  6. When we were doing what y’all are doing, I came to LOVE the Trainline app. It lets you see tickets and purchase them online with no upcharge. So no dealing with ticket lines, language issues, or credit card pins. Once the ticket is on your app, you just show it to the conductor.

    We also used Moovit a lot. It’s for mass transportation. It doesn’t (or didn’t) let you purchase within the app but it did show you the various routes to get from one point or address to another. If you have data, then when you’re riding the bus or subway or tram, it shows where you are and reminds you to get off at the proper stop.

    One last thing, if you haven’t gone to Ljubljana before, you should try to do a day trip from Trieste. It as beautiful city with friendly people!

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    • Thank you! We’ll try Moovit. So far, online transportation purchasing has been great (Germany and Austria had absolutely stellar apps)… Italy is just a bit “unique” (still not even sure we won’t get challenged about our 15day tickets when we try using them). Live and learn!

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  7. Oh, my word, I really (really) loved this diary, Rose. You (and by extension, Ted) bring such light to my days when I read this. I love how you (or is it Ted?) handled this whole situation. I’d have to echo your stress level. I do not like not having confirmation and then re-confirmation of the confirmation! So glad that you arrived in Italy safely. Cannot wait to hear more. I’ve had friends who visited Trieste as well for a wedding and the pictures…. I cannot wait to see what Ted does! Enjoy that gelato as you’ve clearly earned it.

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