The Frecciarossa line of the TrenItalia railway leaves Bologna Centrale towards Napoli Centrale underground. The highspeed line runs deep under the city.
I’m lucky today.* My generous host arrived home from saving the environment just in time to give me a lift to Modena train station. He insisted on carrying my suitcase down the many flights of stairs. I didn’t make a fuss, but I was grateful. He remarked on the weight of my belongings, and I pointed out that whilst it was heavy, it couldn’t be much over twenty kilograms as yes, it did now contain my boots, but it had managed to fly RyanAir only a few days previously. Apart from a few food supplies, I hadn’t picked anything up.
Mentally I begin working out what I’m going to strip from my case next time around. It seems silly to carry more than I can lift.**
I am also concerned someone might walk off with my suitcase. I am going to Naples, and Naples does have a reputation. Sadly, my luggage has neither legs nor teeth and can’t defend itself or undertake an epic adventure to reclaim me should we become separated. However, I’m not as worried as I was a short time ago before I clambered aboard this train.
The seats face each other in sets of four. Each row across has letters to mark the seats, like an aeroplane and unlike an English train. Between the seats there is luggage space. If I were strong enough, or if wasn’t hauling around a bag almost a third of my own body weight, then there’s also space above my head on a deep rack. The ladies opposite have managed to get their huge suitcase up there.
This strikes me as much better than the English system. English trains dedicate a tiny amount of room for luggage. Usually taking my case by train involves me having to accept the help of a stranger to get it up on one of two racks at the end of the coach. Out of view. Right by the exit.
Not all Italian trains are so fresh or so easy. The crankier local regionale trains fit luggage (and people) in any gap. I kept mine between my knees.
This train however is so shiny it has a computer screen, hanging from the ceiling in the middle of the carriage. It advertises buses, some sort of free (Italian) film service and occasionally shows a map. Kindly, it reminds me to be vigilant about watching my bags. I’m on high alert; security notices bombard me from every direction. Witnessing two young men being arrested in the posh, ‘highspeed’ waiting area of the station rather illustrated the point.
We finally break out into sunlight, twenty-five minutes after setting off from Bologna. The computer screen flicks between the weather, the connections available at the next station (including the platforms at which they can be found) and ‘livecam’. At hundreds of kilometers per hour, we zoom along railway track bathed in autumnal sunshine. It’s three o’clock in the afternoon. By the time we reach Naples it will be dark.
DeepThough will be waiting for me. It’s time for another adventure.[Happy 2nd November.]
*And every other day.
**I can of course lift my case, huffing, puffing, one inch off the ground scraping the steps kind of way. Jumping down the three steep steps off the Italian trains involves a prayer.