While riding the Frecciabianca along Italy’s Eastern backbone from Rome to Genoa, I started to appreciate a lot of little things. Buying a decent Italian craft beer and a can of peanuts from the bar in the dining car. The varied coastline near Civitavecchia (I think that’s the name). The soft melody of Italian conversation backed by the steady rhythm of the train. How difficult it is to walk or use the WC on a train that’s moving faster than I ever drive. The sunset to my left highlighting the clouds and hills to my right.
But what really hits me is how my life in America somehow prevents me from having this experience at home. My 5 hour train ride takes me from Naples, through Rome, to charming Civitavecchia, through Pisa and La Spezia, and finally to Genoa. Where would a 5 hour train ride take me at home ? Well, first I’d have to drive into Pittsbugh, but I’d guess I could see Harrisburg and Philly or maybe Columbus and Cincinnati. Oooooh. Aahhh.
No disrespect to those towns, but they’re not really high on my list of destinations. Although I do need to visit Philadelphia at some point. But it’s not even just the destination. I think this trip was 49 Euros. My train on Friday from Genoa to La Spezia is 9 Euro. That’s like $13! Less than I paid for two drinks at the last concert we attended.
Holy crap! This amazing little cove just flashed past as we exited a tunnel! In the time is was typing this a cool bridge along the shore flashed past. Then two castles. I stopped typing a snapped a few photos. Just the ipad out a moving window. The train’s pulling into Livorno Centrale. I’d say it looks like any other station in Italy, but that wouldn’t be true. Maybe I’ll load up the camera and document the stations on my way back south. Feels like a good black & white project. I think I already shot Roma Termini and Napoli Centrale earlier this week.
Would train travel be this exciting to me in the USA? Yeah, it probably would. I enjoy a trip to Lexington, Kentucky or Kalispell, Montana about as much as a trip to Italy. But I’m driving or flying. Do you know how long the train takes from where I live to Montana? Well, Minneapolis to Kalispell was 20 something hours, so it would be measured in days, not hours. We didn’t take that train; the flight was only a couple hours and not much more expensive.
I’m glad I get the opportunity to travel via treno. As the train nears Pisa Centrale, I’ll wrap this runaway train of thought up with what I originally started thinking: we need to slow down and enjoy life a bit. Or at least i need to do so. I’ve been working hard to do it the last few years, but times like this remind me I need to work harder at living life to the fullest by doing less sometimes. Less really is more.