Without a working phone SIM, we were wondering how we were going to find a taxi to get us to Pisa Centrale station. Our apartment host graciously arranged for a taxi to come pick us and our luggage up. Bless her. We did not fancy dragging our luggage all over Pisa, looking for a taxi rank.
We had a couple of hours for breakfast and a wander, before taxi time and used it well. Right on schedule, our driver showed up and had plenty of space for our bags.
We were soon off and our driver was very outgoing, volunteering his opinions on all and sundry. Aside from a few relationship opines, his banter was hilarious…..until we started to see signs for Pisa Airport. Wait, what? My wife spoke up and sure enough, he thought we were flying out.
Sudden U-turn, near collision with a car driver not paying attention, severe hand gesturing and a few muttered words in Italian (we did not need a translation) and before we knew it, we were at the station. It cost us about 5 Euros more, but I guess that was the entertainment tax.
We had already obtained our train tickets from Trainline, so there was no need to line up at the wicket or the machine. And, we were travelling first class with assigned seating.
We found our train on the board and headed down to the platform to catch train #1 to La Spezia, the hub for Cinque Terre.
When we arrived, our train was posted on the platform sign, but, a few minutes later, the sign went blank. I asked the platform attendant what the scoop was and he told us we were in the right place. I did not believe him and went inside to check the main screen. Sure enough he was wrong and we shuffled down the stairs to the subway corridor and up the stairs to the new platform. Our train soon arrived and we were off on a new adventure. Scenery flashed by our windows and before we knew it, we started to see builder’s yards with huge slabs of marble in them and then a huge scar on a mountain above. Ahhhhh, Carrara. The famous Carrara marble.
The train ride was only 54 minutes and despite the first class status of our carriage, there were no special amenities beyond assigned seating. No worries, we had some special biscotti purchased in Pisa. Now, if we only had a cappucino to dip them in.
We were soon in La Spezia and I thought I knew which train to to board for Riomaggiore. Alas, I made one serious mistake, as I tried to board it. I asked someone on that train if it was the right train and they said no. We got off, it pulled out just as I realized that it had been the right train. Never ask a fellow tourist for info and expect it to be right.
No worries, the next train was along in about 15 minutes and we clamboured on. Our wives managed to find seats, but, J and I stayed in the car vestibule with our luggage for the 7 minute ride. This area seemed to be where all the luggage slaves hung out. How can you squeeze your way up the stairs and through a train with 7 cases?
We were soon at Riomaggiore and there, the next problem arose……………………..(next post)
Our total fare for 4 (first class for first leg was $116 CAD. Not bad.