There is something romantic about riding a train across the Italian countryside. I love train travel in Europe. Some of my favorite images of England were the trees, ponds, country homes, flowered walls, gardens and ancient cottages/flats on the train ride from Stratford to Windsor. Train travel is so much easier than flying. No security checks, reasonable lines, friendly faces of conductors who are happy to help you even if you butcher their native tongue when asking which track your train is on. No extra bag charges, no weight limits as you pack whatever you can lift.
I love watching the countryside with its lush green fields, little yellow stucco farm houses with red-brown tile roofs and sleeping vineyards as we are on the cusp of spring waking the vines. When you ride south you run into business travelers, tourist and southern Italians with warm personalities. Go North towards Milan and you can see the fashion capitol’s influence over the country as clothes change from average Joe to men in well cut business suits or designer jeans. The women dress in tights, sweater dresses, boots or stilettos with big sunglasses and beautiful London fog style trench coats.
The soft clack of the wheels hums a soothing lullaby that summons daydreams or a nap. You put in your earphones, play your favorite music and you’re off to a world uniquely your own. Sometimes I think about the beauty of whatever place I am in. Other times my mind wanders to times gone by or sharing the train ride with a special someone who appreciates it as much as I do. Even though my special someone is not ever sitting beside me on my journeys. At least not yet. Perhaps one day.
The longer rides allow for good conversations with friends or when I feel brave a chance to practice what little Italian I have learned so far with a fellow passenger. That is one thing I love about the Italians. Many of them are more than happy to help you learn what is in my opinion the most beautiful language in the world. Though Arabic is a close second. I am also going to offend the French as I believe Italian is the true language of amore. The only thing that comes close to making my heart race at the thought of a honey dipped, inviting masculine voice tinged with its own unique diction whispering in my ear is a British accent or the easy lilt of the Cajun/Creole tongue. Anyways, I digress. Back to the trains.
If you ever travel by train you definitely have to experience the dinning/snack car at least once. There is a strange joy that comes from wandering through the cars to reach it. The cappuccino, snack or whatever you choose to seek out in the car is a satisfying reward for braving the journey through narrow aisles and bumping into fellow passengers as the train rocks around curves. You can sip your beverage in the car while chatting with the bartender. I guess that’s what we can call him or watch the scenery from a large rectangle window. I have yet to run into a female server in the dining car in Italy. I wonder why that is as there are many women conductors? A new subject to explore another day.
I think the only thing more romantic than a train ride is an overnight train ride in a two-person compartment.
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