For €42 and with a month in advance, you can take a train ride from Siracusa all the way to Rome.
Included in your journey you will see, a train being eaten by a boat, two volcanos, the Amalfi coast and an array of interesting characters from all over the globe, including people having sex. 🌍 Pictures not included.
With my plans being ad hoc and my time ending in Siracusa, mainly due to ongoing contract and instability at work, I decided to head back home, and tick another thing off my bucket list.
I’ve always wanted to do the orient express, but to be honest, what I’ve always wanted to do is get a horse and a dog and make my way across Europe. Maybe in another lifetime.
The station in Siracusa to my knowledge is a creation left over from Mussolini’s era. A story for another day. One thing you can say is how beautiful the station is. Huge ceilings, Roman pillars and marble floors, with a cool breeze running through it. The ticket machines are easy to use, with four languages available. Just make sure once you’ve bought the ticket you then find the little green and white devices on the platform or main room and get the ticket stamped. €50 fine if you don’t.
The train was excellent, great space and good air conditioning. Something I will be writing more about, was an easy conversation started up with three Australians. All were taking time off from work with two of them travelling across Europe. The other living in Berlin. Striking up a conversation was easy. Simply asked where they were from. Where they were headed, thoughts of Siracusa and advertised my blog. They have been featured below!
I’ve always thought, ask, listen and make the conversation fun when you can.
Always said to my players and students.
‘How many mouths do you have? How many ears do you have?’ Good, then listen twice as much as you talk, you’ll grow quicker.’
Just a simple life principle. The train pulled out of the station, we chatted. Laughed, exchanged stories, and took plenty of photos. The train from here to Rome was probably 75% sea views and then the rest valleys, hills, mountains and volcanos. Only wish I brought some food and not just water.
The train passed Mt Etna one more time, and I think I finally got how big a bastard it was, and that there must have been one hell of an explosion 💥 on it at some point. The crater looked like it could have fitted a city inside of it. My attention returned to the coastline, and the very confident couple, casually playing on the beach. The girl riding both waves and man, with no bikini bottom, and confidence unparalleled as she smiled and waved at us in the passing train. The joke was on her, as I waved back I’m sure she didn’t see me, or woman and her dog heading towards them…
The train had stopped at several towns, Taormina and Messina. Taormina is worth a visit, beautiful views of Mt Etna, mainland Italy and the sea in between.
The coolest part had to be seeing the train pull into the port and being eaten by the boat. Carriages were placed in three rows. Then carried across the sea, fresh salty sea air on the deck and awesome Ariancas, like a scotch egg, but instead of egg filed with rice and ragu. (Bolognese sauce.)
The train soon continued, and we headed onto the Amalfi Coast and Naples. Sun hit the sea and pierced through the ocean to reveal the ocean flaw. While also shinning onto the hills and mountains. ⛰
After 6 hours of travelling we pulled into Naples, another volcano 🌋 loomed in the distance. The size of this monster is just unbelievable as well as the crater that had exploded a thousand years ago covering the town below in ash and lava.
The final stage was onto Rome, first class! Never done it before but for €3 extra totally worth it.
Huge leather seats, salty snacks and a damn tasty glass of prosecco. It pretty much paid for itself, and a conversation was started again with an American couple. Friendly, chatty and amazed by this country. Pretty much confirming my thoughts of the food, culture and lifestyle. We blitzed into Rome in an hour.
8 hours in total and a pretty interesting way to replace the orient express.