A Full Day of Travel
Perugia Travel Blog› entry 10 of 21 › view all entries
Getting out of the hostel early was nice, I was able to get a quick start on my travels. Getting tickets for trains is so easy that I don't even worry about getting early reservations anymore. I hopped on the commuter train from Sorrento to Napoli and in just under an hour I was purchasing my ticket for Perugia. I decided on Perugia because it seemed nice, was in Umbria, and there was a cooking school (according to the travel guide) which offered one day courses for a reasonable price.
As I walked into the main Napoli station I was again surrounded by hoodlums offering advice, taxis, etc.
There was a transfer in Rome where I again had a first class ticket, but this time it was on a Regional train so it's wasn't as nice. As the fare inspector came around I saw two people who hadn't validated their ticket.
Here's my understanding of the trains. There are three types. Eurostar, that's the fastest, cleanest, and most expensive. Generally it will only stop at the major cities. Don't confuse this train with the EuroRail pass...that's completly different. The next type is the InterCity (IC). This train will hit medium size towns so genearlly stops more often. These trains are cheap and fast enough generally. Finally there are the Regional trains. These trains stop at a lot of places and are older.
On many trains you have the option of making a seat reservation. It's only required on some trains, genearlly Eurostar. The guidebook recommended them if the train was going to be busy, that way you can be sure to have a seat, otherwise you might be standing. You can make seat reservations in either first or second class.
On any of the three trains you can often purchase 1st or 2nd class tickets. On the EuroStar there is a noticible difference. On the other trains the difference it's so great. A first class ticket is just under twice the price of a second class ticket, however since train tickets are pretty cheap anyway it's still not that much.
To give you an idea of costs. My trip from Napoli to Perugia costs 64.50€. 49.00€ was the cost for the 1st class Eurostar to Roma Termani where I connected. That included the seat reservation cost. I then also had a ticket for Rome to Foligno, that ticket was 4.75€. Finally the trip from Foligno to Perugia was 10.50€
Since I had a seat reservation on the Eurostar I didn't worry about validating my ticket and that wasn't a problem. When I got to Rome I validated the ticket for that segment and I'm glad I did. Additionally I was careful to check that I had a first class ticket before sitting in the first class section. There were several people who got busted sitting in the wrong class. They were fined as well despite all the yelling and shouting they tried. I found it funny.
In Foligno there was a ton of confusion. About 20 people were waiting for the train to Perugia. The sign said it was on track 2, so that's where we all waited. Then it was late, so we all looked at our watches. Then they changed the sign to show that the next train arriving on track 2 was going to Rome. We started looking at each other. Then the whole group ran to the main station and some of them started talking to the station staff who didn't seem to know anything. I was just following the crowd since I didn't know what else to do. Hear I am with my big backpack chasing 20 people through the station.
Then a train arrived on track 2. We all ran back and jumped on. I asked around only to discover that everyone thought we were going to Perugia but didn't really know. Fortunatly we made it....and that's when my bus problems started again.
The guidebook was clear. To get to my hostel, which was not on the guidebook map, I needed to take bus 9 or 10. When I looked at all of the bus signs, the had letters G, F, S, etc. There wern't any numbers! I tried to piece it together and finally got onto the G1 bus. Surprisingly I did okay...but then I started to put things together. Since the train station wasn't on my map, and my hostel wasn't on my map, maybe the hostel was close to the station. This would be good since the hostel was only 16€/night and the hotel I was headed towards was probably 35€/night.
I got off at the Piazza Italy and got on a different bus headed back to the station. The bus said that it would be going down the street I needed to be on. I stared out the bus windows intently, looking for signs so I would know to get off. In Perugia they don't like street signs. They have apparently decided to do away with that expense and instead everyone studies the city maps at school. I couldn't find any street signs so I was guessing by the bus stop signs which are not very good about telling you where you are either.
First I got off to early, the bus driver looked at me funny...I think he knew I was screwing things up. I walked a bit, looking for street signs, optomistic, then I asked the bus station info desk person. She directed me to get back on the bus I just got off of, so I did. Again, I watched intently...only to realize that there is no way things are right, so I got off a few stops later so I could take a bus back towards where I thought I needed to be.
I got on. This bus driver was the first one who had looked at me funny. He shook his head, smiled, and continued talking on his cellular phone as he drove. Surprisingly all of the bus drivers talk on their cell phones and drive with one hand. They are pretty good drivers but there's something that seams wrong with that.
Finally he hung up, and I asked him. He didn't much english so I pointed the address to him and he said, "ah..we passed it." So I walked.
My hostel is nice. It's a bit old and worn out as they often tend to be but I like it. My roommate is a 21 year old from Tel Aviv who just completed his 3 years military service. He and his girlfriend are travelling Europe together. We talked for 2 hours or so about the violence there, terrorism, sports, the United States, and more. He was very interesting to talk with.
After I had dropped off my belongings I decided to go back up to the city center and see what I could see. I realized that was a bad idea as soon as I walked out to the bus stop and saw that I had just missed the bus and would have to wait 15 min....in the rain. It was early and I was focused and a bit hungry so I waited. The main area was nice but in the rain and cold I lost interest quickly. I found a few book stores and was able to replinish my book supply, then had some dinner.
Dinner was great. I had a mushroom risotto, followed by a pork chop. The pork chop was incredible. it was simply grilled with some olive oil and put on a bed of rocket lettuce. A large lemon half was put with it. I squezzed the lemon juice over the pork and it made it's own well seasoned dressing to have with the lettuce. It was great!
When I got on the bus, it was my bus driver friend. He helped me to find the right stop to get off on and talked to me a bit..in italian which I didn't understand any of.
Tomorrow will hopefully be warmer and I'll have a chance to see the town some and perhaps find that cooking school.