Our Italy travel was not going to be as easy and smooth as Switzerland. The indicator was a delayed plane which meant missing the train that we had planned to catch, getting us to the resort on time. Now we had to catch 18:58 train from Roma Termini to Assisi reaching Assisi at 9 pm. The resort had clearly mentioned that we will have to reach before 10 or we won’t get the keys for our apartment. We finished our delicious packed lunch, while waiting for the announcements and got busy looking at the activity at Geneva airport.
Finally the boarding had started and we said good bye to Geneva. Once again the alpine peaks, snowy mountains peeping from the clouds smiled at us and we gave them hearty goodbye. Humbled by their hospitality and inspired by their talent, we had now set our course to country of Galileo, Garibaldi, Picasso and Leonardo De Vinci. Getting us ready to taste the wine, explore the art and enjoy the Italian hospitality.
Soon the plane was hovering over Rome and as we landed we rushed to find the transport to reach Roma Termini. But the mistake we did was to follow wrong directions and we were out of the airport without our luggage. Somehow after a lot of effort we managed to find out the luggage belts and get hold of our luggage. Exchanged my Travellers Cheques and headed to the train station at Fiumicino airport to take us to Roma Termini.
Roma termini seemed too busy and quite chaotic (and was a huge contrast to Geneva Train station). It took some time for me to find the ticket windows. I wanted to find the option for 2-3 days pass so that I would be able to visit Rome or Florence and also save some money. But I had really lost too much of time and wanted to catch the 6:45 train.
Later we found that individual point to point tickets are a better option here rather than going for a pass. Thanks to my visa credit card, I could do a booking through the ticket vending machine, they did not have option for Cash. One of the important points while travelling in Italy is to make sure you punch your ticket at the punching machines before you board the train. We realized at the last moment and had a hard time finding one.
The Class was missing and the people also did not seem as helpful as there in Switzerland. There were few exceptions though. A guy helped us reach Platform 2Est which seemed like on the other corner of the terminal. He helped us reach there and also helped to punch our ticket as well before boarding the train.
The weather was getting hot here and the view of the buildings, with dusty colours and lack of neatness gave a different impression. Italy was a surprise package and after coming down from Switzerland’s nice weather and great transport services, Italy was a difficult place to accommodate with. Right from getting the checked in luggage to finding about the train to Assisi and reaching the right platform it was heck of a race.
As we left Rome and approached northern part, the weather started getting a bit cooler and wide plains, cute villages on the mountaintops started appearing on the horizon. As it started getting dark and clock kept ticking we were a bit nervous as somehow we needed to be in the resort before 10. Finally after a long journey of two and half hours we were as Assisi station.
One more confusion was not many people knew Assisi as a station and that was so surprising. We tried mentioning both the names Assisi and Santa Maria Degli Angeli as mentioned by the receptionist at our resort. It might be something to do with my ascent I guess, I convinced myself. The station clearly had sign boards with name Assisi on them though.
The station was completely deserted and we could hardly see any people getting down at this station. This is where we met Reno for the first time and we hardly believed that this elderly Italian gentleman would meet us and become our good friend in the seven days of our stay at Assisi.
The special deal was fixed at 20 Euros and we were soon in the heading towards Carpedium Assisi, our RCI resort. The pleasant weather, surrounding mountains, the view of the Assisi village and St. Francis Basilica twinkling at night along with the sincere efforts to connect with our first Italian friend made us feel good and the plight to reach here was long forgotten.
Fiora, the girl attending us at the reception, was buzzing with energy at 10 pm at night and used all her English skills to welcome us and we were soon settled in our cosy little cottage of Capedium. A Turkish gentleman helped us with luggage and showing the cottage and we were very happy with the hospitality. Finally we had made it and we were at our resort in Assisi, ready to explore this amazing country full of art, culture, history and particularly this thirteenth century mysterious medieval village.