But, I do get a bit, shall we say, sensitive to the train situation in Italy when I take, as I am wont to do, a train from Italy to Switzerland. Though sharing a long border, the vastness separating their idea of train travel or more specifically, arrivals & departures, is immense. Having just rushed to and from the airport (arriving in Italy on Black Friday—not the shopping day after Thanksgiving -- but the day that the trains, taxis and buses were all on strike, but that’s another story).
Basically, my beef is with the lack of ramps or escalators or elevators to take you up to the train tracks with all your luggage in tow. Those pictures of migrants moving their belongings and 9 kids and grandma from South to North are so incredible to me; I view those early travelers as true heroes; the descendents of those great Roman legions of yore. Crossing frontiers with all that baggage and none of the slaves to ease the burden.
Obviously, they all settled in Switzerland, because when they got there, they made absolutely sure that ramps and modern technology when it arrived, was going to be put to good use.
People love to recite the claim about Hannibal's crossing of the Alps to conquer Italy. That’s because he probably had ramps and pulleys and even luggage with wheels to help him over from that side in! Come to think of it, no one ever mentions if he ever got back over. He probably took one look at the innumerable staircases he'd have to haul his booty up, and went into early retirement on the beaches of Viareggio.
|image from about.com|
Decades on, and with the advent of modern technology, a ray of hope was instilled into the faint hearts of fatigued travelers: In a rare moment of lucidity, they started a major renovation program and began installing elevators up to each of the platforms. In a country with over half the population over the age of 60, well, I thought that surely, someone with true social commitment was at the helm. I began to have visions of Shanghri-la.
As I approached my track, heart beating fast, my pulse quickening with each passing step…finally, finally, going to catch a train without feeling like I had just lost the Iron Man contest. One elevator, now two, now three, now four… then seven…Right up to Platform 11.
I’ve said it before, that Italians love conspiracy theories, and now so do I. I believe that somewhere, there is a highly disgruntled employee, who has long desired to travel, to ride the wings of love, so to speak, and go to distant lands far and wide. And just can’t. And so, in an effort to sort of get back at the proletariat, well, he placed an order for the elevators to simply stop one platform too soon. And, has since spent his time ignoring all missives from above to have the oncoming train simply change tracks.
It may seem a long shot, but I simply cannot offer you any other explanation.