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Italy: And the unfortunate incident of the coffee on the train

It was a rare moment of much needed respite. For the next eight hours, we were at the mercy of the Frecciarossa, carrying us from Milan to Bari. There was nowhere we needed to be, no plane to catch, and nowhere to go even if we so wished. We could finally rest our legs.

After settling into our seats, Kefi fell peacefully asleep on Amber’s lap. The sun was shining, and beyond the train’s window, the Italian countryside rolled peacefully by. Alexi had just returned from the food car holding a steaming Americano. He was happy as he had finally acquired what he deemed to be a good coffee since arriving in Italy. He sat down, sighed and opened his Kindle, completely oblivious to the fact that all equilibrium was about to be upset.

a couple and their dog on the italian train

But let’s start at the beginning. Only a few hours had passed since our La Compagnie flight flew its gorgeous approach over the Swiss alps.

Our arrival into Milan felt frantic as we navigated the airport, tried to understand train schedules, and dragged our heavy suitcases and exhausted dog through crowded train stations, busy streets, and labyrinth-like European buildings.

Our hotel in Milan left much to be desired, but we were exhausted and happy to lay down in a real bed. A cat-nap later, we dragged ourselves out into the streets of Milan, on the hunt for a pair of elusive, Kill Bill yellow Onitsuka Tigers and a plate of Carbonara. All while enjoying the Milanian architecture, a wonderful combination of old and new.

The shoes we found, but weren’t so fortunate with the pasta. Exhausted, hungry, and with our biological clocks completely uncalibrated, we decided to have a beer at a pub, where we both basked in the sentiment that we had “finally arrived” and felt the hard part of our journey had come to an end. On our way back to our hotel, we picked up pizza, and settled in for the night.

The struggle returned the next morning. Awake before sunrise, we packed our suitcases in the dark, and headed to Milano Centrale to catch our train. After acquiring some mediocre croissants and some very disappointing lukewarm cappuccinos, we gazed in awe at the stunning glass dome structure above the tracks, and finally hopped aboard.

What triggered the coffee to explode is still unclear, but I believe this is what happened: the train rattled enough to make Kefi’s water bottle slip on the smooth surface of the fold down tray, which knocked into the coffee cup and sent its contents flying. It splattered the seat in front of us (which thankfully no one was sitting in), and almost by purpose it seems, drenched Amber, her pants, and her brand new pair of shoes. Alexi and Kefi remained unscathed. The coffee pooled on the floor of the train beneath Amber’s seat and with the movement of the train made little estuaries in all directions.

For what seemed like an hour, Alexi ran back and forth from seats to bathroom delivering bunches of toilet paper to Amber, who attempted to control the damage that had been done. A very kind woman sitting across the aisle handed us napkins, and reminded us that there were wet-naps in the boxed breakfast that the train company had handed out earlier. Sweating, upset, and very apologetic, Alexi finally sat back down and refused to go back to the bistro car for another beverage. Even when the train attendants passed by later, offering espressos to the passengers, he refused. Despite the unfortunate incident of the coffee on the train (and the thereafter uncaffeinated journey), the trip passed quickly and smoothly.

Alas, after eight hours on the train, we were delighted to arrive in Bari, a port town exuding vibes of modern italian luxury mixed with old Italian history, including some very “real-life-wes-anderson” buildings.

The view from our Airbnb penthouse apartment had us looking over Bari’s new and old towns and at night, they lit up beautifully.

We spent the next day in Bari shopping, eating, and wandering the streets. Rinse, repeat. And by dusk, once aboard the ferry, we could sense Greece just beyond the horizon (especially given the impressive captaining of the semi trucks boarding the ferry into the tightest spots imaginable, in reverse uphill too of course). As the sun began to set and the boat pushed out to sea, we sipped our beers, looking back at Bari and at Italy knowing we’d be back again in only a few months’ time. But first, onward to Greece..

댓글 3개

2023년 11월 09일

What's Alexi reading on the Kindle?! Give us book recos!


2023년 11월 04일

Love the coffee story but imagined it to fall on Alexi and look as if he had a bathroom accident. At least no lasting burns. The pictures are beautiful. Aunt Diane

Amber Baumer
Amber Baumer
2023년 11월 09일
답글 상대:

hahah, fortunately no humans nor pets were harmed! except for the embarrassment of how many trips Alexi had to take to the bathroom for more toilet paper!

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