Slow travel (2)




I had been warned about the unreliability of regional trains in Italy, but since my  decision to use public transport is unwavering, I try to take the train to Siracusa.
Plan A: leaving  Taormina-Giardini at eleven o’clock (the travel agent has confirmed the time and print the ticket), arriving at 2pm in  Siracusa, taking  the bus to Noto soon after my arrival  and returning in the  evening in  Ortigia (close Siracusa), where I live,  to take a walk “in town”. The next day, going  to Raguzza and Modica) and visit Siracusa and Ortigia in depth on  the last day.

Plan B: Planning to leave  Taormina-Giardini at eleven o’clock  but leaving at  Taormina  2:10 p.m., for reasons that I do not come to understand. Waiting for the train on  platform one , as  indicated on the board, then having to run to  platform  two at the last minute, with all the other passengers (and vice versa for the passengers of  platform two) to catch the train and arriving in  Siracusa at four-thirtypm. If one  must wait for a train for hours, Taormina-Giardini station is ideal, it is one of the most beautiful train stations I have ever seen, with sea views. Each time that a train arrives, a passenger or two is expelled by three armed, and always elegant, police officers. One might think that the expulsed  passenger will be ashamed, but each expulsion is  followed by a hectic debate fuelled by the passenger who seems to think he is absolutely right to be on the train. Another passenger yells into a phone (we know after a few minutes there is nobody on the other end) while waiting for his train for an hour.

Lynette is comprehensive and does not blame me for being late. I am  immediately seduced by Ortigia. The small studio is quite strange, located in a street where you can hear everything happening at the neighbours. In this part of the world, one  has little choice but  to live one’s  life more or less in public. Anyway, it is too late to go to  Noto. Lynette adds that there are no buses on Sundays. I am disappointed, but I am in favour of a day off for workers and I find it nice that Sicily does not yield (for now) with tourists, but it means Ortigia, which was meant to be a base   many visits, will not fulfill completely its purpose. To make matters worse, I am more or less paralyzed the next day by a bad cold (air conditioning in the train to Taormina) and I hardly get out.  In the end I will only see  Siracusa and Ortigia, but both are worth it.


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