Sunday, April 3, 2016

The One Where I Get Locked on a Train in Naples

Despite being alone for the majority of my time in Dubrovnik, I still look back at it as one of my favorite trips. I love traveling alone!

For Spring Break, after some plans that I hope still happen another time fell through, I wanted to recreate the peace and relaxation of my time in Croatia, and decided to pull another "Spontaneous-Take-the-First-Train-Out" trip! My last STTFTO to Torino was it's own experience, but because I hadn't been in Italy long, there were tons of trains heading to northern cities I had never seen. While I said that I wanted spontaneity from this trip, I had a pretty good idea of where I wanted to go: South. Salerno, Sorrento, Carpi, Amalfi, Positano... I wanted sunshine, cobblestones, and to see the sea. Not swim in it (my hopes weren't quite so high about the weather), but to be near it.

I headed for the train station late Friday morning, and was a little disappointed to see that there weren't any trains going as far south as I wanted to go. It was Easter weekend, though, and a school break for most kids in the area, so it made sense. And that's what I get for not booking ahead of time! The next available train in a southern direction was to Rome, so that's where I went. Rome was, of course, lovely and majestic and fabulous.

Ahh! So many people!

Because I was only there for a night as a stop-over, I won't get into that too much! 

Two things that did strike me as odd during this portion of the trip: 1) The Colosseum was closed. The streets leading to it were blocked off a few hundred  yards away, so you couldn't go see it... weird. 2) Crowds are never a joy to maneuver through, but near the Trevi Fountain, for some reason I got very panicky while walking through the crowd. I'm not sure if it was claustrophobia or everything going on in the world lately, but I completely freaked out and couldn't get away fast enough. Obviously I stayed long enough for a picture though.

The next morning was another early one; I left for Naples first thing. Before saying anything else, I just want to quickly share the advice I had recieved about Naples: When I mentioned to some friends that I'd be heading south on my own, I was adamantly told "DO NOT GO TO NAPLES ALONE." From what I hear, it's a beautiful place and I would love to visit with someone with a better handle on the language (and a place to drop my bags for the day). However, with visions of muggings dancing in my head, I intended on a quick switch over to a Sorrento-bound train the second I stepped into the Napoli train station. 

As the train came closer to our destination, a woman I had been speaking with told me that it would be best to just go straight to Pompeii, check my bag at the train station, and explore for a while before making my way further south to my final destination. That way I wouldn't have to double back. Perfect! I rushed through the station, proud of my travel-savvy-self that I was able to find the "Circumvesuviana" signs I had read would point me towards the local trains. At the ticket counter, the man implored me to hurry downstairs, as the next train to Pompeii would leave in just two minutes- it was right downstairs, hurry!

I did, hopped right on the train (very glad to have made it in time), pulled out my phone to continue reading Game of Thrones (maybe better than the show- I don't know why I waited so long to read it), and settled in to the next leg of my journey. At one point I noticed that while I was getting on the train, others were getting off, but that's the way of trains, right? They pull into the station and some people get off, some get on. I guess a minute or two later I noticed that everyone but me had gotten off, which didn't concern me too much. We were leaving in two minutes, and I had the train to myself! 

Maybe it was around this time that I noticed the lights were off. Also not too strange, I guess; it was a bright and sunny day! Although it was pretty dark... Hmm. This is when I started feeling uncomfortable and a little unsure. I thought, "I'll just get off and see what's going on. Maybe we're delayed or something." Well, the door wouldn't open. I pushed the button, still nothing. Went to the next door. Nothing. Tried prying the doors apart with the immense strength I clearly have... nothing. I wasn't quite panicking yet, but I was getting there!

I walked up to the front of the train and peeked into the conductor's little room, but unfortunately it was empty. Then I noticed the "Emergency Button." Now, being the center of attention is one of my least favorite things to be, so the idea of pressing a button that might make alarms go off or something was very worrisome, but I didn't know what else to do so I pressed it. It wasn't an alarm though, just a call button... It called the conductor in his conductor compartment, but of course he wasn't in there. Now I panicked. I wasn't seeing anyone walk by the window's to signal for help, and remember that I had not heard the most comforting, secure-feeling stories about Naples, so I was very worried. 

I ran up and down the main aisle a few times trying the doors again, until finally, maybe after being trapped for 5 minutes or so (which felt like 18 years in Azkaban), a man walked by. I knocked on the windows and tried to signal that I was trapped (shrugging with hands up and a scared face while pulling on door was my signal), and he motioned to me to wait (I did). He came in and brought me out through the special conductor's door and sent me on my way. It took me a good 20 minutes to calm my nerves and stop sweating profusely, but eventually I made it to the correct train (it was down the stairs, but not to the very first train... oops!) and on to Pompeii. While it wasn't my favorite half hour of my life, it's actually really funny looking back at it and I sincerely wish I had the security tape of me running around the train in a panic. 


  1. I'm so sorry, Sweet Girl. I can't imagine what that felt like--Well, yes I can, "18 years in Azkaban." I am so proud of you. I'm amazed by your courage to try new things and go new places! I love you. xo Auntie

    1. Love you!! It was actually pretty funny in hindsight... only I wouldn't realize I was alone on a dark train for 10 minutes...