Today (Thursday) we headed to Salerno from Brindisi, changing trains in Taranto. See the map below. We are now at the midpoint of the sabbatical time away.
Imagine an ant walking from the back of your cowboy boot heel, over the ankle and onto the front instep. That’s a little like our journey today. The ankle area was of very rugged low mountains and was beautiful. The first train was a regional train, second class, no assigned seats. The second train was an Intercity, kind of an express train, but with assigned seats in second class.
We left Brindisi at 10:45, had a two hour wait and lunch in Taranto, and arrived in Salerno after 5:30. Lunch was in a restaurant near the train station. Horse steak was on the menu, but Mei Li had squid calamari spaghetti and I had a few bites of Spaghetti Boulanese.
The entire train fare package today was about $32 for the two of us. I bought all our train tickets as e-tickets back in August or September on a French-run online ‘ticket office’ called Go Euro. The tickets can be changed or transferred up to the day before departure. In years past we’d buy a Eurail pass, but we learned quickly that buying individual train tickets is far cheaper.
For those who are curious, at the station you find your train departure platform on the screen in the station. You find the train type and number from your ticket, like our Intercity 702, on the departure screen, and it tells you which binnario (platform) to go to. Then if you have assigned seats, board the right train car in the class of the ticket, and find the assigned seats. On the screens, a train that is sopprosso is cancelled. A train that will leave late is marked ritardo. Most often our trains have been on time, or if not, delayed 10 to 30 minutes.
I am still under doctor’s orders and stayed in bed again yesterday, Wednesday, with only a couple of short walks with my birthday girl Mei Li in the Brindisi neighborhood. My appetite is still low. I’m supposed to take my meds, eat lots of veggies and broth and avoid breads and cheeses, and drink 2000 mL of water every day. But my appetite is so low I probably have had only 400 calories of food a day the last 4 days. Thank you for your continued prayers for full health recovery.
The reasons we wanted to visit Salerno are that there seems to be very little Evangelical presence today, but Paestum not far away built a prominent Christian church that is still standing since the 5th century. Another reason is Salerno is very close to the spectacular Amalfi coast, which we have always wanted to see! Paestum is an historical coastal town about 25 miles south of Salerno which was settled by Greek immigrants and later by Christians in the 6th century. Because of a marshy area near there, malaria was a major problem (which explains why immigrants found the land open to them to settle?) and the town, after being built up and well settled, was abandoned. The remaining ruins provide a spectacular snapshot in time, almost as well known here as as Pompeii, which is to the North of Salerno. I’m told Italians prefer it because then they can avoid huge crowds of tourists in Pompeii. We hope to find out ourselves. We’ve been to Pompeii before anyway.
North Americans (except our Bridget, Donna, and Lloyd) often have little understanding of the havoc malaria continues to wreck in many tropical and semi-tropical places of the world. I’ve read a lot of Italians have an immunity to malaria but apparently these immigrants did not. Is it semi tropical in Brindisi and Salerno? Well, if the cacti and palm trees all over are an indication, I’d vote yes.