The troubled journey to Caiazzo

I left my hostel after eating my modified power breakfast and headed towards the Napoli central train station to find out which train I needed to take to get to Caiazzo. I walked into the station’s information office and asked the Italian girl behind the desk what my options were. She directed me to an office across the “hall”. I put hall in quotations because, although the station looks and feels like most other train stations, it is actually an open air strip center as much it is a train station. By this I mean that the station is not really enclosed in any way. The stores and offices are all connected by a high, windowless roof. This is so, if while waiting for your train, would the notion strike you that here, in the middle of this train station, you’d like to smoke a cigarette, you could do that.

But I digress.

I crossed over to the Trenitalia office and grabbed a number from the automated machine. When my number came up, an elderly, Italian woman and a younger, Italian man walked up to the counter. Feeling nervous, I sat by and waited until after the pair were done talking with the person behind the counter before approaching. I told the woman I wanted to go to Caiazzo. She looked at me, puzzled, before telling me she was pretty sure that they did not have a stop in Caiazzo. I replied by letteing her know that the information office had told me that they had a train that went to Caiazzo. She double checked on her computer, but only found reaffirmation that they didn’t have a stop in Caiazzo. She told me to try the central bus station across the street, so I walked across the street to the bus stop, but couldn’t find the main office. I decided I should walk back to the information office in the train station and ask if they had an information about the buses, as the information offices in train stations usually have information about any and everything in town.

This time I ended up talking to the other Italian girl in the information office. She looked up buses to Caiazzo, and gave me the name of the bus company that would take me there.

I walked back across the street and into the building bearing the name of said bus company. I waited in line and, when my time came, I asked for a ticket to Caiazzo. The man behind the glass looked at me curiously, before telling me they didn’t have a stop in Caiazzo. Again, I hoped this person was mistaken, and informed him of the girl at the information center. He reassured me they did not have a stop in Caiazzo and suggested there might be a train.

Back to the central station information center. This time, I guess the girls working behind the counter were starting to feel sorry for me as they both looked up how to get me to Caiazzo. What they found was a small, local train that supposedly stopped in Caiazzo. They told me that I should be able to buy a ticket at any one of the three tobacco shops in the station, but just to make sure, one of the girls walked with me across the station and left me outside the door. I thanked her and waited in line.

When I got to the front of the line, I asked for one ticket to Caiazzo. The Asian woman behind the glass told me that they did not sell tickets to Caiazzo. She then told me to try one of the three newspaper shops in the station.

Feeling a little defeated at this point, I walked back across the station and into a newspaper shop. I wearily waited in line, before approaching the woman behind the counter. I asked for a ticket to Caiazzo, and was surprised when she hit something on the cash register before telling me I owed her €3.90. I paid her and walked back to the giant board that displays the departures and arrivals. None of the departures said Caiazzo, so I went back to the information office to ask what time the train left.

The girl that had walked me to the tobacco shop looked up the train for the second time and told me the time of the departure as well as the fact that the train would be departing from one of the first five platforms. I thanked her again and walked back to the giant departure board to check which platform I needed to wait at. I found a train that was leaving at the right time, but it looked like it had been moved to the eleventh platform. I walked over to the platform, but found no one waiting for the train. I asked multiple people if this train was going to Caiazzo, but none of them spoke English. Eventually, a man signaled for me to get on his golf cart. He took me over to the second platform, but then non-verbally communicated to me that I had missed my train. I thanked him and he took me back to the main part of the station. I walked back to the information office to ask when the next train to Caiazzo left. They told me the train departs every two hours.

I decided to grab a quick snack as it was now lunch time and I hadn’t eaten since breakfast and I wouldn’t be in Caiazzo until 2:00 p.m. at the earliest. I went into a bakery and bought the cheapest packet of cookies I could find. I stood at a counter to eat my cookies and charge my phone. The cookies were small circles. They were hard like biscotti with small pieces of tasteless fruit. The only flavor that came through was a strong salty flavor. Needless to say, these were not what I was expecting. I got about halfway through the cookies before deciding to walk back to the departures board to find what platform my train was leaving from. This time, I had twenty minutes to make sure I was at the right platform. I walked back to the second platform and found a very small, heavily graffitied train. I asked someone outside the train, “Caiazzo?” He nodded yes, and I handed him my ticket.

I walked in and sat down at the first empty seat I found. There was a young Italian boy sitting across the aisle, exactly catty-corner from me. I asked him if he spoke English. He motioned, more or less. I asked him if this train was going to Caiazzo. He said, “Yes, that’s where I’m going.” “Oh, cool. I’ll just follow you,” I replied. He smiled and looked out the window. Then a young, cute, Italian girl walked down the aisle between us before noticing the Italian boy. She recognized him and came back to sit across from him. They chatted for a while and the air around the Italian boy seemed to change slightly. He seemed more nonchalant now and I got the feeling he had some level of crush for this girl. When the conversation came to a lull, the boy pulled out his phone and the girl pulled out a book. Eventually the boy got a call on his phone and, after talking for a short time, passed the phone over to the girl. She smiled as she talked and the boy would look at the girl, smile, and look back out the window. She passed the phone back to the boy, he said a few more things before hanging up.

After some time, the girl got up and started walking to the door. The boy followed and motioned for me to get up too. I said, “oh, we’re here?” He nodded and I grabbed my things. The three of us got off the train and I thanked the boy and said goodbye before calling the owner of my bed and breakfast.

An Italian woman answered the phone and spoke to me in highly accented English. She told me her husband would come pick me up at the station and help me with my luggage. I told her I didn’t mind walking as it seemed like the bed and breakfast was close to the station. She didn’t really understand and told me just to wait five minutes, that her husband would come pick me up at the station and he would help me with my luggage, so I waited.

Her husband appeared a little more than five minutes later. He got out and opened up the trunk of his car. I threw my backpack in and he asked me something in Italian which I took as, ‘is that everything?’ I said, “that’s all I’ve got.” We got into the car and he called his wife. They talked about me as he pointed out where I would be getting breakfast tomorrow and where Pepe in Grani, the greatest pizza place in the world, was. He then pulled up to a big lot where construction was happening. He asked some people sitting outside if it was okay for him to park there for five minutes while he helped me to the bed and breakfast. They said it was fine so he thanked them and we walked down the alley, past Pepe in Grani, around the corner, to the door of the bed and breakfast. He opened up the door and got me a key before showing me my room, the kitchen with it’s coffee/tea maker and a mini refrigerator stocked with cold water. He then showed me how to use the coffee/tea maker before saying goodbye. I walked into my room, past the small TV on a desk, past one twin bed, to the second twin bed. I sat down, put my backpack beside me, and sat there for a moment.

After some time, I walked back outside, around the corner, to Pepe in Grani. I looked in the window and saw someone sitting inside. I opened the door and found Franco Pepe, the owner and chef responsible for Pepe in Grani, standing over a table, looking at some papers. As I entered the door, he looked up from his papers and started speaking to me in Italian. I asked him if he spoke English and he replied, “un momento.” He came back with a girl and she asked me what I needed. I replied, “I would like to make a reservation for tonight and I want to learn how to make pizza.” She told me they had availability at 7:00. I accepted and thanked her before asking again about learning how to make pizza. She replied, “just come by at 7:00 and after you’re finished eating, he’ll come talk to you.” I thanked her again, and walked back to my bed and breakfast to wait until 6:50.

2 thoughts on “The troubled journey to Caiazzo

  1. At last, Caiazzo!!!
    I am, again, thankful for these kind hearted folks who helped you along the way.
    I can’t wait to hear what happens next!!!


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