To Naples - Skipping About the Continent - CycleBlaze

April 25, 2022

To Naples

My wonderful tour of Puglia has come to an end and there is not much left to do or say - a train ride to Naples today, and then a flight back to Paris in two days. I've taken many train trips with Vivien George over the last five years, but today we had some novel experiences that I thought I might share.

There were three transfers today, with two legs on regional trains (Foggia to Potenza Centrale; Potenza Centrale to Salerno) and the final leg to Naples on an Intercity train.  When I arrived at the Foggia station a bit early for the 8:42 train to Potenza Centrale I was surprised that the track number, or binari, was already listed, 4TR. I wasn't sure what the TR meant, but made my way down and up the stairs to Binari 4, making sure that my train number, destination, and time was posted on the up staircase. There were quite a few people milling about on Binari 4, most waiting for the train to Milan that was departing at 8:36. I noted that six minutes between trains would be a squeeze to get panniers and bike on the train, but one of the the waiting passengers assured me that I was in the right place. 

The train to Milan came and went, and the digital sign above Binari 4 now displayed information for a high speed train headed to Rome. In a confused state, I asked another waiting passenger for help and learned that my regional train was about to depart from a spur track, adjacent to Binari 4. Oh, that's what the TR indicated!  "Hurry" she cried, as I saw two young men running for the regional train. I started to walk as fast as I could but realized I wasn't going to make it. In desperation, I hopped on Vivien George and we sped down the platform, much to the delight of the Rome-bound passengers I left in the dust. It was the first time that I had actually cycled down a train platform, racing to catch a train.

I arrived at the train, and the impatiently waiting conductor, just seconds behind the young men. I was told to just throw my bags and bike onto the train - "We have to go."  Vivien George was eventually assigned to the space between cars, some type of luggage hold accessed by a louvered door that slid open from the bottom. There was nothing to secure her, so I just propped her into the corner and hoped for the best.  And I'm happy to report that we both arrived without incident at Potenza Centrale.

Vivien George in the luggage bay
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Our trip was on an old regional train car, similar to this one
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The transfer time at Potenza Centrale was just over an hour, so I found a bench in the sun, ate my breakfast sandwich, and eventually crossed over to Binari 2 to wait for the regional train to Salerno. I was expecting a somewhat similar situation as earlier - no marked bicycle car but space in a baggage area between cars. However, there was no such space between cars, just the entry/exit space that was clearly unsuitable for storing a bike during a journey with multiple stops.

Not really knowing what to do, I rolled Vivien George down the aisle, past a group of young Asians laughing and dancing in the aisles. I took the last seat on the car and left Vivien George in the aisle - waiting for the conductor to come through and tell me what do do. When she finally did arrive, near the end of the trip, she said a few things in Italian which I did not and then walked away, leaving Vivien George blocking the aisle. I occupied myself with emergency exit procedures should the train derail.

Vivien George standing in the aisle - not the safest place in case of emergency
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I wonder if Vivien George made it onto Tik-Tok
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Well, that was the excitement for the day. We both had assigned seats on the Intercity train to Naples, mine in car 4 and Vivien George's a bike hook in the car 3. We returned to our small inn near the train station and I began the process of bike disassembly and packing. Things went well and I think I'll have time for a little sightseeing tomorrow. Stay tuned.

Back at our Naples home
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Suzanne GibsonThat day sounded a bit too exciting! But you made it, congratulations!
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3 months ago
Lucy MartinIn Naples, David recommends Museo e Real Bosco di Capodimonte
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3 months ago