Thursday, February 10, 2011

Our Assisi Travel Adventure: Buses, Trains, and Taxi

Our visit today to Assisi, the birthplace of St. Francis,involved a walk, two buses, three trains, and one taxi - and that was just to get there. It's lucky that we enjoy days like this, and it's also fortunate that it was another beautiful day, albeit just a little chillier in the morning. Are we getting spoiled or what?

A less than 10-minute walk down steps and slopes from our hotel brings us to the bus stop well in advance of the 9:40 a.m. bus to Orte.

We have time to enjoy our surroundings.

Then it's time to hop on the bus, and admire the driver's skill in navigating curves and slipping by cyclists until he drops us off at the next town - this trip to Orte involves a transfer.

We wait for our next bus with a nice woman who speaks as much English as we speak Italian but we enjoy her company. She doesn't think Kathy is dressed warmly enough in her shell jacket ("Freddo!") and gives the driver a piece of her mind when the bus arrives late.

We then pay a fairly hefty 25 Euros return for the train ride to Assisi, probably about 50 miles away - so many people are under the mistaken impression that European trains are cheap, not quite true when you factor in the costs of the fares, and the taxpayers' subsidies that support at least some train services. It's still a pleasant way to travel around and our first train of the day is a modern little commuter train that carries us far as Terni.

We have upwards of an hour's wait in Terni, giving us time to walk around and to admire the huge steel press that's been erected as a sort of monument to technology across from the stazione.

We board our next train for Foligno. We're tempted by the sights of other cities up on hilltops but we still have a ways to go.

We hop off the train at Foligno, knowing we have a close connection. Just across the platform sits another train with its doors open. But is it going to Assisi? Brian spots a friendly looking Italian train employee in his dark blue uniform who confirms to Brian and others that this indeed will take us to Assisi.

On we hop and off we go, arriving in Assisi about four hours after we left our hotel in Soriano. We splurge on a taxi (10 Euros flat rate) as the entrance to the old city of Assisi is at a minimum a couple of miles up a gentle slope from the stazione.

Finally we're arrived one walk, two buses, and three train rides later.

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