In terms of Italy being a boot, I am currently at the ‘heal’ and am seeking a train that will take me to the ‘shin’ before training it down to the ‘toe’.  From there A ferry will take me to the ‘football’ that is being booted into the mediteranean.

Sounds like a groovy journey of anatomy and adventure.

Firstly a drive from the ‘ankle’ town of Matera where I have been spending a wonderful weekend with my couch surfing family.  My hosts drive me to the train station about twenty minutes out of Matera, where they proceed to ask the attendant about trains, times and also civil war.

Well that’s what it sounds like as my two companions get in a shouting match with the attendant, two men sipping their espressos then start waving their hands and begin to bellow out their objections.

‘No no, Belesconi is going to destroy our country!’ One man is yelling (I assume).

‘No, I believe the unification movement is dead and buried’ shouts the other.

‘I think the quality of pizza in this country is depreciating,’ says the attendant.

This maelstrom of conflict leaves me spinning out, translation is not an option, I just have to go with it.

The dialogue abruptly stops, my friend turns to me and quite calmly asks if I’d like a coffee for breakfast.

‘Ummm, ok.  Is everything alright?’ I ask nervously.

‘Sure, the lady just said that we’d be better off heading to the next station, it’s just a ten minute drive.’

I’ve just had one of those ‘We’re not in Cansas anymore Toto,’ moments.

When a shouting match that consumes the entire room is required to simply ask for directions, you suddenly become aware that you are surrounded by Italian stereotypes.  I Love stereotypes!

After an espresso and baked sweet, a quick drive and a farewell from my lovely hosts leaves me on a train.  Then another, then another.

View from ONE of the trains

I have a one hour stopover and a sudden change of platforms nearly leads me onto the wrong train.  The announcement is in Italian, all the attendants are Italian, their English is bad or non-existant.  My Italian is even worse!

I have to leg it over the train tracks to make it onto the other platform in time, but I get there!

Then, another stopover and another train and I finally reach the ‘toe’.  A ferry takes me to Messina in the island of Sicily.  Finally I am here!

Another delayed train and I finally reach my destination.

The end result.  As the crow flies I travelled a path of about 350kms in about twelve hours.

This piece of crap would have been quicker then the Italian train network

A word of warning, if you are travelling in Italy, heading away from the west coast (Naples, Rome etc) is a great deal of fun, but logistically it is a nightmare!

Haven’t said that, it was well and truly worth it!

Now bring on Sicily!