Hot! Ciao Finale!



Italian trains are notoriously late and always hot. After more than 20 hours traveling it is all I can do to stay awake on the trip from Nice to Finale. But I have to stay alert. There are no announcements into the small villages and there are no signs entering the Finale station. At each curve of the coast, I look for the Finale castle and wait for the tunnel. Eventually I ask the conductor and he tells me three more stops.

When the train arrives, I quickly pull my bag down and push my way to the door. I hear the conductor blow his warning whistle so I move faster, fumble for the lever and the door flies open. The cool sea breeze comes into the cab and I smile at the train worker on the platform below me. I am so excited, I expect him to welcome me and maybe cue the marching band. I feel like I should say something – “Hello Finale, I’m here!” – but the Italian words are not with me yet. Instead I stand there until I realize the train worker is not there to welcome me, but waiting for me to get off the train.

I take the three steps onto the platform, he blows his all clear whistle and the train whooshes away. I look toward the station doors and my friend Heinz is walking towards me.

Ciao Finale, sono qui!

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