Lauren Graziano: The Terrible, Terrible Night

Lauren Graziano

Everyone has had one or two terrible experiences while traveling; sometimes things just don’t go according to how you carefully planned them out. I’ve had my fair share of less than enjoyable travel episodes, the most recent of them left me and two of my friends standing on the side of a high way of sorts, alone in the dark, not entirely sure where we were, with dying phones that estimated a 40 minute walk to our hotel.

It all began when we reached Roma Ostiense and decided we’d grab a quick bite for dinner before catching our next train since it was just past 8:00pm. Our quick bite turned into a nearly 3 hour escapade with slow service, long, long lines, and a very large Eataly. When we finally made it back to the train station to catch another train to Ostia Antica, it was nearly 11:00pm and we were exhausted—thought not as exhausted as we’d be in another hour. After locating the ticket kiosk and purchasing our tickets, we boarded the train and collapsed in our seats, beyond ready to be in our hotel beds. We dozed off on the train as it cruised along, stopping abruptly at each stop, causing our luggage to lurch forward and us to slide against each other before continuing on. Unfortunately, this brief nap caused us to miss our stop altogether and we found ourselves getting off the train three stops later than we had initially intended. Not to worry though, our tickets were good for 100 minutes, so we would just catch the train going back the way we had come and get off at the correct stop. It just so happened that a train going back in the direction we needed was arriving just as we were crossing underneath the tracks. We knew we wouldn’t make it because they stop very briefly before speeding off again and we still had to climb up the stairs on the other side and scan our tickets. The trains run every 10 minutes though, so we would simply catch the next one. As we approached the gate to scan our tickets and the train sped away into the night, an employee called to us. He was locking up the train station because that was the LAST train. We had just missed the last train by about 30 seconds. I guess we should’ve hurried after all. But the employee assured us there was a bus we could catch just across the street that stops at Ostia Antica. Thank goodness.

Nearing midnight, we waited impatiently at the bus stop, praying the next bus would arrive soon. God must have been watching out for us because just a few moments later the bus pulled up and we all piled on. My phone struggled to navigate how far we were from the hotel and which stop exactly we should get off on but I was determined not to miss our stop this time and was carefully watching our location as the bus hit every single bump in the road. Inevitably, my phone failed to update our location correctly and indicated the next stop was ours. So we hopped off at the next stop and realized very quickly this was, in fact, not our stop. We were on a very dimly lit road next to a high way with no buildings, shops, or people in sight. Brilliant. At this point it must’ve been 12:30am and we were dreading the 4:00am wake up we knew awaited us in order to get to the airport for our early flight. With no other transportation options available, we resorted to calling a taxi, complaining all the while over the fact that Uber is illegal in Italy. Just when we thought the night couldn’t get any worse, it started to rain. Classic. However, it wasn’t long before our taxi arrived and saved us from the dark, dreary night. We finally walked up the steps of our hotel, cold, wet, tired, and ready for a hot shower and a warm bed. Certainly, ready for this terrible, terrible night to be over.

Lauren Graziano è una studentessa americana USAC che studia all’Università della Tuscia per il primo semestre di questo anno scolastico. E’ cresciuta alle Hawaii, ma ora vive in Colorado e studia in una università nello Iowa, dove ritornerà il prossimo autunno, dopo il suo semestre a Viterbo. Ama viaggiare, leggere, scrivere e uscire fuori, sia che si tratti di escursioni, sci, nuoto o altre divertenti attività all’aperto.