LIFE/Rome to Viterbo: The Train Fiasco


I drive a car everyday in the States. It’s my main means of getting around. I knew nothing about public transportation before moving to Italy, but I knew I’d have to learn how to use it once I got here. I was warned that things can go wrong while trying to get from one place to another in this country. This can vary from getting on the wrong train, trains being delayed, and missing a train. On July 14th, the people who warned me about the unreliability of public transportation systems were proven to be right.

I, along with the other students in my program, got to go on a field trip to Rome. As spectacular of a time as we had walking through the Roman Forum, going inside of the Colosseum, and marveling at Michelangelo’s attention to detail in the Sistine Chapel, we were ready to get our worn bodies back to Viterbo. When we arrived at the train station, we found that our train was delayed by about an hour. While eating dinner (snacks from the train station vending machines), we realized it would be more efficient for us to take a different train out to Viterbo, rather than the one we had originally planned on taking. Basically, our train had such a long delay that the one that was supposed to arrive after it was going to end up arriving before it. So, we moved to a different platform and continued to wait.

Finally, the train arrived. Once on there, we started chatting about our adventures in Rome, showing off pictures we took, watching the beautiful scenery from the train window, and eagerly awaiting the moment we would get to lay in our beds. Unfortunately, the smooth sailing ceased. Due to problems we didn’t understand, our train had to stop for about an hour. We didn’t know where we were, nor did we know how long we’d be there After a while of waiting, we decided to step outside to grab a bite to eat from a little cafe on the side of the road. In other words, we just really wanted to get our hands on some wifi. After the train conductor informed our group that the train was up and running again, we were relieved. It was a straight shot to Viterbo from there. What was originally supposed to be a two hour long trip turned into a four hour long trip.

Public transportation, as efficient, practical, and convenient as it is, can make situations rather complicated. Oddly enough, I have loved it every time a train has been delayed. It has forced me to practice patience. It has allowed me and my friends to come up with creative ways of keeping ourselves entertained. It has enabled me to take the time to admire the beauty of whatever is around me. Yes, train delays can be annoying, but I believe they help make studying abroad what it is. Figuring out your way around the world is tricky, but once you’ve overcome the hard, unexpected, and challenging parts, you’ll land at your destination as a stronger person.

Carin Dorghalli

Hi there, my name is Carin Dorghalli. I’m a student at California State University, Chico. My majors are Media Arts and Journalism. I’m studying abroad in Viterbo, Italy for the summer, with USAC. I chose this location because I believe the classes it offers will mesh well with my educational goals. I’m thrilled about the adventures I’ll have during my time in Italy.