Family vacation part II
We’ve been home a little over a month and I’ve been processing this leg of our trip ever since. The first few days I could barely talk about it. Typing it even made me feel sick. Within a few weeks I could open up a bit but I still felt that sick feeling in my stomach. I wasn’t trying to be evasive or dramatic and if I came across that way – I truly apologize. The series of events that began in Naples shook me to me core. Here’s our story:
Leaving Sorrento was a bummer. We loved it there! It was funny because as soon as we got used to a spot (Venice, Sorrento) it was time to move on! We had one last breathtaking breakfast at Hotel Tramantano where Everette called the waitstaff his “friends.” It was adorable. The views were incredible and the food was so good. (Yes, I did take the Nutella packets and stick them in my purse! Don’t judge me! Lol)
The plan was to take the ferry back to Naples and then the high speed train from Naples to Rome. All of this traveling should’ve taken no more than 2 hours, total…
We boarded our ferry without any problems. Google maps said we could walk from the ferry station to the train station but it was super sketchy. Roads were not clearly marked and there was a lot of traffic and construction. We were gun shy to flag down a taxi because of the shady taxi driver from the Naples airport. We tried to figure out another way to get to the train station since taxis and walking were OUT. The information booth didn’t give us much information so Adam went to find someone else to help. Boogie and I stood with all of our baggage while Adam ran into a small restaurant. A super kind a British man suggested we take the Alibus to the train station. Adam came back to get us and we started trying to find the correct Alibus stop. The sweet British man stopped his brunch to walk us there. He even spoke Italian to the driver to make sure he was steering us in the right direction. He was a God send!
The bus was clean and not very crowded. The city of Naples was just deplorable. There was trash everywhere. The buildings were in terrible shape and the street corners were filled with people. We were a little uneasy on the bus but eh- Naples was only going to be a short tiny blink in our eyes so we didn’t put much focus on it. The bus driver drove up the the train station and then turned around without stopping. We were confused. We thought maybe they had a designated place to stop or something? But the bus rolled on. We proclaimed that we needed that station & a well traveled American man told us NOT to get off at the next stop and walk. He said it was too dangerous, but we were running the risk of missing our train so against his advice we jumped off the bus and started walking towards the train station.
We didn’t speak any English to each other as we walked down the streets so they we wouldn’t be targeted or harassed. The streets were full of shady looking people and trash was literally everywhere. We hauled ass to the train station. (Thank God for babywearing! I don’t know what I would’ve done without my kinderpack on this trip!)
The train station was busy busy busy! We read the boards but couldn’t find our train information. We saw one that said it was going to Rome. It had the same times but the train number didn’t match our tickets. We actually jumped on the train and looked around but it was the regional train – not the high speed “luxury” type train we had paid for so we jumped back off. The regional train in Naples is known for pickpockets. It was really dirty.
I was really surprised that there was NO security in the train station. No one checked your ticket or your bags. It was just a giant free for all. We noticed quite a few people who looked like they were up to no good. No tickets, no bags… two men seemed to be working as a team. One approached Adam behind his left shoulder and the other man came to Adam’s right. He quickly made eye contact and they quickly slipped away.
Our train was initially delayed by 10 minutes. We were fine with that. No biggie. We stood and waited. 10 turned to 30. That was kind of annoying, but hey, what can you do?
Everette was asleep in the kinderpack when I noticed a very odd woman staring at us. I called Adam’s attention to her just so he’d be aware. She had no ticket, no bags, and was carrying a giant rolled up newspaper in her shirt somehow. She was wearing all black and had her hair was wildly tied on top of her head. She reminded me of a Tim Burton character. Her movements were odd. She seemed to be circling us. She was vulgar in the way she flipped her unlit cigarette and flicked her tongue our way. We tried to ignore her. She kept edging her way closer to us.
Our train was delayed even longer. It went from 30 minutes, to 40, to 50… and eventually up to 120 minutes! There’s no where to sit or anything in the train station so we just stood with our stuff. I held our little umbrella stroller across my body while boogie was sleeping. The woman kept staring and getting closer & it was a mama bear kind of defense thing to hold the stroller like that I guess. Adam was getting increasingly more anxious about her too.
We noticed an American family so we started conversations with them. They were a sweet family from Colorado –a mom and dad with two younger teenage kids. Everette was still fast asleep. The mom and the teenage daughter both remarked that the woman seemed to be watching me. I tried to blow it off like it was no big deal, but my anxiety was continuing to grow. We figured we had more safety in numbers with these folks. Our train was majorly delayed. We should’ve been in Rome HOURS ago. Everette woke up after 2.5 hours or so but I kept him in the carrier. No potty breaks, no diaper changes… poor buddy.
When he woke up the woman really started acting crazy! She got super close and was trying to kiss him. Her focus completely shifted on our son. I put myself in the middle of our newfound group and she relentlessly tried to get closer. She stared at Everette while furiously jotting something down onto her newspapers. She did his for many minutes. We had no where to go- no train platform was even posted because of the delay. Then suddenly she disappeared. Everyone was freaked out by her behavior by relieved that she was gone. We were shook up but couldn’t get visibly upset because Everette would’ve picked up on it. All of the sudden the woman reappeared and so did our platform number on the screen. We didn’t even say goodbye to our American family friends. We literally RAN to get on the train and hoped the woman did see us or follow us.
We were out of breath and shaking when we sat down on the train. I kept Everette strapped tightly to me out of fear that the woman would appear on the train. I don’t know what her thoughts or motives were but to us – it felt like a horror movie scenario. It truly 💯 felt like our son was in danger and that the woman wanted to take him. It was a relief to not see her again, but we were very afraid on the train. It was weird. No one checked tickets. Anyone could’ve boarded the train.
We were on the right side of the train in two seats. I sat with Everette by the window and Adam sat by the aisle. Across the aisle was just one single seat. This man kept glancing over. He’d stare and when we’d look back he’d look away. No friendly smile or exchange. It felt like he was watching us. The train ride was supposed to be 1 hour long but… it was nearly 2.5! The train would stop in the middle of the track for “unexpected” traffic while other train zoomed past us. It was very odd and unnerving. Especially because the man kept looking over. I felt like a crazy person. I didn’t even want to speak because I didn’t know if someone was listening. I’d type what I wanted to say to Adam and he would whisper back. We were both very frightened at this point. The wifi wasn’t working and we didn’t purchase an international plan (ummm– if you’re traveling out of the damn country don’t be cheap! Buy a plan! Anyways…) I called our travel agent friend and quickly and quietly told her we were afraid and wanted to get off of the train asap. She seemed afraid too. I told her we could text but I didn’t want to talk. We exchanged texts and the guy kept being creepy. Adam grabbed clothes from our bags. He changed his shirt – I took off my glasses and pulled up my hair. I threw a new shirt on over the carrier. If the woman wrote down what we were wearing then we wanted to look different.
Everette had enough by this point. He wasn’t crying but he wanted to eat snacks & nurse constantly. Even though I was trying not be put out my anxious vibes I know he picked up on them. He had been in the carrier for NINE hours at this point. 9! That was insane. We were deathly afraid of taking him out though. He began pulling my hair and smacking my face really aggressively. I couldn’t be upset with him. This wasn’t typical behavior for him. He was beyond frustrated plus I’m sure he could pick up on our anxieties.
Abby contacted the train company and explained the situation. She also called our hotel in Rome to arrange for car service, but unfortunately they didn’t have that available. She told us what the cabs looked like and asked for us to be in touch.
We literally RAN off of the train when we stopped in Rome. I mean HAULED SERIOUS ASS! We ran all the way out of Tremini and wanted to flag down a cab asap! No exaggeration – the taxi cab line was around 200 people deep! We would’ve just waited in the line but the man from the train followed us! There is NO way he could’ve kept up with us by chance. He was following us! We ran to the front of the line and he was STILL following us.
A young couple was third or fourth in line for the next cab. I took a chance and hoped and prayed that they spoke English. “Hi guys! How are you?” I eagerly and excitedly said to the couple. “Hi. We’re well!” Whew! They were more British angels. I looked over my shoulder and the man was still there. With a giant fake smile on my face I gave them a quick rundown and told they we were being followed so they pretended to know us. When the taxi driver pulled up I was afraid to say the name of our hotel aloud. I showed him on my phone and he said “no no, you walk. Only 100 meters.” Adam told him he didn’t care what it cost and to please take us. So he did. We checked into the hotel and locked and barricaded the door behind us. The lock was loose plus we were out of our minds with anxiety at that point.
Chances are we’d never see the unnerving people again but with our hotel being -that- close to the hotel we didn’t want to make any chances. Thank God for Abby! She booked us flights home for the next morning. Even if we would’ve stayed in Rome we wouldn’t have enjoyed it. Even typing this still makes me feel sick to my stomach.
We played it off like everything was fine in front of our boogie. We fed him and gave him a tubby. We gave him snacks and let him watch a movie. Adam and I both felt like we were going to throw up. I called my mom. I wanted to stay calm. I didn’t want to scare her, but when I started telling her our whole ordeal I started bawling my eyes out.
Everette slept just fine but Adam and I were up most of the night. We had to be up early to get to the airport. I was so sick over everything. I couldn’t believe that someone/a group of people may have wanted to rob, hurt, or take our son. It didn’t even make sense. I was sick that we wouldn’t see the Vatican, the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain. I stayed up all night replaying everything and thinking -what if I overreacted!?- I worried about the money lost from the tours and all of the extra money spent to get home 3 days early. Adam was dead serious when he told me that NONE of that mattered. He said we’re all together and we’re all safe and that was all that mattered.
People always say to trust your gut and follow your instinct. Both of our instincts were saying RUN! YOU’RE NOT SAFE! GET OUT OF HERE! So we did. A part of me will always be sad that we missed seeing Rome, but like my hubs said – we’re together, we’re safe, and we’re HOME! Thanks be to God!
Family vacation part II