From Aosta we headed to Cinque Terre, a collection of colorful small towns on the Italian Riviera. To get there, however, we had to change trains in Torino.

Everything was going fine when we arrived in Torino. Our stop was called “Torino Porta Nuova” and as we pulled into the station Laura and I got off and began walking leisurely toward the exit. As we were walking, however, I noticed that the sign identifying the station wasn’t for Torino Porta Nuova, but was rather for a different station, which I think was called Torino Porta Susa. (I can’t remember for sure. I just know it had the words “Torino” and “Porta” in it.)

The point, in any case, was that we suddenly realized that we had got off the train one stop too soon. Even worse, the train had just left, so we couldn’t merely hop back on. And, adding even more complication, our layover in Torino was supposed to only be 10 minutes long, so waiting for the next train to come by would have meant missing our connection.

Quickly, we considered our options. Torino seemed like a big city, so my first hope was that it would have a fast and efficient metro system that we could use to get to the other train station. We also thought we could maybe use a taxi, but that seemed expenisve and potentially slow in traffic.

So we split up. I ran out of the station looking for the metro while Laura went to the info desk to ask about other options.

Before long, I found the entrance to the metro. As I was going down the escalator to see if it went to the other train station I got stuck behind a guy about my age with a cello on his back. I was annoyed because the cello prevented me from running down the escalator as quickly as I wanted. To show my displeasure I stood really close to him, hoping he’d start walking, which he didn’t.

When we got to the bottom I began to hurriedly walk around him. As I passed him, however, I noticed that he looked familiar. Then I suddenly realized that he was the cello player in the performance the night before in Aosta. I couldn’t believe it because we were in a different city, at a random metro stop, near a train station I was never supposed to be at. For a moment I deliberated over whether I had enough time to stop and talk to him. With the many coincidences that had to align for our paths to cross, however, I figured I better say something.

So I turned around and asked if he spoke English, which he did. I think he thought I was just going to ask him a question about the metro system, but instead I told him that I had been at his concert the night before and that Laua and I had really loved it. We talked for a few minutes, and then I decided I had to figure out the metro system, so we said goodbye.

After that things more or less went smoothly. Because I was already in the metro station I was able to quickly determine that there was a route to the other train station and that it was just a few stops away. I found Laura, we bought our passes, and hopped on a metro train that fortuitously came just as we got to the platform. Once we got to the other station we had to run, but amazingly we still made our connection.


Written by Jim Dalrymple II

Urbanism and travel writer. Also a journalist covering the news.

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