Italian Adventure Travels: Bologna and the Taxi Emergency

My family and I recently discovered Puglia as our new favorite South-Italian destination. We wanted to take the train. Since the train ride from Lausanne Switzerland to Bari is a minimum of  13excruciating hours, we decided to make a stop over in Bologna.
So off we went. The arrival at Bologna went smoothly. One little change in Milano. Arriving in Bologna, we realized that the train station is a bit strange with lot's of underground areas where you can get lost easily.
We also waited for a very, very long time for a taxi in one of these extremely ugly and extremly hot underground ares.

Unfortunately, we did not pay too much attention to the fact that there obviously was a lack of taxis in Bologna. The girl at  the B&B gave us a phone number where we would simply send an SMS to order our taxi to go back to the station in the morning to catch our train to Bari.

Also here we should have been suspicious. High-tech and low-touch communication in Italy does not really work. Even talking to somebody on the phone is often less effective, than discussion stuff face to face and most of the time you need to call twice and confirm trice...

So naively and happily we thought everything was organized for our tranfer from the city center to the station in the morning and without a worry in our mind we enjoyed a walk through the smoutheringly hot porticos Bologna is famous for and headed to the restaurant with the best lasagna and tortellini in town.

The food was divine from the antipasti to the water melon.

My artist son was so enthusiastic that he ever sculpted a bad man symbol out of the watermelon.

The next morning we got up, dragged our suitcases downstairs and waited for the taxi....that did not come. When we realized that the magical SMS taxi call had obviously not worked, I tried to call the taxi.

 I tried again, and again, and again. But obviously nobody was working there at 7 am.

I checked Google maps for the next taxi station. We ran there with our suitcases. We started to sweat and to panik. We realized that we had been running into the wrong direction. Turned around. My husband started to prophesy doom: We will miss the train. There is no way for us to still arrive on time on the station.

We finally arrived at a taxi stand...empty! We still had 30 minutes to arrive at the station.

I still had hope.

My husband continued with his pessimistic prophesies...

I talked to the lady at the kiosk behind the taxi stand. She had no idea, but tired to call a taxi from her fix.

We still had 20 minutes.
I started to believe in my husbands doom prophesies.

In the summer missing the one train that brings you all the way down the Adria to Puglia is tough luck. There is one on connection per day and the trains are fully booked.

There came a taxi. My knees got weak. But we could not have it, because there was this girl that had reserved it.

I wanted to kill.

I talked to the men at the kiosk. He tried another phone call for me.

My heart rate was up and I started cursing the proverbial Italien inefficiency.

A taxi appeared.

And it was the heroic 007 "Signiora, no worries! I am taking care of this" kind of taxi driver.

He wore aviator sunglasses, absorbed my panic information brief (15 minutes, station, platform 12, train for Bari) and said: Ce la faremo! Ci penso io! He was my hero.

And off we went. He was driving like James Bond in a car chase.

He knew all the secret ways where you could avoid the millions of one-ways Bologna is made of.

He zigzagged through the narrowest streets at maximum speed and seemed completely at ease.

I was jumping up and down in my seat and prayed.

He keep his cool and knew exactly at what entrance he could let us get of in order to be close to the platform from where our train would leave.

And we made it! Juste in time for  the train departure we were on the right platform with shaky knees and pounding hearts.

Well, the train was still 15 minutes late, of course.

So like so often in Italy, you end up in hopless situations, where nothing that we can take for granted in other countries, works. Everybody gets super excited and angry...

But then something unexpected comes up and there is a surprising and elegant solution.

Today this morning panik session and the heroic 007 taxi driver have become a beautiful memory.

We did the same trip the year after, but insisited on taking a hotel in walking distance from the station.


Popular Posts