Bloody steps (#firstworldproblems)

Wednesday, September 26, 2018 Permalink

I am seriously OVER train stations with no elevators and escalators (ie. CInque Terre). And by that I mean I’m over the lack of ramps / elevators, not the places themselves!

The worst thing is that you usually have to go up AND down. Or down AND up. I normally put my cabin luggage on my suitcase on wheels, but at each staircase I have to lift it off and push the handle down and carry my suitcase up the stairs. Before doing the same but opposite.

steps in italy

My new cabin luggage bag bought in Florence with trusty suitcase.

I complained about the cobblestone pavers in Florence then the hills in Manarola (etc) and attempting to lug my suitcase around, but steps are just the worst.

My suitcase weighed under 20kg when I left Australia and I’ve only really added a tshirt and some light summer sandal things… so the weight wouldn’t have changed.

Yesterday I’d trekked down the hill I was staying on in Manarola to the trainstation and up and down steps. Then I caught a local train to a nearby station. Rinse, repeat re the steps, before a 3hr train ride to Milan.

My connection at Milan to Venice was a little tight but I was happily ensconced in my seat for the final (and third) leg of my train trip to Venice… having had a kind man help me with my bags getting onto the train. Like I said, my suitcase hasn’t increased in size / weight but it’s impossible for me to lift it up (and out) enough in front of me to get it onto a train (usually 2-3 narrow but high steps metre or so in front of me).

I collapsed into my seat and comforted myself with my lemon no-sugar coke and plugged my phone in to charge when someone else arrived at my seat… and I discovered I was in the wrong carriage.


So I had to quickly grab my bits and pieces and get OUT of the train, run along the platform (where no one else remained) and find the right carriage. There was no staff person watching for last arrivals so I was seriously worried it’d pull out and leave me behind… so in my hurry I:

  1. Awkwardly tried to lunge towards the steps of the carriage I needed
  2. Felt the muscle / tendon between my hamstring and glute twang
  3. Fell down with my suitcase, cabin luggage, bottle of diet coke and phone…. stumbling onto the bitumen platform.

It hurt. I might have burst into tears if I hadn’t been as stressed about getting onto the friggin’ train. In retrospect I’m surprised I just didn’t sit there and hope someone saw me and came to help… but alas.

Anyhoo…. the next 2.5hrs were friggin painful as my butt hurt. Of course I was also glad my ankle and knees felt intact and it seemed to be only the glute muscle that was problematic. (So much so I couldn’t cross my legs, for eg.)

On delayed arrival in Venice I had more steps to deal with – getting down from the train stations towards the water buses and once OFF the bus across all of the freakin’ bridges with steps up and steps down. I know they need bridges over the canals but surely they could have some that are wheelchair / pram and traveller-with-suitcase accessible? Ramp-like bridges?

Nope, I had to heave my suitcase up and carry it up the steps and then down the other side. Three times!!!! Of course my glute-muscle was so sore by now I was walking like my post-hip and post-knee replacement mother who needs to put both feet on each step to continue…. and in the strain I stumbled again.

Thankfully on arrival at my (very lovely) accommodation the young guy could see I was struggling and carried up suitcase up the stairs for me. THANK FUCK!

I now have a few unexpected bruises and am struggling to lift my right leg or cross it. Sitting isn’t fun, for example… but I can hobble.

Weirdly I’d been thinking earlier (while traversing steps in Cinque Terre) how terrible it would be to twist your ankle etc here and have to attempt to get around….¬†Of course, if that’s my worse experience / injury while travelling (this time around) I guess I should think myself lucky.

(And as I write this I’m sitting listening to gondoliers singing outside the window and sitting in an amazingly baroque-type room in a Palazzo, so…. I’ll just stop whinging now, shall I?)

I’m closing comments as these posts are probably to document my travel as much as entertain readers with my insightful prose. (Which I’ve most likely failed to do anyway!) I also don’t want people to feel obliged to read my drivel or leave a comment. Feel free to stop by my Facebook page for a chat instead however.

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