One of the craziest experiences I faced was being stranded in an Italian city for a night! I went with five of my friends to Cinque Terre, meaning 5 lands, a wonderful set of costal towns on the west coast of northern Italy. We woke up at 5:30 in the morning and took an early train ride. Once we arrived, we hiked from one of the towns to the other through a series of steep hills in a nationally protected forest filled with springs beautiful vegetation, springs, waterfalls, followed by a vineyard. When we arrived at the other town, we swam in the Mediterranean sea for a few hours, ate an incredible meal at a restaurant right on the water, then had some gelato before heading back. Needless to say, we were all incredibly tired by the end of the day when we needed to head back.

When we arrived at a train to take us back to Arezzo, we heard some sort of announcement in Italian; unfortunately everyone was so tired that we didn’t pick up on the change of plans for the train to head north into France instead of South. By the time we realized it was heading to France, we were approximately 45 minutes away from the French border. We immediately got off the train and switched to another train that was heading south and then to another one but all the trains were closed down by now. We were stuck in the city La Spezia for the night. We shared a room the six of us in a hotel, and then we got back the next day just in time for opera rehearsal. I missed a lesson, a scene staging, Italian class, and a voice/opera lecture that day, but at least I made it for the 3.5 hour staging rehearsal for the opera. It was a very strange experience and fortunately the voice faculty members were very forgiving and realize these things happen. They were just glad we were safe. I was lucky to make up almost all the classes I missed that day. Italian trains can sometimes be confusing.

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