I was sad to leave Monterosso but feeling pretty excited about heading south for a dive adventure. The dive shop I’d chosen to go out with was a bit off the beaten path so it was going to be another interesting day of travel.
Hopped the train around noon and headed to Grossoto without any issue. Had to change trains to go to Orbetello. The signs pointed me to a platform that didn’t seem to be in use. A friendly Italian woman who had gotten off another train on the platform beside mine let me know I was not in the right place. Skeptical I went ahead and followed her to another platform. A train arrived and most of the people got on. It was another one of those trains you have to assume is yours since there are not signs. I was unsure so I asked the only other person that hadn’t gotten on the train if it was going my way. She confirmed and I jumped on just in time for it to leave. Whew! Saved again by the kindness of strangers!
I exited the train at Orbetello and was sure I’d arrived in some level of hell the sun was so harsh. I left the station with the masses and took at look at the bus schedule. I couldn’t make much sense of it and again it was the kindness of strangers that saved me. The sign indicated 2 buses but there was only one, which would drop me off in the center of town where I would catch the 2nd bus into Porto Ercole. I hopped on the bus feeling pretty happy I hadn’t gotten lost yet. As we rolled into town I realized I had no idea where I needed to get off the bus to find the hotel. By the time I had figured it out we were already heading back to Orbetello. Hmmm. Guess I’ll just ride this back to the starting point and try again.
This particular bus wasn’t heading back to Porto Ercole so I had to get off and wait for the next bus. Another helpful Italian was heading the same way and would check each of the buses as they came to make sure we got on the right one. This time I was prepared and got off at the proper stop.
I walked the short distance to the hotel, dropped off my things, and headed to the dive shop to see about equipment. The people in this town looked at me like I was the spawn of Satan. I can only assume they do not get many non-Italian tourists here. Found the shop and got a less than enthusiastic greeting. I also discovered no one really spoke much English. Hmmmm. This may not be such a great idea.
We attempted to find equipment that would work for me. The biggest issue always seems to be the wetsuit, and with water temperatures being cool they were pretty insistent. After trying several to no avail I heard the woman rambling something about “impossible”. At that point I put my shoes on and started to walk out. She stopped me and told me she thought they had a suit that would work but they couldn’t find it. I told her I had a skin suit and would be willing to go out with them and see if that was enough to be comfortable. She agreed to continue to look for the suit and I agreed I join them in the morning. I wasn’t convinced I would.
I stopped off for dinner on the way back to the hotel. The Italian football team had a match and lots of people were gathered at beachside bars to watch it on television. I ate my pizza while people stared. The food and wine was excellent, even if the company wasn’t.