In 2012 my then husband, daughter and I went on a six week trip through Denmark, France, Italy and Malta. Between Paris and Pozzallo our travelling was done via train. Pozzalo is in Sicily and we caught an overnight train from Napoli. We had a sleeping cabin and there were three beds bunked up, a tiny sink and a cupboard.
I don’t really know what I was thinking but for some reason I had it in my head that we were going to be travelling Orient Express style. We were going to walk through the sleeping cabins into the dining cabin and sit down at a table draped with a thick white tablecloth and eat from polished cutlery, being served by Italian waiters with cloths over their arms, speaking in a high end Italian accent.
Before I get to the reality, let me tell you about something that was really cool about this trip. For those of you with some knowledge of Italian geography you’ll know there is water between Pozzallo, Sicily and the mainland of Italy. And we were staying on the same train.
Our train left late one night and we were fairly tired from our travels so far. So we pretty much got into our beds and went to sleep.
To be honest there’s wasn’t much else to do… We had two options, stand up in our cabin or lie down and go to bed. With no windows in our cabin once we closed the door the only thing we could see was black. A few hours after nodding off I woke up and the rhythmic rocking of the train had stopped. Jeff and Brianna were still asleep, so I grabbed my camera and headed off to see what was happening.
Opening the door, the first glint of morning sunlight was starting to peek through the small windows. The train was still stationary, so I opened the cabin doors which revealed a cavernous underground room complete with train tracks. But instead of seeing our whole train in one complete line, it was in three pieces in the bottom of a ferry.
Climbing the stairs, the suns rays were shining brighter and brighter and I realised I had slept for more than a few hours. Our train had been pulled apart and loaded onto a ferry to take us to Sicily before being put back together to finish our trip.
After witnessing a beautiful sunrise and being called back onto the train my stomach was grumbling for my breakfast ala the Orient Express – fresh fruit, roasted tomatoes, grilled mushrooms and steaming coffee. And then the train steward came mumbled something about breakfast and handed us a package each. And the package was an unhealthy vegetarian breakfast.
At the time I was vegetarian but even as a vegetarian there were ingredients in here that I didn’t really want to eat.
Juice and a croissant was our breakfast. And these were the listed ingredients:
Juices of pineapple, orange, apple, passionfruit, mango and papaya purée, lemon juice, water, sugar, acidifying agent:citric acid.
Baked goods. Type ’00’ common wheat flour. Type ‘0’ common wheat flour. Sugar. Vegetable margarine. Butter. One whole egg. One egg yolk. Yeast. Dextrose. Glucose syrup. Skimmed milk powder. Honey. Salt. Emulsifying agents: mono diglycerides of fatty acids. Soya lecithin. Vanilla. Flavourings.
Sounds appealing, doesn’t it?
Printed on the front of the packaging:
‘Il cornetto appena fatto’
but I don’t think that was true.