CS LIMBO: SILVIA PITSCHEIDER (20 HRS)

Disclaimer: I’ll give you my timeline in a minute, but I just wanted to let you know that the post you’re about to read is a series of misadventures that just built on top of one another in a 24hr period. It also shines some light on travel, trust and morality. Just an FYI, I did my best to limit the unnecessary whining.

Background Info: Last year I was googling festivals in the area and discovered SpeckFest (yes, I google food festivals in my spare time). Now you might be asking yourself, what is SPECK? It’s ham, but it’s not “prosciutto”… and in my opinion, it’s a gift from above. Therefore, I made sure to mark this event on my calendar since last December (this is not an exaggeration) and did everything in my power to attend.

‘Trek to Speck’ Timeline & Events:

September 3: Contacted CS Silvia, a young Trentino resident, to request a couch so we could go to the event together. I figured I could get a hotel room, but it would be way more fun to visit with a local!

September 9: Silvia responded YES!

September 30: After emailing back and forth, Silvia and I finally chatted on the phone & discussed that I would take the 5 hour journey to her home in the Trentino area just to stay Saturday night, instead of Friday, Saturday and Sunday so we can attend a couple of events together before she goes back to Switzerland on Sunday night.

October 1: Are you prepared to re-live my series of misadventures?? Let me break it up by one mishap after another…

#1 Starting the journey
  • 11:27am train from Monza to Milan got delayed 50 minutes.
  • Since trains are limited to Trentino I spoke with Silvia to see whether or not I should come that evening or wait until the next day- and she said she was indifferent.
  • Option A: Take the next train and arrive at 5:47pm
  • Option B: Arrive tomorrow at 1:00pm
  • As soon as I made a decision (might have taken me a whole 5 minutes), he’s like sorry, your ticket just expired, I can’t change it here in Monza, you have to go to Milan in order to change it. [Seriously?? Even though YOUR trains delayed me??]
#2 Dilemma, do I stay or do I go?
  • Bitter as ever… I took the train into Milan, ran to the ticket office and cut the ENTIRE line.
  • Explained my situation, in Italian, at rapid speed (seriously, I need to get irritated more often because I never realized I could speak fluently until this morning)
  • Option B (going the next day) was no longer an option so I called Silvia and confirmed that I will be making the trek to Trentino. We were scheduled to take a bus to a festival at 6pm however, if I wasn’t able to catch the bus, we both agreed that I’d occupy myself in Ortesei until she came back, even if it was midnight or later.
#3 Arriving in Trentino
  • After 2 hours of waiting and five hours on the train, I arrived in Ponte Gardena at 5:50pm (the station Silvia told me to arrive at).
  • Long story short, just as I was getting off the train, Silvia called and told me that she thought that it would be a good idea if I found a hotel in the town over because she didn’t know when she was returning.
  • WTF?
#4 Digesting the information
  • Yeah, let me repeat that- I just arrived in her hometown, after 7hrs of chaos and she told me that it would be better to find a hotel… even though we re-confirmed our plans a few hours ago. 6 hours ago would’ve been a better time to tell me not to come.
  • Oh and just to add, she’s like, “I’ll let you know about SpeckFest tomorrow because I haven’t organized anything yet.”
  • Awesome.
#5 Finding somewhere to stay
  • So I got back on the train, went to Chiusa, stalked a group of English speaking women, and joined them on the way to their hotel. I tried a couple of places along the way, called a few hotels on my cell and guess what… EVERYTHING WAS COMPLETELY BOOKED.
  • I called Silvia and told her that I was having a serious problem finding accommodation, so I told her I’d take a taxi wherever she was and she said, “We’re in a random area.” Okay well, there’s really no where I can stay. And she’s like, “I’m sure you’ll find something… good luck =)!!!!” Click. End call.
#6 Back to the main question, do I stay or do I go?
  • Option A: Do I stay and walk the entire night??
  • Option B: Find a train and go home.
  • Even though I really, really wanted to stay… I mean, the festival was right infront of me… so I just closed my eyes, thought of my safety and booked it to the station in time for the last train (8:oopm, you know a town is tiny when the last train is at 8pm) to get me in the Milano direction.
#7 Getting back to Milan
  • 2hrs later I made it to Verona, paid for a ticket to get to Milan and went to the track… except the train never arrived.
  • Found out that the train is written in the schedule, but they do not to provide that train anymore. The next train was 5:40am. And I should’ve been saying @#$%#$@!!! But I just kept trucking.
  • Walked to the closest hotel to get a room and guess what… they were full. Again, I should’ve been saying @#$%#$@!!! But I just kept trucking.
  • I’m not the type of person who likes to rough it, hostel it, or backpack it… but I just gave up, took a seat, threw up my hoodie, put on my shades and held onto my bag as tight as possible.

Lesson Learned? I’ve gotten use to train delays, cancellations, strikes… those were just a series of unfortunate events. I will say that I was disappointed in this CS experience; train delays aside, Silvia confirmed that she had no intention of hosting me when she texted me this morning (read below)…

October 2 (Happy Birthday Dad!!): About four hours later (2:00am), I got a phone call from my best friend who was parked infront of the Verona Porta Nuova train station waiting to drive me home to Monza (2hrs there and 2hrs back). Can you say, Saint?? I arrived in front of my apartment at 4:15am, took a shower and passed out.

  • Got a text from Silvia at 9:45am saying,

“Good morning, sorry for yesterday I did not have reception. Hope u found a nice place to stay. My friends won’t leave to speckfest before later this afternoon…”

  • Translation: Even if I stayed in the area, we wouldn’t have gone to SpeckFest together…
  • It took me approximately 30-45 minutes to write her a detailed text message, and it went something like this…

“Hi Silvia I wanted to let u know that i was put in a very difficult situation when u told me ur couch was unavailable once I arrived. As suggested i visited/called 9 hotels but they were 100% booked. when i realized my safety was at stake i took the 8pm train in the direction of milan & wasn’t able to get back until the AM. If u host in the future please do not accept a request unless ur positive u can follow thru w/ your agreement. I know this was not ur intention however please take a minute to imagine if you were me last night. Its a shame this happened bc i was looking forward to spending time with u.” (Yes, I copied the exact spellings and lowercase lettering for authenticity LOL).

End Note: Considering the circumstances, my friends say that I was “too nice”. Maybe it’s because I can tell she’s still a bit naive and young. Maybe it’s the teacher in me. Bottom line, this was unacceptable… what do you think?

I still believe in the CS mission and vision. As a host, I know how to treat and care for my guests because Mamma Ma taught me well. And as a surfer, should I continue to surf (granted this was only my third time), I’ll make sure to take the necessary precautions to avoid a situation like this one.

As for SpeckFest, I have nothing to report and an empty stomach.

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!
  • Wow, I cannot believe that happened to you!!! After reading your end note, it looks like you learned a life lesson, and this will only make you a more seasoned world adventurer!!!!

    • This is true Melissa! I try to see everything as a learning experience and in this case, I learned not to push a situation, always rely on yourself, trust- less and have a plan B.

  • I’m really sorry for what happened! This entry tells the situation even better than the way you described it to me today. Imo? Go all the way for a negative reference for that Silvia. Not only because you have every right in the world to be mad at her, but also for her future guests, to know what they *might* run into.

    • Thanks for the advice Fede, I wouldn’t want that to happen to anyone else. Glad to have met you and a few other CS members who embrace the CS mission & values =)