Sunday, October 5, 2008

Ricardi train station

As we were waiting in the train station  I could not help but notice how much graffiti one could see and how run down this station was. Like most stations now in Calabria with the exceptions of the major ones these small town stations all look like this.
 Yet standing there I  could not help but remember how these train stations were the connection to the world of the Americans, Australians, French ,and the Milanese and more. People would be waiting in anticipation for their families to arrive for their summer vacations. Grandparents ,aunts, uncles, cousins would be jumping up and down as the trains would pull up to the stations. 
I remember looking around and seeing beautiful birdbaths and amazing little gardens with vibrant colored flowers and benches everywhere at these stations. For you see train stations back then were a place where seniors like my grandparents would go  to sit and relax on the bench reading the newspaper while listening to the sounds of the little birds . You could hear  faint echos of conversations people were having as they were waiting for their trains to pull up to the station. How can I forget the train masters wife who would be hanging out clothes from her window while saying hello to all in the station she knew every ones name and would strike up conversations with them . People would just stroll up and down admiring the little gardens that they could take there passegiata . 
While we were waiting for the train to take us from Ricardi to Scilla . I noticed a women walking my way and she stop and sat next to me on the bench. She started a conversation with me about this particular train station. "Up until 2 years ago this train station was the most beautiful one in Calabria." She told me that she and her husband would come her and just walk through the little garden filled with the most beautiful flowers one could imagine. The structure of the building resembled a magnificent villa . She told me that the government can not afford to keep this small stations going anymore and that were left abandoned .In fact not to many trains stop in the small towns anymore. 
Yet like all Italians it has not stop them for going back to the place with emotional ties and looking ahead  hoping that one day these little stations will make a come back and be what they once were.