When our rental car got cancelled in Italy, Hubs and I decided to take the train from Bologna to Levanto. The trip took a few hours and required us to change trains twice and sacrifice our dignity as we raced across platforms, Hubs huxing our two Very Heavy Suitcases in an effort to not miss our four minute connection. That was ugly. We were taking out little old ladies (not really! I'm painting a picture with my words - just go with it) and getting all red-faced and sweaty in the way only nerdy Americans can. Someone might have cried. Someone else might have silently cursed his girlfriend for bringing 50 lbs of junk to Italy. Might have. Maybe. We may never know the truth.
Anyway, at the other stop, we had a little more time. Twenty minutes or so - not enough to actually leave the station, but enough to not make huge nuisances of ourselves. That's when we saw it - a lovely alcove full of vending machines, just waiting to satiate our travel-induced hunger with delicious Italian candies and weird flavored potato chips.
As it was lunch time, we needed something salty so it felt like a meal. This brings us to the One Thing you should do in an Italian train station: get Parmesan from a vending machine.
Oh, I wish we had photographed this moment. Hubs and I standing side-by-side, perusing the vending machine offerings up and down and up and down when simultaneously, our eyes landed on a shiny red and blue packet with a pale yellow triangle on the front.
"Is that cheese?" one of us asked. We looked at each other - eyes big and questioning. Yes, it was cheese. And yes, we were getting it. Nod in agreement. Drop in our change. Get the vending machine cheese. Oh boy.
Now, I'm sure this makes me some kind of bad person, but I'd never eat cheese from an American vending machine (although I totally eat squirty cheese when no one else is home, so figure that out). This was classy Italian cheese, from a classy Italian vending machine. And really, it was not too shabby. It also came with the ability to - when I'm old and gray - gather the grandkids around, turn off the lights, hold a flashlight to my face and tell them how when Grammy was young, she once.....ate....VENDING. MACHINE. CHEESE! Ahhhhhhh! Everyone scream! Scary!
One thing NOT to do in Italian train stations: use the ladies' room. You won't feel overly lady-like if you find yourself in this situation. Rather, you might feel like you just paid one euro to play a game called "Let's Not Pee on Our Shoes." Scary! Scream!