Aboard the sleek, air-conditioned, fully serviced Frecciarossa (Red Arrow) high-speed train, I embarked on a mesmerising journey from the vibrant city-scape of Bologna, in northern Italy to the sun-kissed shores of southern Sicily.

As the train smoothly glided through the picturesque landscapes of Tuscany, all the way down to Calabria, my thoughts went to the reasons behind this eleven-hour journey. I was en route to join my dear friend, renowned author Milagros Branca, for the upcoming five days, during which we would celebrate her special birthday.

Curiosity sparked within me: How would the train overcome the geographical challenge of crossing from mainland Italy to the island of Sicily?

Upon reaching the mainland’s end, our transition from the Frecciarossa to a regular intercity train unveiled a captivating display of engineering and transportation. This intercity train seamlessly glided onto a colossal vessel. This vessel, purposefully designed to carry intercity trains, stood as the singular ferry of its kind in the Italian railway infrastructure.

In this extraordinary manoeuvre, the shift from rails to waves wove together the old-world charm of Italy with the convenience of modern travel. The transformation was awe-inspiring, and the brief thirty-minute crossing of the Strait of Messina turned our journey into an exceptional multi-modal experience—one that remained unrivaled as we ventured onto the captivating island Sicily

QueenB!…….Abuzzing off

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