Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Challenge of Porta Susa

I find it highly amusing that every time I try to get out of Torino’s Porta Susa (the train station closest to my apartment) I get lost. No exaggeration: I have literally never made it out without wandering around for at least fifteen minutes to an hour. The ironic part is that the Porta Susa is the smaller train station in Torino. Porta Nuova is the main station, but it is much easier to navigate. You can just walk up from the metro and enter in the front doors of the station, and there are all of the tracks. If there was a god, this is how all train stations would be.

Not so with Porta Susa: it is a verifiable labyrinth of long hallways and stairs, complete with signs that no matter how carefully one follows, inevitably lead to further disorientation and confusion. Well, this time I decided to put my faith in the crowd that got off of my train and follow them to the exit. “When in doubt, follow the crowd” is my recently adopted credo, and it usually steers me in the right direction. However, this time even the crowd got lost! I laughed out loud when I reached the top of one set of stairs to see the leading group of Italians paused there, looking at the signs with bewildered expressions. They recovered relatively quickly, heading down another flight of stairs, then up the correct ones and out into the long walkway that eventually leads to the street. This time there was only that one minor detour, and I still made it out in under 10 minutes (a record-breaker for me). It was good to discover that I’m not the only directionally-challenged one out there, though.