Struggling through the Frecciarossa

Italy has an excellent system of fast trains, contrary to the image of inefficiency associated with the country and its people. The Frecciarossa, the Frecciargento and the Frecciavento connect popular city pairs a couple of times an hour, and as much as every ten minutes in rush hours. A journey between Rome and Milan takes 3h30min instead of the 6 hours it by the slow train or by car. Now if time is money, then that is a lot of time and money saved, especially since the fast trains also have Wifi on board.

Italy’s fast trains (Courtesy: http://www.trenitalia.com)

Our trip to Florence from Rome would also have been perfect, except for the fact that the train carriages were numbered wrong. My father has problems walking too long. But we still dragged him all the way to the end of the track to carriage 11 where we had our seats, only to be confronted with a first class carriage instead of our second class one. It turns out the numbering of the carriages outside on the electronic signs of the track were wrong. Lesson learnt: always look at the numbering on the train carriages itself. Since the train was just about to leave, we had to struggle to put our 3 heavy bags (I begged my parents to pack lightly, but there definition of light did not match mine) onto the train and then lift, drag, push and pull them through 11 carriages worth of heavily crowded train corridors. Along the way we encountered dozens of other disgruntled passengers, who had made the same mistake of trusting the track signs, as they tried to make their way in the opposite direction.

Italy gets so many things right, but then messes up on the details.

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This entry was published on June 3, 2011 at 11:45 am. It’s filed under Europe, Italy, tourism, travel and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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