Preface - I wrote this post after a particularly dreadful journey from Cinque Terre, Italy, to Barcelona, Spain. On that unfortunate occasion, I was in transit for 32 hours straight, with not so much as a shower, a bed, or even a place to put my head, except for the floor of the train station. The photo above shows me, hating life, at about 5am, waiting for the 9:30 train to take me out of Torino, where I was kicked off the train because my supposedly all-inclusive railpass wasn't good enough. To my left, a trashcan, and to my right, homeless men sleeping on cardboard boxes.
Okay, I have a bone to pick with the European rail system. And since I’m traveling alone and no one speaks English, I have no one to rant to. Thus, it is you all who must receive the majority of my ranting and raving, and for that I apologize.
Okay, so I have been traveling for over seven weeks now, and I’m pretty sure that every single one of my blog entries has begun the same way: “Well, my trip here was absolutely horrible and I didn’t sleep and it took me 58 hours and there was no water and the car was full and the train broke down and we derailed and there was a strike and they took me to the wrong place, and I’m so exhausted that I can do absolutely nothing but go to sleep at once.”
For the majority of my travels between cities, that’s been the story that I have to tell. Something ALWAYS goes wrong. Always.
And what’s the deal with my railpass? I paid a ridiculously large sum of money (about 1/6 of the entire trip’s cost) so that I could leisurely take whichever train I wanted, for free, at any given time. So what’s with the 20-euro “supplement” that I have to pay for the “nice” trains? Or the “reservation” that I have to book days in advance just to get on board? I bought the railpass specifically to avoid having to worry about things like booking ahead, or paying for tickets. And yet, you still make me do both!
Now don’t get me wrong – I think the rail system is a good thing, and can serve as an efficient and practical way to see
I realize that for now, it may not matter if you offer crappy service – that the trains will still sell out, and the almighty euro will continue to roll in. But eventually, in the long run, people will find alternatives to rail travel; some other way to get there. With the proliferation of the low-budget airline in