Don’t ever take

Italian Train at night. At least not one of the long distance ones.

Back tracking a bit – in spite of my Swiss flight being delayed out of SFO more than 80 minutes we managed to arrive in Zurich close to on time. Pretty good considering that Zurich was suffering from the snow and fog that seems to be the winter norm for them.

 

Well, that is obviously NOT SFO

Well, that is obviously NOT SFO

Even more amazing was that I actually managed to get from the far end of “E,” through Passport Control, and to the far end of “B” in sufficient time to actually make my connecting flight! And yes, these two gates are as far from each other and in distant terminals as is physically possible while still being in the same airport. So there I am, standing around waiting to board. One of the gate personnel comes over to ask if I am traveling alone.

Yes. Oh, she says after looking at my ticket – I was looking for someone to upgrade who is traveling by themselves. Not me, I was already there. But told her that I had been standing in line behind a young woman who was traveling by herself and pointed her out. A few minutes later, this slightly dazed young woman brain dead from her LA->Zurich flight came over and thanked me. She is headed to Italy to meet relatives….she had been dreading this last leg of the flight.

Arriving in Rome, and hiking forever to Baggage Carousel 10 I thought I was just about home free. Checking at several of the transfer counters with late night charges the cost of a transfer was totally and completely unreasonable.

And here is where my saga with the train began.

It is 11E. One takes a train from the Airport to Rome Trastevere, changes to the FR5 and gets off in Civitavecchia. In theory.
1) I was told Train #3. It was actually 3343 from track 2.
2) At first I attempted to sit, but it was so crowded and the women next to me so loud I couldn’t hear the announcements. Standing in the entry way with a goodly size crowd might not have been as comfortable, but I could read the electronic station sign and actually hear the announcements.
3) I figured out which stop was Trastevere and got off. Then there was the challenge of trying to figure out which platform for the next train.
4) Italy doesn’t do big permanent placards on the platforms like -oh, France, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium….. but that particular station apparently does have permanently assigned platforms to certain destinations.
5) Platform 2 looked like the right place to be.
6) about 20 minutes later a train pulls in to this platform and everyone piles on. The Platform monitor only has the end destination city and no train number. The train is not displaying a number. The electronic signs in each car give the car #, the train speed, inside temperature and outside temperature and the useful information that the lavatories were out of order.
7) There are no announcements over the tannoy
8) there is no running sign of stations
9) there are no placards up indicating train route or any other useful information.
10) about three stops later a conductor comes by. No – doesn’t speak English, or German or French. but yes – Civitavecchia is on this line. And he leaves. A stop later he comes by again. I inquire “how many more stops?” He replies 4-5.
11) Another stop later he comes by and holds up three fingers.
12) three stops later I get off. Looks like the right place. Looking back at the train – the conductor is standing there nodding at me. I think he wanted to make sure that I was gone.
13) Most of the stations (including my destination) did not have discernible signage visible from either the platform or train.

So there you have it. Made calling my hotel and getting them to call me a taxi a breeze after that!

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