Tuesday, March 3

Tante Belle Cose for Travelers to Italy

You may have noticed I’ve been playing hooky for awhile, but, hopefully all will be forgiven as I have been picking up great experiences (and not so great – see left column) for the blog…But first, the good news (which does not include finding snackpack-sized Oreos in every airport and bar these days. Although it was seriously about time. I think Marco Polo even with his 20 year stint in China brought noodles here sooner).

While driving to and fro, the big electronic sign boards on Italy's highways have posted a new message (Heaven forbid they actually tell us about tie-ups):
Make sure you fasten your child in a child seat with seatbelt.

We don’t know what drove the authorities to come to their senses (pun not intended), much less if it will have any effect, but we still remain pleased. If it can just get one mother to reconsider holding la bambina in her arms, well, it will not be all for naught.

Of course, there will always be exceptions:
A woman in America was arrested recently for holding her baby in her arms – WHILE DRIVING. AND BREAST-FEEDING. AND SCRIPTING A TEXT MESSAGE. Talk about multi-tasking…

Also while making the rounds, I discovered Bagels being touted at the Autogrill!!! (sorry, couldn't resist the pun). Personally, I don’t like the idea of all these American treats on every thoroughfare, but I secretly rejoiced while downing one of their fabulous blueberry muffins…
Click here to find the Bleeding Espresso blog on where else to get awesome American goodies.

While in Rome, those monster buses have been rerouted out of the center. This is just one element of Mayor Alemanno’s drive to make the city center a better place and his work does not go unnoticed.
Although I found on those same buses a huge ad campaign explaining the new (increased) parking rates for those driving around…
Considering that the majority of bus passengers are immigrants, school kids and the elderly, I thought the message was a bit misplaced. Might have made more sense just to post the rates around the parking areas…

While traipsing through Fiumicino Airport (aka Leonardo Da Vinci) on a Sunday night, we were surprised to find the shops open (even if the exit doors were not). We don’t know if this is due to the recession, but, it was nice to see things lit up – even on Sundays – and in Arrivals. I also noticed that the airport departures lounges have gone silent (for the most part).
Great news for all of us iPod people…now we’ll really be in peace, but you really gotta keep your eye out for last-minute gate changes. I’ve nearly missed flights coming and going as a result.

And, good news for the train traveler, one of whom I used to be…but why bother when you can fly to London for less?? They now (actually for some time now) have a superfast train Rome-Milano.
But lest you get visions of bullet trains dancing in your head…Italy boasts the only superfast trains that go slow. But, they cut out the middlemen (Florence – Bologna) and now you’re on your way. Now, if they can only apply the concept to business…


Tune in this week for the Bad News for travelers.

4 comments:

Jacques said...

Too bad the superfast train costs an arm and a leg, making the airlines' fares competitive.

I don't know how on-schedule thay manage MI-RM, but the "high-speed" (not quite "super-fast") on the Milan-Venice tract of the Turin-Trieste line manages to regularly respect a timetable, sure, but only of the next slower category, usually. That is: the 2:20 superfast time is almost never, but it is still nice making it in 2:40-2:45 which is less than the old InterCity's 2:55 which was almost always 3:05-3:10. Too bad that someone who isn't in a hurry and were willing to take an IC (lower cost, particularly on shorter trips) is almost forced to pay close to double for a SuperES-Something-Surcharge-Upgrade in certain periods of the day where they eliminated all other trains (to clear the tracks?) for a couple of hours each side.
And heaven forbid you miss a train and need another category, it's almost easier just to buy a new ticket rather than change your reservation sometimes.

Funny also how Swiss Railways announce polite requests for forgiveness with 3 minute delays, but FFSS can't be bothered by a chronic 10-15 minute delay, unless some passenger has specifically requested information about a tight connection at a "hub" station like Milan or Mestre.

michelle | bleeding espresso said...

I'm sorry, my eyes glazed over after "bagels"....

Thanks for the linky love :)

Carol said...

stop. press.

saturday 10:30pm shops OPEN at termini station. (and lots of them!)
what is going on here??

Francesca Maggi said...

L'anti-crisi let's hope!