Odysee in Italy — a rant

Returning from Padova I had to change trains in Milano. Unfortunately 15 minutes for changing trains does not seem enough in Italy, my train was 25 minutes delayed (that makes 3 out of my total 3 trains being late) and I missed the connection.

Unfortunately there are no signs at all to a customer service counter, so I go to a ticket machine to get the next connection to Zurich: “Can not show times for Zurich, please go to a counter”. There are 20 Counters, but only 3 of them are open and about 50 persons waiting. I queue for half an hour. The clerk is friendly but has bad news: “Oh that was the last connection, you won’t make it to Zurich today. How about going to Lugano or Bellinzona today, would that help you?”

I don’t care, I have to stay overnight anyway, wherever that is. I ask whether Trenitalia pays a hotel, he tells me to go to the customer service counter on ground floor. I search “customer service” and eventually find it: a small glass box in a corner of the train station with no sign pointing to it.

What a customer service: I show my ticket, trying to explain the situation as quickly as possible. She looks on my ticket, sees the next connection Lugano and tells me to just use the next train to Lugano in 10 minutes, already turning to the next person. She does so in a VERY brief and unfriendly way. I run towards the train, which is a Night Train and extremly overcrowded as it only has one car with seats. It’s also extremly hot in there. I phone Almut: I would be stuck in Lugano for the night and she has checked out hotels meanwhile. Lugano is much more expensive, and she found a good hotel next to the main station in Milano.

So, now I ended up in a hotel in Milano which I will have to pay on my own and still don’t really know when I will get home. My next train departs 10 minutes after my hotel offers breakfast, so I won’t even be able to have that.
Thanks to Almut for remotely recharging my phone, being my internet researcher and information desk and bearing with my annoyedness. Not thanks to Trenitalia whose service did not impress me greatly. I am now in the Facebook group “Odio Trenitalia” (I hate Trenitalia).

UPDATE 2009-07-08: The journey continued on the next day. My train from Milano was again 20 mintes late, and I missed my connection in Lugano. To cut a long story short, the whole trip took me 19 hours.

P.S. Hey Google search, read this: Trenitalia sucks.