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  • Writer's pictureJames Eric Fristad

Tickets & More Tickets

Updated: Jun 30

There's something scarey, to me, about showing up ticketless at an Italian stazione, and therefore having to wait in line to converse through that little hole in the plate glass separator whose clean transparency divides my needy tourist self from the efficient expert looking back at me, who can help if I an not too flustered to articulate where I hope to go and when. Now, maybe you'll just walk up to that scenario, but more likely you'll find yourself queued up behind several native speakers who know what they want and whose banter easily expresses that. You are playing and replaying your helplessness as the easy banter continues between those paisanos ahead. I am happy to go online and buy the ItaliaRail reservations from my computer at home. Neat and efficient without the certainty of feeling a fool when suddenly asked for my preferences by that formerly-pleasant ticket agent - all the while imagining eyerolls of natives waiting (too long) behind me.


So now we are going (and know that we are going, thanks to purchased digital scan codes on my smartphone) from Venice to Ravenna; Rome to Desenzano, way the heck north in the Lake District; Desenzano to Levanto; Levanto to the border of France; and from Nice to Aix-en-Provence. The system is pretty neat: the morning of departure you check in via your smartphone, which essentially commits you to ride that one train that one time. If the uniformed ticket-scanning person finds your ticket hasn't been thus prepped, there's a substantial fine. See thou do it not.


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