Douwe Osinga's Blog: Taxis and Nighttrains

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Taxis and Nighttrains

About a year ago, a double confusion involving trains having a different schedule on Sunday than on other days and the similiarity between two cities in the Ruhr made us miss a night train, you can read the story on this blog. Suffice to say that 58 Euro spend on a taxi didn't get us on the right train in the end. Marx wrote that history repeats itself, once as a grand tragedy, the second time as a rotten farce. He's silent about the third time though.

Three weeks or so, we undertook another night train trip, this time combining a goodbye pary of the sister of my wife with a birthday party of my brother (another present, right here). Everthing went quite well, except for when we wanted to leave again from Osnabruck and it turned out that the connecting train to Hannover had been canceled, to be replaced by a succession of three trains, two slow ones and one IC. The slow once made us feel uncertain, since fast ones don't wait for the slow once, but they went fine. Unfortunately, the fast train had a 60 minute delay, enough to make us probably miss the train in Hannover. Trying not to think too much about our previous taxi adventure we reluctantly forked over the 130 Euros a local driver wanted to bring us to Hannover.

It was quite a ride; we didn't have much time and 170 Km/h over the German Autobahn is at least value for money. Once in the city, however, it turned out that the driver didn't really know where the station was, so he started yelling at random people asking where to go. With two minutes on the clock we entered the railway building. We ran up the stairs only to find out that the tracks had been changed; we could see our train on the track on the other side of the station. We ran down, slightly panting now, raced up the stairs again, made it to the train - which then sat in the station for another 15 minutes.

Last monday it was third time lucky. Or not. When we arrived in Ferarra, we neither couldn't find the track where the train should leave (2) or the time on the big board. The first thing never got resolved. There is no track 2 in Ferarra. The second thing was easier: the train got canceled. A friendly local offered us to drive us to Bolognia for 50 euro, from where our night train was leaving.

We made it nicely in time to Bologna, with our taxi driver mumbling something about that we really should go to Vienna, not to Basilia. A little later we understood why. There was a strike and only the odd train was going; at 4 am there would be one going to Milan, with a possible (or not) connection to Zurich.

Of course we decided to do the right thing and take a hotel and figure out the next day what to do. Better arrive a day late for work than hang out on the railway station for 4 hours I always say.