Douwe Osinga's Blog: The last train to Milan

Thursday, June 29, 2006

The last train to Milan

One thing I am not particulary good at, is to accept things that are not very logical. Last weekend I was in Milan and I needed to get back to Zurich. I had missed the last train by a couple of minutes and was walking along the tracks to make sure it had really left, this being Italy after all, when I came across a train leaving for Dortmund in a quarter of an hour, passing by Belizone. In my mental picture of Switzerland any such train had to pass Zurich by not too great a distance but still my routeplanner insisted that the only way of reaching the largest city of Switzerland before the 7 o'clock express involved waiting four hours on a forsaken station in the middle of the night.

The unfriendly lady of the Italian railways refused to sell me a ticket to Zurich saying there were no more trains to Zurich and I should come back tomorrow. My pleas that maybe I wanted to break my journey in Belizona and continue to Zurich with the earliest train possible fell on if not deaf ears then certainly no longer understanding ears. Belizone it was.

The signs at the tracks threatened that the next stop after Belizone would be in Karlsruhe safely in Germany and about three hours after I estimated this train to pass Zurich, but I decided to board anyway. As it turned out, I was right. The train also stopped at the Swiss German border where my passport was checked and I therefore woken up. I quickly got off the train to find myself in the German part of Basel. It was only about an hour walk to the Swiss railway station where I had to wait 70 minutes for the first local train departing in the direction of Zurich. I had to change trains in some small town and succeeded in missing the connection by not paying attention and being tired and finally arrived at home around 6:30 in the morning. And to think they had almost lured me into taking a comfortable hotel in Milan and the fast train in the morning.