During October the Northwest in Motion team traveled to Italy to meet with our retail suppliers and do some sightseeing.
Our retail manager Francesca Carmichael was born and raised in Cremona. As a native, she planned and guided a trip that would have been impossible for an average American tourist. Since this was my first trip to Italy, it was awesome to have a local guide.
(Trying a new image format: To view the full captions, click on the three dots below each image.)
Arriving in Milano’s Linate airport, and doing all of our travel using the Italian train and transit system, we made a counter-clockwise loop:
Now, if you are familiar with train travel in France, Germany, or Switzerland, this itinerary looks like it should be uneventful. But, we experienced disruptions almost every day and had to improvise and re-route to get to our destinations. This was only possible with local knowledge and native language speaking ability. Francesca noted that the disruptions were not uncommon. Rather than getting upset and frustrated, I felt that being part of the daily Italian commute enhanced my connection with the place and people.
Francesca’s Italy Train Travel Tips:
1. To ensure you have enough buffer to get to your destination on time, catch the first train possible, usually around 6AM, which (might) reduces the possibility of disruptions or delays.
2. Unless you have a non-stop routing to your destination, it’s probably not worth the premium to pay for a high speed train. Any transfers you need to make could result in delays that will nullify whatever time you saved taking a faster train.
3. To take the edge off and put a smile on your face, start each train travel day with a cappuccino and a pastry. Most coffee shops near train stations open at 6AM. It’s ok to lose track of how many cappuccinos and macchiatos you drink.
4. Since you are up early to catch the first train, take a meandering route to the station and enjoy some of the sights before the other tourists arrive.