“The reality about transportation is that it’s future-oriented. If we’re planning for what we have, we’re behind the curve.” Anthony Foxx
Goodman Giants don’t know who Anthony Foxx is and that’s okay. We know we plan considerably, and that planning always includes actions in the future. We have not yet planned to rent a car in the past, take a train already out of the station…if we ever do plan after the travel we will surely let the Giant Fans know.
The Rome Metro was better than the London Tube in the Giants sampling. It was hot in Rome, but never did the Giants feel Satan’s Breath felt in London. The travel conditions on the metro in Rome were tight, but at least they were cool without the use of a heater.
The last public transit of EPIC Camp Goodman was in Rome. As you can see the Giants could smile without the discomfort easily found on two other transit system in Paris and London.
German systems in Berlin and Hamburg were both used and were the cleanest of all without the negatives found in London and Paris. Likely these cities with their S and U Bahns are better system than Rome’s. So Rome, Italy ranks in the middle of mass transit sampler in June and July of 2018:
Uber is not available as often in Europe as most Giants would like. Giants are traditionally big fans of Uber and Lyft for the convenience and comfort provided. Taking a ride sharing trip usually means transparency in route selection allowing the passengers to see the correct amount of the city and not getting undesired site seeing. Reputation is built on a collection of individual events. Taxis have built their reputation over decades that have allowed Uber to compete. The oldest of the Giant sons inquired after a taxi ride in Rome, “Who do the drivers always call?” One wonders.
In Rome the Giants summoned an Uber for a trip that was quoted as 20 minutes drive time and €40. After 20 minutes had passed the app showed the drive time would still be 25 more minutes. Clearly the driver provided the Giants with additional Roman site seeing that was unwanted. Rather than following the suggested route that avoided city traffic the Uber driver took the family travelers straight into the heart of city traffic. Californias think of it this way: say you need to get from Long Beach to Ontario and your driver takes you through downtown Los Angeles. The Roman Uber driver delivered the Giants to their destination much later than planned at 71% more than quoted (€68.54 instead of €40). A return trip by taxi cost €30 after rounding up for a tip (more efficient route, to a slightly different return location). Essentially Uber charged 128% more than taxi. After complaining through the app Uber brought the charge down to only 28% more than taxi allowing the time waste and site seeing to mostly be the Giants concern.
So who do the taxi drivers call? The Roman taxi driver on the Giants trip was talking to his mamma as seen in the lead picture.
Italy has a reputation amongst Europeans of having poor train travel. The trains are said to be in poor condition and the service known to be unreliable. When the Giants took trains Zermatt, Switzerland to Venice, Italy the Swiss train staff warned about train travel in Italy and said, “hopefully you will get a Swiss train for this whole journey.” This Swiss SBB employee spoke from deap in his soul about the concern about Italian trains not simply from his pride in country or his employer. The train for that trip was Swiss and not the best of trains. AC was out on one of the cars (luckily not ours).
In booking travel Venice to Florence the Giants found competing companies offering train travel options. First class tickets purchased for 18.90 Euros a piece. So for less than $23 a person the Giants booked passage. What about the reputation though?
The Giants had an amazing travel experience on italo. Free snacks and drinks, plenty of space for bags, extra leg room, clean (rather clean), friendly staff, announcements overhead in Italian and English, and good conversation with other travelers.
Check out the nice touch with the bathroom notice:
Traveling on high speed trains through Europe has its perks. Going 244km per hour does not allow for opening the windows when the train gets hot and muggy. Likely you would not open your car window if you wanted to cool off while driving 151 miles per hour. What does Deutsche Bahn (DB) do if the air condition is out for a couple of train cars? The train provider gives out free boxed water.
Lucky for the Giants they were only momentarily hit by this neglectful heatwave while traveling Berlin, Germany to Basel, Switzerland with DB in July of 2018. The oldest and youngest male Giants walked end to end on the train to help the latter get out ants, wiggles and whatever else from his pants.
A lesson learned just a few days ago by the Giants would be timely for the overheated to know. How could staff or peers tell them without causing a exodus stampede? The lesson is that trains in Europe are like flying on Southwest and American Airlines at the same time with different rules for different passengers. Simple to know, and you will be glad you do when you find yourself in a tin can hot enough to make mayo go bad:
All tickets are bought by class allowing the possessor to sit in any available seat in that class. 1st*, 2nd**, and 3rd. Think Southwest with a catch.
Some tickets include a reserved seat, usually for a premium or included as part of longer passage. Think American with a catch.
Those with reserved seats can sit in their assigned seat or they can refer to rule 1 above and take another available seat in their class. At times this means the passenger will take a seat that was vacated by a reserved seat traveler (always with the risk of that person returning to claim the seat).
The dining car adds options for travelers since those seats are first come first serve to travelers from any class of cars.
Knowing this, why stay in a car without AC? Get up and see that the rest of the train is cooled if you find yourself being given free water.
Pro tip: board the train as soon as it arrives and find vacant non-reserved seats so you and your group can have a table. Of course these seats can be reserved but often it doesn’t work out.
An even bigger find is to get a compartment for your group that is free. This can be thrown off by on reservation or by one fleet foot traveler if you are looking for space for six.
Reservation usually are marked on boards like this:
Since this one was vacant a family of Giants moved in at Berlin to emerge over 7 hours later.
*1st class train travel is in no way parallel to 1st class plane travel. Staff seems the same in 1st and 2nd, some 1st class train cars bring ordered and paid for food to the seats, seats are leather rather than fabric but often the same width and comfort, and the seats are less filled with travelers in 1st.
**2nd class train travel will mean that sitting together as a group larger than two during busy travel times and seasons will be difficult without great luck or reservations.