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Going to Germany: how?

Di Antonio Caneva, 25 Gennaio 2018

Planning on a trip to Berlin in March, I booked a direct flight in good time. I found exactly what I needed with Eurowings Airlines and I thought to myself that nothing was better than to rely on a serious German company. The surprise came after a month. A laconic message informed me that my flight had been modified. It had happened before, a small difference is always acceptable. It was not so this time: without a word of explanation, they informed me that the new itinerary was from Milan to Cologne to Berlin on the way there, and from Berlin to Stuttgart to Milan on the way back. The one-hour forty-minute flight had turned into a journey of almost five hours (about the time necessary to fly to New York).
How to reach Berlin, then? Air Berlin, which was born full of good intentions, went bankrupt; Alitalia is busy deciding who to sell itself to; Ryanair is recent history in terms of booking reliability; Lufthansa is the owner of Eurowings, and that being the case…
Well, there is always the train. Last November I had to go to Munich from Milan, and I decided to travel by train. My first surprise was that there was no direct connection between two among the most important cities in Europe: you have to change in Verona. I decided for train anyway. After Verona, the train slowed down until it came to a halt in a small station; we were told that there was a voltage drop in the power system. There was chaos onboard, nobody providing any explanations as to what would happen, while a local train was effortlessly passing on the other track. A few passengers who used this line frequently said the problem was due to the fact that, from Verona onwards, the line was managed by the Austrian and German railways, and this did not favour good relationships on the Italian tracks. Out of intuition (with no assistance), we then took a local train to Trento, and then the fast train to Munich. This, of course, had to carry the passengers of two trains, and those coming from my train did not have reservations, so we had to stand for the journey from Trento to Munich.
Why the fuss? We can always go by car, and the motorways are even toll-free! True, but in addition to being poorly kept in several areas, in a short while they will conform and introduce tolls. It seems like they are only devising how to charge visitors while sparing residents the costs, in breach of Community rules…

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