The EuroStar train ride from Florence to Milan was predictably uneventful. It was that way because the service is perfect. Well, almost.
Don’t mention the WiFi that didn’t work. It provided a reminder of the bad old days of any Italian public service. I can remember there was a time (I swear, this is true) when the Italian Post Office got so far behind in delivering the mail that they solved the problem by dumping tons of it in the Tiber River.
Modern communications gets no better respect on EuroStar. The conductor’s response when I asked why it wasn’t working was the internationally understood raised and sharply turned handgesture that says, “Why the fuck are you asking me?”
I did not press him because I had already pulled off a serious deception by traveling on a EuroPass without the required companion with whom I’d bought the hugely discounted package. (That’s another story told elsewhere.)
When he asked where she was, I pointed to the toilet and deliberately chose to speak in English, “She’s been in the toilet for the last 15 minutes. I think she’s vomiting.” And, to make the point, I put a hand up to my throat and made the expected sounds. He punched the tickets and scuttled away, never to return.
The dining car apparently either closes very early in the trip or isn’t open at all. It was maybe just over an hour out of Florence when I headed for it. It was deserted except for a railway employee. I asked if I might order some food. She gave me the feminine version of the same “WTFAYAM?” hand gesture, complete with The Shoulder Hunch.
But I sat down and took out my camera. Just as I was about to take a photo of the handsomely designed interior, she rushed up and blocked my view. “No photo. No photo. No Photo.”
But why not?
“Privacy, privacy. No photo. ”
Privacy for whom? There’s no one else here and if you will please get out of the way your privacy will be assured.
“No photo. No photo.”
So I waited until she walked away and started taking picture using the timer, with the camera sitting on the table, figuring she would not realize what I was doing.
She didn’t react when I took a few shots but my heart was not in it. If EuroStar wants to keep secret the handsome burgundy, gray and black stripes of the dining car decor, who am I to out them?