Subject: Re: Eurostar in general (was Eurostar Train from Rome to Florence )

Please allow me a grinch posting re: Eurostar. I don't do this often, but Eurostar brings it out in me.

We try to avoid Eurostar and prefer the Intercity trains which generally take the same amount of time but (at least for now) do not require a supplement.

One reason is that we like the old-style compartments where I can fantasize about spies in trench coats (at least, when we had kindler and gentler spies) from 1940s movies. We always expect Boris and Natasha to appear with coded messages (for those who do not know what we are referring to, they are characters on the all-time greatest cartoon, Rocky and Bullwinkle).

More critically, our last experience would have caused smoke in our ears were it not so funny (even bad incidents in Italy have thus far been funny). We bought tickets from Padua to Florence, and the Eurostar was the most convenient time wise. Yes, we got a reservation as part of our supplement. Unfortunately, the carriage it was supposed to be on was left off the train so we and many others had to sit in passageways. Just to up the ante a bit, they also locked most of the bathrooms. Never have so many knees pressed so firmly together for so long a time. To keep things in spirit, the attendants were surly, but this could be explained by their difficulty in getting the carts through the litter (if that is the proper collective unit) of passengers in the halls. At one point, we received an announcement that the attendants were coming through and that we were supposed to make way for them. I recall uttering an Italian phrase, sotto voce, that began with Va fa ... (please email me for the entire phrase if you are not familiar with it). I got a round of applause from all concerned.

We love the trains, but not the Eurostar.

Ira H. Bernstein, Ph. D. UT-Arlington