Tuesday, September 16, 2014

An interesting day in transit to Lake Como

It was a day of stations, waiting, timetables, crowds and rip offs to get to Lake Como (Cadenabbia).

Our first journey was the local train from Rio Maggorie to Monterosso.  Wait there about 50 mins to get the regional train to Milan.  This one was reserved seating, although we didn't know that when we got on, so had to move from our first seats to our proper seats.  Not a problem, although getting the large cases up onto the above racks, a two person job.  
This train was a little slow and stopped at quite a few stations.  It ended up being 20 mins late, which meant we missed the regional train to Como.  Not a big problem as there was an intercity train to Lucern which stopped at Como about 30 mins later.  
Only trouble (which we found out later) was our ticket was only for a regional train.  We didn't have an allocated seat.  There was plenty of room so we just waited until the train took off before we sat in empty seats.  Conductor comes along and slugs us another €15 each because it was an intercity train!  Wasn't our fault the other train was late. She said that if we had gone to the information desk (which I recall had a queue out the door), they would have sorted it out.  In other words, we would have just paid there. Over it now though.  
But I am not over having to pay €1 at the station to go to the toilet!  That was a rip off, and I still had to queue.  Everywhere else in Europe, if you had to pay, it was 50c. Once we got to Italy, it has gone up to 70c or even 80c.  But €1!
An unfortunate incident did happen on the intercity train just minutes before it left the station  Whilst we were standing waiting for a seat with our luggage, we were chatting to 4 people who were sitting opposite each in a five seat area.  3 young women came up to them and said that they were sitting in their seats.  There was some discussion and showing of tickets and pointing to seat numbers.  They women decided they were on the wrong carriage and left.  On returning her tickets to her handbag, she realised that her wallet was missing.  They raced off the train to the police who were just outside on the platform.  The wallet was found a short distance away with the cash missing!  Credit cards were all intact.  The police said there was nothing they could do.  The couple got back on and off went the train.  The 6 of us were stunned at how easily it was done.  The power of distraction.  The confusion of tickets got the lady to open her bag, then the ensuing conversation allowed one of the others to help herself.  Very unsettling.  We have been very cautious the whole trip, our wallets on pacsafe safety chains, and mine in my handbag with its pacsafe lock. 
Eventually we got to Como, lugged cases up MORE steps, and waited another 40 mins for the bus to Cadenabbia.  It was a pleasant time as we chatted to 3 young adults from Melbourne who were going on the same bus.
The bus ride was a little hairy at times, very narrow roads, heaps of Sunday afternoon traffic and heaps of motorcyclists with a death wish!  It was a very welcome end to our journey, although we got off 1 stop too early.  Very poor signage at the bus stops.
Our Hotel is very nice, with a lovely view of the Lake.  I think it is our biggest room yet.  They just keep getting better.
Dinner was in the Hotel Pizzeria last night (although we both went for a meat dish last night.  We have had very little red meat whilst away.  Lots of fish and seafood, which must be good for us).
A day on the Lake today as we catch the Ferry and town hop around the middle lake.
Bye for now.

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