Train Strikes and Stubborn Italians

saletto road
Image: aghman.

I had warning. An email from the Padova bus website, a service I had mistakenly signed up for when trying to figure out their maze of bus routes a few weeks prior. "There is a possible transit strike this Friday, May 15th. Buses and public transportation will operate on a limited schedule, with service between the hours of 12 and 3 pm." I worried for a moment and then brushed my typical anxious thoughts aside. It's Italy...go with the flow, I told myself. Don't worry about it unless it actually happens.

Six Transit Tips for Washington DC

zombies on dc metro
Image: JamesCalder.

Ok, guys we need to get off NOW.... it's the Smithsonian stop and these doors might just close in on us and eat us alive. Run!!! Grab the children and run. The rest of the train sits unphased, motionless and glassy-eyed, much like the zombies above. These are the real DC metro riders, the commuters; and a tourist is their worst nightmare. They don't know the rules, they get in the way, and they're all too cheery about riding around the city when the rest of the train just wants to get to work. I was that zombie for six years when I lived and worked in Washington, DC. And over the course of it all, I learned a few lessons that make the ride just a bit smoother. So, the next time you head into the nation's capital, keep these tips in mind. Please, don't be that guy.

Ask an Italian: Getting Around on the Train

Every week, Francesco Serra, our good friend and expert on all things Italian, gives us perspective on Italian culture. Residing in the northern city of Padova, but being a fiercely proud native Calabrian, he brings a unique perspective on all things Italian.

Our question today for Francesco....Hi Francesco! Italian trains stress me out....I was wondering if you had any advice for taking the train while in Italy. How early do I need to arrive for the train? What's the easiest way to buy a ticket? And what is the whole deal between first and second class? Would appreciate any advice you could give on how Italians take the train.

Have a question about Italy? Send Francesco an e-mail and we'll have him answer your question here.

Trips We Won't Be Taking: A Ride on the Orient Express

orient express bar
Image: Feuillu.

We read recently on Tony Wheeler's blog (that's Tony Wheeler of Lonely Planet fame) that when he needed to get from the UK to Italy, he decided to skip the affordable, quick trip on Easy Jet and take a ride down on the Orient Express. We were intrigued and the idea of chugging across Europe in a vintage locomotive appealed to our romantic sensibilities. But, his account of his trip was noticeably lacking any details on how one could take such a trip themselves. Details that we quickly learned took this romantic ride deep into luxury travel territory.

Choosing Transportation in New York City

new york subway
Image: Mat Honan

I'm heading to NYC this weekend and it's been awhile since I've been there. When considering my transportation options, the seasoned travel advice "get a transit pass" popped in my head. But more importantly, when transit is concerned....know thy options. Sure, a tourist card may make sense in other cities throughout the world, like Berlin. But for my four day stint in New York, I discovered it's better to pay as you go.