Sunday, May 13, 2018

Riding the Rails ~ On the 6:20 to Tuscany. . .

To travel by train is to see nature, human beings, towns. . .and rivers, in fact to see life.
-- Agatha Christie

We love European train travel. Nothing can get our travel juices flowing like a train station over here. And our week-long getaway to Italy’s Tuscany last week gave us more than ample opportunity to pursue our passion for ‘riding the rails’.

Roma Termini
We’ve spent most of our lives in the train-starved Washington State where a single train departs for  Canada’s Vancouver, British Columbia or south to Eugene, Oregon, (sometimes as far as California) or east towards Montana and Chicago. These are all one or two departures a day from Seattle.

Then we moved to Greece – there are no trains running here, aside from a small metro commuter in the Athens area. (There is talk of a high speed train between Thessoloniki and Athens one day. . .)

So many tracks, so many destinations

So for this pair of vagabonds, being in a train station bordered by multiple tracks with a reader board listing dozens of destinations, we simply felt like  kids in a candy store.

On the Leonardo Express to Rome

Arriving in Rome
We flew from Athens to Rome. Once there we did as so many travelers do: hopped aboard the Leonardo Express, for the 32-minute ride between the airport and Roma Termini, the downtown Rome train station.
P1070323The cost* was 11 euros per person each direction
(* if booked in advance on-line). It is a quick and easy means of travel into town.

There’s also some great sightseeing as it travels through agricultural land that surrounds the city and then you pass some great historic sites once you enter the city.

Plenty of seats and luggage racks make it a great choice for getting to the airport and there’s usually a train departing every 20 minutes, at most every half hour.

And according to its website, should there be a strike that stops trains from running (we’ve had that happen to us twice during previous visits to Rome) they claim they will provide alternate transport to the airport.

The 6:20 to Tuscany

P1070471We bought our tickets for the train bound for Florence at the same time we’d purchased the Leonardo Express tickets - after we arrived at Rome's airport. We paid dearly for having ‘walked up’ so from that point on, we purchased tickets in advance using the internet.

No printer, no problem. They’ve gone electronic. 
(It was the first time we’d done electronic tickets and I was a wreck turning the phone off and on to make sure the ticket would show up when the conductor came past – but it worked, I am hooked!)

We had no metal detectors, no stripping of coats and shoes, no pulling computers out of the bag. We simply walked from the track on which we arrived, to the track where our train bound for Florence was sitting. 

We were reminded that the reader board displaying train departures lists the train’s final destination, in our case, Milan, and a running list in smaller print tells where stops are made along the way. 

Let the Adventure Begin. . .

I never travel without my diary.
One should always have something sensational to read on the train.”
                                             --Oscar Wilde

Old Oscar must have taken a night train to have written such a thing. One of the wonderments of train travel to our way of thinking is the world passing by the windows. I can’t imagine reading anything with a bit of daylight to illuminate the country through which we traveled. We’d have missed scenes like this. . .

Italian Countryside
And this. . .

Tuscan blues and greens
And those far distant towns. . .we wonder what the names might be as we’ve come without our usual travel companions, a map and a guide book. This was a rather spur-of-the-moment trip for us.

Another town to explore one day
With scenes like these to keep us entertained. The hour and a half trip went rapidly. Well, so did the train, come to think about it!

Readerboard on the train told us the next destination and train's speed
As the sun set, we pulled into Florence. . .home of Michelangelo’s David, shops, galleries, eateries. . .oh my! Coming from our small village in the Greek Peloponnese, it was a shock to the system! I’ll tell you more about that stop in our next post.

However, I have just a bit of housekeeping to do today because the European Union and Facebook are complicating the world of blogging through two separate acts. . .  

Arriving in Florence
First, Facebook. Many of you read the blog after I would post it on FB.  I am learning that FB isn’t always feeding those posts to everyone so if you want to be assured of getting posts, you may need to 'subscribe' (its free – but it is a two step process that involves signing up with the link provided in the right hand column on our home page, and then when Feedburner sends you an email asking if you signed up, you must say yes or verify you did).  I have a number of you who are still unverified on my subscriber list. If you do get it on FB, please hit the like button so it will continue feeding through (assuming you want it to!)

Then comes the EU. On May 25, the General Data Protection Act comes into force across the EU (General Regulation 2016/679 of the European Parliament). This means that companies (and bloggers apparently) will no longer be able to use personal data, (Now keep in mind, I don’t have any personal data for you other than your email address – and I don’t even have that, it is Feedburner that sends the emails). But apparently we must have your consent to send such messages. Now I am not going to contact you individually as I don't know who you are. 

So tell you what. If you don’t want to receive the messages, all you have to do is unsubscribe.

There, I’ve satisfied giving you notice – I hope! (And I hope you don't unsubscribe!!)

Bottom Line:  I am going to be writing a post at least once a week to tell you about navigating the world of the ex pat in Greece and our explorations on this side ‘of the pond’. We are grateful for your comments, shares, and emails and the time you spend with us. . .and look forward to having you with us!

Until next week, safe travels to you and yours and hope you’ll be back for a taste of Florence next week!

Linking up this week with:

Through My Lens
Our World Tuesday
Wordless Wednesday
Communal Global
Travel Photo Thursday – 
Best of Weekend


  1. I love European train travel too. So much. :-) And really miss that here in Australia.

    1. Maybe it is meant to be that those of us who love train travel can only have it in small doses and then it is even more special! Thanks for the comment, my friend!

  2. I love taking the train through different parts of Italy and this area of Tuscany is very scenic - I would love to do that again some day.

    1. And with that photographer's eye of yours, you'd never turn from a window. . .way too many subjects to miss. Thanks for stopping by, Noel. Hope you continue to be safe in Hawaii. The volcano sounds horrendous.

  3. After RVing for 8 years, we are so into rental cars in Europe. But this October, we will try the train from Innsbruck through Oberstaufen through Paris through Valencia and finally, Lisbon. Hope to have the fun you write about!

    1. Well do book in advance as the prices can be breathtaking otherwise! Train travel isn't quite as economical when you walk up to a window to purchase the ticket! But you will have a blast as the countryside starts rolling past.

  4. I actually stayed at a hotel near Rome's Termini neighbourhood which made it very handy to go exploring. I too love train travel - it's so much easier than flying.

    1. Love that neighborhood and it is an easy and straight shot walk to the Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain from there. It does still feel civilized to travel by train, doesn't it? Thanks for stopping by this week! J.

  5. I enjoyed this post so much that I decided to follow you. Looking forward to future posts of your travels.

    1. So glad you enjoyed this Latane and so happy to have you among our followers. Next week we are off to Florence so glad to have you along with us!! Jackie

  6. I LOVE to travel in Europe by train!

    1. Glad to know others share our love for riding the rails! Hope you'll be back often!

  7. Replies
    1. I hope you catch that dream one of these days - the experience is amazing! Thanks for commenting this week!!

  8. Hi Jackie. I love traveling by train in Europe. I've done quite a bit of train travel in Spain. The Algarve in Portugal also has a great train system, which makes it easy to day trip. Thanks for linking up this week. #TPThursday

    1. Oh we love those Spanish trains as well and used them often on our last trip there. Will link up this week per our earlier 'conversation' See you soon!

  9. I always try to take a train trip or two when I go to Italy, or anywhere else for that matter. I agree with you about looking out of the window - I've sometimes gone back to find a place that I've spotted from a train!

    1. Those places spotted from train windows are like magnets aren't they? I even like the graffiti that seems to cover every building on the train's approaches to towns! Thanks for commenting Karen!

  10. I love that you quoted Agatha Christie here. Her "Murder on the Orient Express" comes to mind. And I love train travel. I'm with you on the lack of trains on the Wet Coast...I used to live in White Rock, BC, when young boys loved to put down pennies to flatten on the tracks. Fishing from the trestle was a favourite (but dangerous) pastime for those same boys. Have you ever read "The Old Patagonian Express"? Now that was a train trip!
    Thanks for sharing your photos, prompting so many memories.
    An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

    1. Oh White Rock!! We saw it when we rode the train to Vancouver and the place enchanted me. I always vowed to return and didn't get it done before we headed to Greece. I suspect we will be back one day and I'll get there yet!! Thanks for the comment, Kay!

  11. In Europe, choosing train travel over short haul plane flights are a no brainer. We visited Italy for 2 weeks in April. Our travel was by tour bus, but had we been traveling independently, I'm sure we would have opted for the train as we have on other trips. The only down side to the train is, especially on the new fast routes in Europe, the train tracks are often lower than the countryside, so the view is obscured. They also go so fast (compared to good OLD Amtrak), that what scenery there is, is often a blur. Still, it's definitely the way to go if the thought of driving in a new country is worrisome.

    1. I hear you on the speed. I deleted a dozen photos or more that were nothing more than a blur through the window. . .and on one segment, a very dirty window as well! We have found that even though comfortable with driving in Europe it usually keeps both of us focused on the road, directional signs and traffic so this way we can both enjoy the ride and scenery! Thanks for the thoughtful comment, Suzanne!

  12. Thank you for sharing with us at

  13. The trains in Italy are so much fun! I can relate to your excitement. I've ridden the Leonardo Express, too. It's so easy to travel around Italy on trains. I didn't realize Greece lacks this kind of transportation.

  14. I too love train travel in Europe. I am impressed with the photos you managed to get out the window too! Your article brought back a lot of memories of my own train experiences. :-)

  15. I totally cracked up at the checking and unchecking of the phone part. I did that the first time too, it makes you what if it doesn't work ! :-) . I love train travel too and it is very common in Spain. Hope you're having fun on your travels.


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