Missed night train in Milan

So….. me and my father were supposed to see each other around 10 PM in Milano Porta Garibaldi. You do need some knowledge on forehand to understand the whole story: network reception was bad, nobody spoke English, GPS apparently was not working, and the offline map of Italy was the ónly one that I forgot to download on forehand, and as it turned out we were under time pressure. We tried to communicate via Whatsapp, and around 22:20 my father was at platform 1 – and I was at platform 1.. but obviously not the same platform 1 because I didn’t see him. Under a little bit of stress we made a quick Whatsapp call, and found out that my father was at station Milano Porta Garibaldi Passante. I then realized that he was at another station, so I immediately planned something on the Interrail app with 1 transfer with which he should arrive at 23:04 at Milano Porta Garibaldi. Long story short: first train wen’t fine, however arriving at the transfer station: no train. Some passengers/conductors meanwhile helped him, saying that an other train would to go Garibaldi that would arrive at approximately the time that we were supposed to leave (23:17). While being on the Whatsapp call again, we found out that he AGAIN arrived at Milano Porta Garibaldi Passante, and meanwhile the conductor was convinced that the over-night trains would leave from the ‘main station’. I tried everything at my side (I saw the train on the board), but nobody spoke English. Conclusion: 5 minutes after we had missed our train all of a sudden we saw each other. It turned out that we were approximately 100 meters away from each other, but in different buildings. There is indeed a Milano Porta Garibaldi Passante station, and a Milano Porta Garibaldi station (located next to each other). But without working GPS, without any information signs (next morning we still found no indication of ‘Passante’ from the main building), without me having the offline map (we would have seen the 2 stations there!), without anyone speaking English and without anyone being able to give any sort of direction we were stranded. It’s weird to realize that if only 1 of these factors would have been working properly – we wouldn’t have any issues at all. Nevertheless, this is an ‪#‎Interrail‬ experience that you most likely will experience, in the sense that your train will get stranded somewhere.. or you’ll miss the last overnight connection hence you have to stay in the station overnight. We wanted to avoid that, so after an enjoyable night-walk (it really was!) through Milan we found an “affordable” place to stay. So now we’re in the high-speed train to Rome, where we will arrive ~3 hours later than planned… that still gives us a full 5 hours to see the best of Rome! Our journey has begun, after a small hickup. The train were are in now is exceptionally luxurious (drink/snack), and on the main part of the route it will go as fast as 300 km/h! You can compare it with the new Eurostars that’ll be running soon between Amsterdam and London, I think. Rome, here we come.

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