Dateline: 18.20 31 Aug 1996
Location: Divac^a-Venezia, IC 242 Kras 
Of all the passport checks I've endured in the past few weeks - trust me, I'm a veteran by now - none have been as excruciatingly long, boring, or stupid as ths one here at the Italian-Slovene border, Italy's side. We're up to half an hour now (and counting), during which every passport and visa in the train was checked twice, first by frontier guards, then by carabinieri. This might be only to be expected on a train carrying a large number of Romanians, Hungarians and similar undesirables (from the state's point of view), but not only are these aliens examined under a microscope, but authentic Italianos are interrogated at length as well. Oddly enough, my Finnish passport was handed back after a very cursory glance, in much less time than the interrogation of the Italian sitting opposite me. Go figure. What they hope to achieve with this process is beyond me, since anyone with a valid tourist visa will get in the country whether they harbor nefarious intentions or not. Neither does it make a very good impression on tourists like me, never mind the timetable; before this stop the train was already a whopping hour and a half late. (Poor me almost ran back from the caves to the station, because I thought I was going to miss the station. Well, at least I had time for an extraordinary bowl of goulash at Divac^a's only restaurant.) And I thought IC trains prided themselves on their punctuality... not to mentio efficiency, Mr. Conductor has walked past me twice now and has yet to ask for my ticket. I'm not sure if there's a supplement on this train; if yes, the current situation suits me just fine.

Trieste Centrale... although that probably should be spelled "triste". This place looks like an iron-smelting town in Romania, but they've managed it without Czech chic communism. OK, perhaps I exaggerate a little, but I would still not be surprised to find that Slovenia's standard of living is higher than Italy's. I hope Venezia is a bit better than this. 
The day's budget 
Next / Previous / Index