The place: Milan’s central train station. The state: one of exhaustion. The time: Recently. The ticket: One-way, to Venice, cheap. Method of payment: Cash. Who’s the complete idiot: Me.
Why? Because somewhere along the way from Milan to Venice, oh probably around Brescia, someone walked off the Eurostar Italia train with my suitcase. Which was stuffed, in characteristic Voyagiste fashion, with another suitcase. Which was crammed with Christian Lacroix finery and other irreplacables, which I had schlepped to Europe in order to look good during what turned out to be the press trip from hell (the hell part being in France, but that’s another story). I filed a police report with the Carabinieri in Venice — a brief procedure which produced nothing of use (such as my stolen suitcase) or much interest except a surreal conversation with an impossibly stylish Italian police officer about rents in New York City.
With no insurance to cover the loss — any part of it — I wandered to my hotel across the lagoon with the shirt on my back, my wallet and just enough juice in my iPhone (they had stolen the charger) to make the necessary calls to cancel the rest of my trip.
This is not the optimum way to unlock the mysteries of Venice.
Now, getting back to the train station in Milan…had I thought to whip out my credit card instead of a few euros to pay for the ticket, my stolen luggage would have been insured up to $3,000. Which would have helped, as replacing all that was lost has cost me upwards of $5,000.
Many credit cards include this type of coverage automatically, but I never bothered to read the fine print. But chances are good to excellent that if you’re traveling by train in Italy, someone will at some point, and probably when you least expect it, go after your bag.
So keep the cash for the cappucinos kiddies, and lay out the plastic for those train tix.