This post is written by Katie, about her travel in Europe after IROS 2015.
I woke at 8am and easily arrived at the Innsbruck Hauptbahnhof with enough time to spare before my Euro City 81 train (26€ from Innsbruck to Bologna Centrale) to grab breakfast at the supermarket and answer some questions from other travelers before boarding.
The train was completely packed though! I had to kick someone out of my reserved seat, but the seat was not good. It had no real window and no power. This was disappointing because the first part of the train ride through the Brenner pass was the most beautiful part of the journey. I was also on the wrong side of the car, as all of the good scenery seemed to be on the other side.
I stood near the bathroom at then end of the car for part of the journey through Brenner pass so I could enjoy the views better (although the bathroom smelled terrible). Then I settled into my seat and started working. When some people at a four seat area with a table between on the other side of the car left and I noticed the window seat had no more reservations, I moved to that seat and plugged my laptop into the power outlet. This seat was much nicer, and the train was only about half full. Once I reach the Bologna Centrale station, I had hoped to make a particular connection. However, since we arrived about 10 minutes late and I still had to buy tickets, I found it was too late to buy tickets for that connection. Instead, I bought tickets that would make me connect in Parma and La Spezia Centrale (11.50€ from Bologna Centrale to Parma). Of course, I missed my connections at both stations which turned my estimated 7:30pm arrival into an 11:30pm arrival. Cinque Terre surely was not easy to get to!
The day on trains was long and tiring, due to both crowded trains and missed connections that left me in train stations with poor/limited services (especially compared with German train stations). My Cinque Terre hostel, Ostello Corniglia, said you had to call if we were to arrive after 10pm, so I called and the front desk guy said it was okay and he would still be there.
The train from Parma to La Spezia Centrale became creepily empty about half-way through the journey. When I finally arrived at Corniglia just after 11:30pm, I had to climb the 377 stairs from the train station to the town in the dark. There were a few street lights, but they did not provide enough light so I used my headlamp that I had at the ready knowing the climb might be in the dark. Very few people got off the train with me, and those who did seemed to live near the train station or have a car, as they did not seem to be climbing the stairs with me.
Once in Corniglia, I walked to the town center and quickly found my hostel. I checked in, and was given one of two ‘extra’ beds in what was advertised as an 8-bed dorm on hostelworld but was actually a 10 bed dorm. Although every other bed had a very large locker and power outlet, my ‘extra’ bed had neither. This meant I had to charge my electronics in the bathroom, since there were no other power outlets in the room.