Tiburtina Station RedesignAfter a layover in Rome's newly re-imagined Tiburtina--and what times these Romans have ahead of them! Finally, a station worthy of its approach!--my wife and I boarded the new train line, Italo Treno, for Naples. Since the service just launched this Summer, they're offering 20 euro fares to all the major cities they visit (adding Venice and Turin soon), and though my seat faced backwards, which meant I was curled up in the aisle facing front (motion sickness, see?), how nice it was to find oneself on a clean and modern train, to have waited for it in an air-conditioned lounge with free wi-fi before boarding, to have booked tieckets from a beautiful, simple website, and to have been aided by an army of young, smartly-dressed attendants.
If Dresden had an unreal quality to it, it wasn't because one felt like he was (the troll or the prince?) walking around in a fairy tale, though once it would have felt just that way, awash in Baroque exuberance. Rather, despite its small beauty and typically European good sense, its unreality, its sense of foreignness came from the open space and new construction that made the whole city into an open-air shopping mall. So many perfect surfaces disinvite the imperfect creature from resting, even visually, in the townscape, the way insects feel out-of-place in a clean room. Read More
After being squeezed from the great sausage-casing in the sky that is modern air transport, what one notices upon landing is the first thing one sees, that is, what he can't help but notice: the airport. Our wildest movies about future utopias don't equal the present good sense and design featured even in 2nd-rate cities like Stuttgart. Immediately, everything is calm and beautiful. The passport control officer is kind and gentle, without the trace of sarcasm and suspicion and boredom that mark his American counterpart. Read More