Posts Tagged ‘Trains!




One year ago BerlinRomExpress was born, on a hot Roman evening. Time goes by, many events have unfold since then. The Crisis. The total disappearance of the Palast der Republik in Berlin and the appearance of a big green meadow. The Macro opening postponement in Rome. And so on.

We took this picture 2 years ago, during our holiday in Berlin in August 2007. Would it be crazy, we thought, to consider Berlin like our home away from home?

Continue reading ‘BlogPalast!’


Roma Termini-Moscow (via the rest of Europe)


An excel spreadsheet, A3 format, full of travel details, business meetings and appointments with friends after work.

It’s one of those trips…there are business meetings in a couple of european cities, and since a flight is a flight, some optimization of logistics and CO2 reduction call for saying hallo to friends in between two stops without coming back to Rome in between! And at the end, a weekend in Moscow with MeinMann!!

In 1998, right in the middle of the Ruble crisis, I crossed Russia on the  inspiring Krasnaya Strela. What a beautiful experience. The first page of Philip Roth’s “In Russia” – one long whistle blow gets lost in the night, the ship of the taiga leaves for and endless ocean of land.

No Red Arrow this time round. Just the crisp apron of the skies, Lufthansa . Still, I’m leaving with a red train tomorrow, the Frecciarossa. And about the Ruble…we will see!


Marchionne’s auto-critique


Busy week in Rome this week. Many celebrities in town. All the bosses from the big corporates were in town for the industrialists’ meeting, and for the seismic waves emanated from it, conferences and the like.

So today at 5pm Mr Marchionne appeared magically (from Detroit? from Berlin? from some Ministero?) in steamy hot hot-house Rome, wearing his Linus-style blue jumper in an appropriately sub-zero air conditioned conference room. He sipped an espresso in religious silence at the speakers’ table in front of a couple of hundreds of eyes. I thought the moment was very Louis XIV.

Bits and pieces. He explained platforms and said that an Opel today has a 80% Fiat Punto skeleton. So the operation should make a lot of sense to the German government, if you know that I mean. (But we’ll see how that turns up over the weekend).

He also said that in the car industry top management either comes from the back  – the kitchen, ie the factory –  of from the glitzy front, the Geneva Car Show. But the car industry cannot look pretty and sassy in the front if it does not clean up its ugly kitchen. (For sure there were some greasy c(r)ooks at the helm, in those kitchens…)

He said that the car industry has been destroying value for too many decades. (That  makes a lot of sense. If the car industry were the IT one, we would still be running Lotus 123 and playing Pac Man, with advertising on TV boasting “green figures on a black background: cool!”).

He explained the negative Net Working Capital mechanism. You get paid for the sale of the car before you pay the metal that goes in it. Sort of magic. That magic stops  when you stop producing.

He said that the car industry did all sorts of monkey corporate behavior. Buy financial services. Sell them. Buy components manufacturers. Sell them. They tried all the tricks. Now it’s over. (Good auto-critique…or car-critique). Continue reading ‘Marchionne’s auto-critique’



The BerlinRomExpress is for the moment only a blog and not a reality. Yet now there is an Autozug linking Triest to Berlin! From the beach of Triest to the beach of Berlin…Wannsee!

Am Autozug-Bahnhof in Berlin-Wannsee werden die Kunden mit Prosecco, Orangensaft und Salzgebäck begrüßt. Während die Gäste die Getränke und die Sonnenstrahlen genießen, werden Motorräder und Pkw auf den Zug verladen. Am nächsten Morgen – nach einer 17-stündigen, sanft ratternden Fahrt auf Schienen – werden sie am Bahnhof in Triest von einer kleinen Musik-Kapelle empfangen, die italienische Schlager schmettert. Dazu gibt es den weit über die Landesgrenzen hinaus berühmten San-Daniele-Schinken sowie Weißwein aus der an Slowenien und Österreich grenzenden italienischen Region Friaul-Julisch Venetien.

E’ arrivato oggi alla stazione di Trieste il primo treno con il servizio Autozug auto-passeggeri di Deutsche Bahn, che colleghera’ fino a ottobre il capoluogo giuliano a Berlino, Amburgo, Dusseldorf e Francoforte. Ad accogliere i primi turisti sono stati i rappresentanti di Deutsche Bahn, Trenitalia, Regione Friuli Venezia Giulia, Comune di Trieste e Agenzia Turismo Fvg, oltre a una banda musicale. I treni (tre o quattro alla settimana) sono composti da quattro carri (per un totale di 48 auto) e da 4-5 carrozze con cuccette, un vagone ristorante e alcuni vagoni letto. Il costo per persona del viaggio notturno parte da circa 60 euro, mentre il trasporto di una macchina costa 149 euro. Il servizio e’ gia’ attivo ad Alessandria, Bolzano e Verona.


TTT, or the tokyo temptation

I saw yesterday that Rome-Tokyo return is about Eur 387. I am indeed tempted to fly across Siberia, see the dawn on Khabarovsk and land a bit stoned but happy at Narita airport. And if it is as rainy as Rome, walk around Ebisu with one of those Courreges-like plastic umbrellas, then slide my Pasmo underground smartcard and cruise by metro across the bay…


No, I’m not going off-topic, Let me show ya…. all the roads lead to Berlin! Continue reading ‘TTT, or the tokyo temptation’


italian surrealpolitik


A few posts ago I referred to the clash between Italy and Slovenia on the never ending story of “war reparations”. The Adriatic is definitely a solid frontier.

On Deutsche Welle I was impressed by the reportage on the – not so easy – delivery of the new high speed trains to Russia by Siemens…across the Baltic.

My bewilderment did not came by the fact per se, but by the contrast between the Balticpolitik and the absence of whatsoever Adriaticpolitik. The petty controversy stirred with Slovenia once again by the italian foreign minister. I thought that after all the terrible events between Russia and Germany between the two armies during WWII but more importantly, all the respective massacres suffered by both civilian populations, both government and countries were indeed able to turn a very dramatic page and work constructively. That should not be a surprise, after decades of Ostpolitik and 1989, but Italy is still unable to recognize its wrongdoings and continues with its stubborn victimism and arrogance.

Now, Italy can only lose from this attitude, and the same applies to Slovenia and Croatia. But that’s exactly the difference between constructive pragmatism and arrogant navel-gazing. Decades of Ostpolitik do matter. Frattini is too busy issuing press releases about his flirts, his role model isn’t obviously Willy Brandt…


A bit less than a year ago published an article by the italian and triestine journalist Paolo Rumiz. A year later, it is even more relevant, in the current political climate.

Rumiz demonstrates how Italy was not able to link up with the Balcans and not even join corridor five to Kiev and how this comes from the fact that nazism had Nurenberg, whereas fascism is a karst river, running under cover but bubbling vigorously.

Continue reading ‘italian surrealpolitik’


all roads lead to Rome…er…one at a time please

1232038548351_00e1da25Photo: Di Tomaso /Franceschi published on Repubblica

It’s not that I’ve been lazy.

The kick-off with bad macroeconomic news was a bit of a hard start of the year, after the savvy but calm no-man’s-land of the Zwangurlaub, home-sweet-home holidays.

Then it’s been raining almost all week (again!). Manic depression etc.

And on wednesday evening I was almost run over by a motorino, while crossing a street on the stripes. I jumped back – like a wild StripedCat – with a “OooH??” while the girl on the motorino screamed in panic behind her rainy visor “Non t’ho vistooo!!” (I didn’t see you). It’s good to have a feline nickname.

And then some ‘internal consumption” political news on which I will write later on.

Too many emotions this week. Not far from home, this tram/train crash, quite a bit of damage, many wounded, just in front of Porta Maggiore, on roman roads.

One at a time. Please. Too much free riding in Italy…

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