Monday, June 13, 2011

A Nap On The Train

Soooo about that nap on the train to Prague from Munich…For the first time since arriving in Barcelona this was to be a reasonable inter-city ride of just 6 hours without having to make a SINGLE connection. On paper it was a no-brainer and a perfect time for at least - AT LEAST - a solid 4 hour nap…and as a result of such perfect “planning“, though departing on the morning’s first train the next day, no need for the anticipation of a strenuous travel day to dampen the spirits of a last night in a great city…Munich and it’s wide assortment of the world’s best hops could (and eventually would) keep us engaged until closing time. That was, of course, how it appeared on paper...

In practice…well…that would be a different story. The alarm went off when it should have. We (Chase, Jay and Matt) were a little slow moving but out the door and to the train station (breakfast and all) with 5 minutes to spare (about 4 more than we had on our train to Munich). We thought we were fine...we THOUGHT we were early. As we boarded, we noticed right away a different alignment to this train. It was the first regional train (of about 15) that I’ve boarded not have any open air seating. Every seat in every car was in a private room with each sitting 5 or 6 seats. At first, it seemed a much preferred way to travel. Though jam packed, the four of us and our bulky luggage eventually found a car at the end with an empty room all to our selves. 6 seats - 3 and 3 - facing each other. We settled in quickly. Feet up. Seats reclined. The best stories from the night before (Did Opes accidentally drop or intentionally spike that pint glass at the end of the night??? We‘ll never know) Ear phones in. Book in hand. We were each asleep by the second stop. Best laid plans…

It took us all a second to register the message. The door to that plush, private, quiet train car of ours swung open at the third stop from Munich as a little blond German dude in a conductor’s outfit rose his voice to repeat his instructions for a second time. “Going to Prague? Must change car. Need to move.” Huh? We need to move? I thought there were no connections before Munich? “There aren‘t. But the last two cars are not continuing from here. You need to move. Now.” With sleep rubbed out of the eyes and backpacks back on, the 4 man caravan of dehydrated Americans set off to confirm what we already knew to be true…the plan is totally f’ed. Room to room. Car to Car. All the way to the end. Occasionally an empty seat supporting overflow of luggage but hardly that empty, private, quiet room that we now longed for…After the futile search for privacy, we were back on the platform eye-to-sleepy eye with our little blond friend. “There are no seats left. Where do we sit?” He looked back, shrugged his shoulders, and smirked before letting out a most insincere apology …Okaaaaaay…No time for the name calling and threats that we each had ready to jump from our tongues. Whistles were signaling departure. We get back on the illogically shortened train. The overflow crowds now lining each aisle without room to spare. We’re caught between a rock and a… correction - we’re caught between the stored road bikes and the water closet sitting on a very…hard place. We lower to the floor and reality begins to set in - 5 more hours of feeling every bump on this dirty, cold, metal floor . 5 more hours of a lingering odor permeating from the WC. 5 more hours of a verrrrry lonnnnng train ride. There’s just no way. I don’t know about you guys, but I can’t do this. I’m back strolling the aisles. This time looking for any empty seat. Nothing in the first car. Nothing in the second. Finally!!! In a first class car, an empty seat in a 5 seater. Anyone sitting here? Nope? Great, thanks very much. It was an oasis of soft, wide, reclining seats and I was immediately welcomed into the car by a family of 4. A warm and hospitable family from India vacationing throughout Europe. We talked of the different cities, cultures and experiences enjoyed throughout our various and different travels. I answered questions about the States. They about India. An extra sandwich was generously prepared with the ingredients they packed for lunch. The white chocolate candies - delicious. The juice - thirst quenching. The plan - back on track.

With a full stomach and perfect quiet, I slept for some time soon after lunch. When I awoke a couple of hours later, I figured I’d better check on my boys. Still in the same spot. Jay looked ready to kill me…or himself. Wasn’t sure. They told me how they had come to look for me and found me comfortably asleep with crumbs on my chest. How they had tried to sleep themselves only to be rudely interrupted with other passengers stepping on them or young kids screaming in their ear. They were tired, dirty and hungry…and laughed pretty freaking hard when I confessed to the good life in first class. A scene from Seinfeld.

We survived - Ok, they survived - the trip and we pulled into to Prague 6 hours from Munich at around 3pm…just like it looked on paper.

1 comment:

  1. Just two questions after reading your latest entry -- Is MattyBoy still talking to you and are you now sleeping with one eye open to ward off any fits of jealousy??????