Why trains suck, and how I managed to make it to Italy.

I caught the train from Prague at 5:15pm, headed for Munich. It’s called “Munchen” in German. When you say you want to go to Munich people look at you like you’re stupid; when you say Munchen, they suddenly go ahh, yes. Munchen. Needless to say, just buying the ticket was a pain in the butt. Saying goodbye to my new friends at the train station didn’t help either. (I miss you Veronica! I miss you all!)

Then I got on the train and as it got further and further away from Prague (or Praha, Prag, or Praga…it goes by all three depending on which language you speak…apparently I speak the wrong one…) more people were getting off the train, until it was just me and about 6 other people. Of course it was dark by then so I was starting to feel a bit like “ew” and creepy. But we made it across the border into German and the German “polizei” boarded the train and asked me for my passport. They stamped it and the train continued, but not on time. Oh no, my train was taking its sweet time to Munchen.

“Zees train ees not timed!” was the only reply I received from the conductor when asking “do you think we’ll get there on time?” I knew I only had 14 measly minutes to switch trains in Munich to make the 2nd leg to Italy. So I was well into freak-out mode by this point. I called Maurice to ask for help on what to say to let the conductor know that because we were late I may not make my connection, and was there anything he could do. Of course my phone died in the middle of the conversation so I started crying like a little baby and cursing the German language, the European train system, and cell phones. I think the woman polizei took pity on me because she goes “ok ok I call zee train” and that she did.

So my train ride continued to Munchen, arriving 15 minutes late. When the train stopped, I threw my luggage off (there was no time for delicate handling) and ran as fast as I could, pulling one suitcase behind me, with my backpack bouncing up and down on my back. Lo and behold, what do I hear?


Alas, there was an escort there on a golf cart who swooped me up, put my luggage on the cart, and drove me to my awaiting Italian train! Everyone in the train station was staring at us as we drove madly through the station, with my train-escort-person shouting stern things in German to get them to move. I made it onto the train and two manly-men hoisted my luggage onto the train. I stumbled into the correct railcar which was important because in Austria, the train was to split in two…had I not made it onto the proper railcar I would have ended up in Bratislava, or somewhere equally non-Italy, no doubt.

I found my seat (#55, car 288) and plopped down with a huge sigh of relief, all sweaty and stinky. But alas, I was aboard the Italian-bound train, safe in my little seat, with my passport in hand and no dignity left. The gentleman sitting across from me was to be the only gentleman I encountered on my journey. He was a fellow of about 60 years of age who was quiet and spoke no English, which was just fine by me. At least I knew he’d be quiet and let me wallow in my English-speaking sorrow for the next 7 hours.

My journey continued rather uneventfully for the next 3 hours until we reached “Brennero” in Austria, which is in the Alps. It got really freaking cold. Like, boogers are frozen to the inside of your nose cold. I was inside the train trying to keep warm, curled up on one seat like a pathetic hobo on the street corner. The Italian man laughed and said “Brennero” and just shook his head. As the train descended into a more hospitable elevation I warmed up again, which meant that the stink I had been wafting about earlier came back to fill the cabin with that oh-so-familiar-and-unpleasant “I smell like a Czech person” aroma. Mr. Gentleman got off the train in Verona and told me it was only “due proxima a Vicenza” which I actually understood! Two more stops to Vicenza. The (hopeful) end of my voyage was near.

After Mr. Gentleman got off, two more creepy guys got on the train and sat in my cabin, and laughed and stared at me for the remainder of the trip. I made a point to run over one of the fellas’ feet with my suitcase as I yanked it out of the cabin and jumped off the train. When I got off, Angelique was waiting for me! Hallelujah! I put my luggage in the back of the car and we drove away just as the sun was coming up. We went out for cappuccinos and a croissant, and then I collapsed when we got home for a few hours. I napped like nobody’s business, and when I woke up we went for a walk through town and got some gelato.

Things Nikki is thankful for:

getting on the right train
not murdering anyone on the train
managing to pee INTO the toilet on the train (and therefore avoiding peeing on my pants, shoes, etc.)
Angelique & my new family
laundry detergent
and soap (to wash the stink away)
and my Maurice 🙂

It turns out when my phone cut out during the “I’m on a German train bound for who knows where and nobody will help me” phone call to my sweetpea, he called the Munich train station and arranged for the golf-cart-escort-man to pick me up and take me to my train! Maurice is my hero, my German-speaking knight in shining armor. I love you! I love you! 🙂
…and they lived happily ever after.



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