I’ve covered planes and automobiles. Guess that means it’s time to talk trains. This was our first try at the trains and I have to say, I think it went without a hitch. That’s not to say, however, that it went without some happenings. Right after arriving in Amsterdam, Aubrey helped us book our first train tickets. Then right before departing from Amsterdam, Brad helped us look up the train times and connection we needed to make. In hindsight, I think this is why we did so well, we started off with help!
Having stayed up entirely too late the night before, we were both exhausted when we sat down on our first train to Bruges. We dozed on and off quite easily this first trip. As per our usual snoozing position, I had my head resting on Shawn’s shoulder. All of a sudden he jerked, we both woke up, we looked around, then we heard a smack and the person behind Shawn say, “ouch.” We turned around and this same person was returning Shawn’s water bottle. Apparently he was dreaming and trying to fend off something by throwing whatever was in his hands at it. He threw the bottle so high we had time to wake up and hear it hit the person behind us. It was so funny and we were so tired; it made me laugh the rest of our vacation and still gets a giggle out of me now. A had-to-be-there-moment I’m sure.
Our train ride to Cologne must have been down-right boring because I don’t remember a lick of it. It must be filed in my memory somewhere behind the Fiat. I did, however, jot down a few notes while on the train to Paris. This was actually the only non-connecting train we took and also the first train we didn’t have seats right next to each other. Instead, we sat across from each other. I had four blissful hours of listening to Shawn’s neighbor talk to himself (we never did figure out in what language), my neighbor yell into his cell phone while drinking a Coke Light, our neighbors across the aisle chat in French while drinking beer with the largest head I’ve ever seen and my iPod blared such tunes as System of the Down’s, Chop Suey while I sobbed over the last few pages of Marley and Me. It was a kaleidoscope of noises that didn’t seem to stress us – probably because we were on our way to Paris.
Each time we boarded the train and saw the employees in their getups, it felt like we were going back in time. That is, until we looked out the train windows and saw all the graffiti. It was everywhere, on every wall and surface that could be reached with spray paint. Even in Paris when we used their Metro, the walls were covered in graffiti. It was a little sad but not unexpected. Paris’ Metro (city subway), by the way, was even easier yet. It was simple, quick and inexpensive. We never did find those light-up maps Rick Steves is always talking about, but the paper copy we kept folded in our pocket did just fine.
I’ll spare you a separate post on the final mode of transportation we used and will just say, Europeans are a very fit population because, they, walk! They walk everywhere! Included in these walks are stairs! Stairs are also everywhere! I cursed the day I wore flip-flops and cared enough the next day to wear my Pumas. The muscles in my legs I had revived were SO sore. Good news, I lost a few pounds from all that walking. Bad news, it won’t stay off long so we better go on another vacation.