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The Flying Dutchman

An Epic Train Adventure

SPAIN | Tuesday, 9 February 2010 | Views [883] | Comments [2]

No pants were stolen in the making of this blog.


So we saw Charlene, Alex, and Isaac off at 6am, immediately fell back asleep, and then got up and checked out ourselves for 10am.  We had two hours until our train would arrive, and there isn’t really much to do in the Cinque Terre in winter if you aren’t hiking, so we sat in a little café and bought just enough coffees and croissants (one by one every 15 minutes or so) to take up about an hour and a half.  We then went down to the station and it was there that we realized that our tickets said first class on them, even though we were only allowed in second class because of our rail passes.  Worried that we wouldn’t be allowed on our night train to Barcelona that night (which only comes every three days) Alice got on the computer to formulate a Plan B.  The train would be full, so we couldn’t buy second class tickets if we had to, so we would be forced to take a plane from Turin to Barcelona, but Alice didn’t have any money in her first bank account so she needed her parents to transfer funds so she emailed them and texted so that they would be awoken because it is night time there and we couldn’t call so she skyped her mom to sort things out and all this was happening as she was sitting on the ground at a platform of a train station on the Mediterranean.  Plan B was fully set into place in less than half an hours time, and I realized right there just how amazing the internet is (or Alice. Either way. (by Alice)). 


We hopped on our train to Turin, where we would have a layover for 5 hours before taking the train to Barcelona (hopefully).  My shoes were still soaked from the beach fiasco the night before, so I was sporting some sandals.  I was also aware that I was gonna be on trains all day, so I didn’t have to dress classy, and that my tootsies might get cold if it was snowy in Turin, so these sandals were accompanied by some nice white socks.  We made it to Turin and it was like I was the first human being everyone in Turin had ever seen.  Turin is a super high fashion place, so I guess socks n’ sandals, and a backpack on the back and front (with soggy shoes dangling off the front) is kinda looked down upon.  People would look down at my feet, look up at me, and then smirk (or scowl) and talk to each other about it.  Some looked confused, others worried, but none of them cared that they were being really obvious about it. 


We stood in the ticket line, looking to find out if we would be allowed on the train, or if we would be forced to use Plan B, and endured much awkward staring.  We made it the front and the guy working didn’t speak English.  This was not ideal.  With much sign language and a few common words between Italian and English, he informed us that all the seats were first class, and we would be OK!  We breathed a huge sigh of relief, and took the metro to our next train station. 


This train station was not as nice as some of the others we have stayed in.  It was really small, didn’t have working bathrooms for girls, and the only place we could sit was in a waiting room.  The waiting room itself wasn’t so bad, but after  finding spots in the very middle of the room, we took a little look around the room, and realized that we were the only people in the room who were actually waiting for a train.  We were surrounded by homeless people.  There was no question about it either, they were very homeless (Italian bums look much the same as Canadian bums).  Many were sleeping (snoring), they all seemed to know each other (I guess this was the daily hangout), and they all stared.  They must have been extremely bored, because the ones in our view stared right at us for literally an hour.  This was also a little awkward.  We were sitting in the middle of a room, surrounded by 15 sets of homeless eyes directed straight at us.  There was nowhere else to go though so we just pretended that they were other travellers, who never got up to get on their train.  We sat in the room for a couple hours, and at one point of them came up asking for change, but the language barrier came in handy and he left empty-handed.


We all got kicked out as they closed the room at 8pm so we (luckily no bums) sat outside the room on the floor.  I amused myself by putting a few euro cents in and using the scale, which is different from most scales we have in Canada, because instead of measuring my weight, it told me I am “strong”.  Is that just a nice way of saying fat?  At least it didn’t tell me I’m “big-boned”.


After we got bored of sitting in the dark, dirty terminal, we thought we would go down and wait by our platform.  I guess the platforms down below the station had been redone, or were newly built, because they were luxurious compared to the rest of the place.  Clean, new, working washrooms, and (best of all) no bums!  It unfortunately was the same temperature as outside, so my toes froze a little bit (before getting into the waiting room upstairs I had cracked and taken off my socks, little did I know I would be dressing to impress some homeless folk).  We had a little bit of déjà vu from Paris here, as our train was delayed at first 15 minutes, then half an hour, and longer and longer, but it finally did arrive and we boarded and went right to sleep on the reclining chairs. 

Tags: alice berents, barcelona, cinque terre, neil loewen, trains, turin



Great posts once again, still can't believe how much of Europe you guys are seeing! So awesome! :) Love love love the full paragraph about your sandals&socks haha

  Sacha Feb 10, 2010 5:39 PM


Just one FIASCO after another!

  Alexa Feb 11, 2010 5:26 AM

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