In the summer of 2006, I worked in Munich and hungered to see the world. I was able to get 8 days off my summer internship and decided to go to Austria (Vienna) and Italy (Rome, Pisa and Sicily). After that chaotic trip, I wrote an email to my family and friends chronicling my adventures and these are the tales I will share with you for the next few weeks.
My trip cannot be described in one word so here goes a sampling of words I would use to explain it……fantastic, fabulous, amazing, out of this world, spell binding, deeply fulfilling, intense, suspense filled.
So I woke up really early on Saturday morning to catch the train to Vienna with my friend Adele. I was doing great on time. Adele and I were to meet at 9am at HauptBahnhof where we would catch our 9:28am train to Vienna . I left my house at 0810 to catch my subway that left my station (Neubiberg) at 0831 and get me to Hauptbahnhof at 0851. My train station is 15 minutes walk from my home. Yeah so great. I was doing really perfect on time. What I didn’t bank on is how difficult it is to pull a suitcase through the tiny stones that are on the forest path I have to use to get to the train station. At some point it dawned on me “oh crap, I am running out of time.” I started to run carrying my suitcase (which trust you me is not an easy task when you have packed all of your life’s belongings in the suitcase.) There I was sweating like crazy and half dragging my suitcase on cobblestones/ half carrying the bloody thing and thinking to myself “I can’t afford to miss this train because the next one leaves at 0851 and gets to Hauptbahnhof at 0921 (if it is punctual) and I would surely miss my train to Vienna. Finally I arrive at Neubiberg train station looking haggard and all. I see that my train isn’t yet there and breathe a sigh of relief. Since my luggage is heavy I take the elevator to the platform. I hop on the first elevator, and my train is still not there. Then I hop into the second and final elevator and just as the glass doors close I see my train pulling in to the station. This stupid elevator must have been the devil’s advocate for it took it’s sweet time to get me up to the platform. I finally get to the platform, run to the train and try to open the door but it is too late. It starts to leave and I watch my only chance of catching my train to Vienna slowly departing. I was so mad that I ran after it luggage and all and gave it a nice kick!!!!!Ehhh yeah I think people on the platform thought I was mad. Hmmm so now I sit on the platform feeling utterly upset, exhausted and sweaty. I text Adele and she suggests that if I don’t make it in time we should meet in Vienna . The next train to Vienna gets there at 1500 which will really suck for me since my Vienna-Venice train leaves Vienna at 2030 meaning I will have very little time in Vienna . She gives me the gate number our Vienna train is departing from. By some miracle my next train to Hauptbahnhof gets there two minutes early and I run to the gate Adele told me. I hop on the train, and it starts to leave. I notice it is written “destination Budapest , Hungary ” and I franctically try calling Adele but my lovely cell phone is pretending not to have any reception. Finally after many attempts I get her and realize I am on the right train. Phew!!!!! My day is finally beginning to work out!!! I find Adele and we sit with some nice guys. One was Ukranian and the other Canadian. It was a nice trip and we chatted all the way. Ukranian dude telling us about growing up in Ukraine during communist times, me telling them about life in Kenya , Adele telling us about growing up in the South ( Chapel Hill , North Carolina ) and Canadian dude telling us about Canada . Pretty interesting. I think someone could get an education by just being on the train!