Saturday, 14 January 2017

Why do we travel by train?

Munich, 25.12.16

Ok, I couldn't reach the station 45m before my train (as previously planned). I am here 30m before. I have to buy food for the 6.5hr journey. I check the arrival/departure board. No train to Ljubljana or Zagreb (the final destination in Croatia). There is some other train for 12.17pm. It will probably come up in a moment. Meanwhile I'll just go buy some food. 

Munich train station
After a trip to various shops around the station I have chips, cookies, bananas, sandwich, pretzel. Its a long journey. I look at the board. My train is not there. I visit the enquiry counter. She says its platform 30. Or is it 13?! I go to 13. My train is not there. 30 is far away. I walk fast. 30. No train. What do I do? A ticket counter! I ask again. She says 14. Oh shit! Its 12.05pm already. I walk faster. 

Here I am, at 14. My train is not here. There is a train. I see a ticket checker. I ask him. This is the train. I am standing in front of my coach. I get in. Its very different from my earlier train. This one is full of people. Putting things on overhead racks. Finding seats. Settling down. The little chaos of the coach that reminds me of an Indian train. Now this is the real deal. 

I find my seat. There is an old woman on it. Here even older mother sits in front of her. I sit next to them. They don't speak much English. 1 or 2 words. They ask where my seat was. I say they are sitting on it. They ask where I was going. I say Ljubljana. 

"Former Yugoslav"! 
"We former Yugoslav"! 

I nod and smile. Reminds me of Madagascar. "Just smile and wave boys, smile and wave."

They are traveling to the next station. I tell them I was also going to Budapest, Bratislava and Prague. They are slightly impressed. That was my intention. More questions come my way.
"Are you coming from England?"
No, Holland
"Study?"
No travel
"Tourist?"
Yes

Next 10 min are quite. For us, not for the coach. There is a lot of chit chat, laughing. 

Their station is here. They ask for help with their bags. i help. They are very short. I wonder how they got their bags up there in the first place. They thank me. The old lady says bye. I say bye. The older lady says something in Slovak (?). I smile and say bye (like the Penguins). 

This is what train journeys are about. Random encounters!

Now I have my window seat. The whole space is free. I have my book, food and water on the table. I sit comfy. I can read, write. Look at the landscape, the green landscape in the shade of winter grey. 

A train full of people and luggage. Cloths hanging around. 

A 6 hour journey. No internet on the train. Plenty of time to relax, read, write, listen to music, contemplate. 




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