I spent a big chunk of the day on trains so this post won’t be a normal one about what I did that day. Instead, it will be an assortment of random thoughts.
One awesome thing did happen though. Thanks to the wonderful Italian train system what was supposed to be an almost 30 minute transfer turned out to be a 5 minute transfer through the busy Milan train station. I noticed that the man sitting next to me had to catch the same train so I decided I would follow him. The train stops and he jumps out and starts running. I follow, half paying attention to the people in front of me and half looking around for a train to Rome, or a monitor listing what track it is on.
The train station is packed. There are probably a thousand or so people spread across the station. I weave through them, occasionally having to slow down or stop because of a wall of Italians in front of me. I know I am down to 3 or so minutes. I’ve lost track of the other guy but I finally see where I need to go. Track 15. My train came in on track 3. Shit. I look around, trying to see signs showing me where to go. I see nothing. Logically though, I know it is probably at the other side of the station. I run. Once again darting around the locals. I start seeing track numbers whiz by. 6. 7. 8. I wasn’t sure I would make it. Finally I see track 15. The conductor leans out the door and waves up to the front of the train. I run, hop on the train and inside I see the man who was sitting next to me on my last train. We flash a smile in between pants. We made it.
Okay, on to random thoughts.
Switzerland is amazing. Sure, it is expensive but it’s stunningly beautiful. The people are amazing. Everyone was always nice. Most people speak multiple languages: German, French, and English. Although that does depend on the region. In Lauterbrunnen, I met a lot of great people. Which brings me to my next random though.
One of the hardest parts of travelling alone is the lack of people to talk to. Sure, there is lots of small-talk but it is not as fulfilling as a good conversation. Throughout my travels I have met a few people who were great to hang out with. But usually, this happens right before either I, or they are about to leave. For instance, last night in Lauterbrunnen I went out to the local pub with two Aussies, two Kiwis, and two Americans and had a great time. (I’ve realized as a Canadian I tend to be the translator. I switch metric to imperial for the Americans, and let the Aussies and Kiwis know that the traditional American biscuits and gravy is not cookies and gravy.) Like the cool people I have met in previous towns though, we end up on separate paths and have to meet new people. Not the end of the world, but it would be nice to have a slightly more constant presence at times.
While waiting for some people this morning, I overheard a conversation that somewhat reinforced my decision to travel alone. This group was trying to figure out what to do for the day. One of them seemed to really want to hike up a mountain, while another wanted to take the train, and some were indifferent. And for about 20 minutes they talked and talked with no one wanting to be the “bad” person and push what they want to do and no one willing to concede, so as a group they just couldn’t decide. I can just do what I want. Which is definitely nice. If I travel with other people in the future I definitely want it to be with someone who is willing to go off separate and do their own thing from time to time.
Apparently to enter parts of Vatican City my knees must be covered. Because knees are the work of the devil. It’s almost 40 celsius here some days, I don’t want to cover my knees!
I think that is all the random thoughts for now. I randomly think of lots of things I want to write about but I often forget by the time I start writing. I really should keep better track of these ideas.