I would love to tell you that I have a magic teleportation device or super power that allows me to hop country to country in no time at all, but if I told you that, the government might come after me. Therefore, I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before and I’m far too lazy to go back and look, but for my travels around and throughout Western Europe, I am making use of a Eurail pass. Basically, this pass allows me to travel between countries and cities by trains, either without paying or at an extremely discounted price. It has made travelling very cheap, but it also takes much longer than flying places. Thus, I have embraced overnight trains and high speed trains to get me places much faster.
I would say that my time spent in train stations is limited and that each new station I encounter is simple to figure out.
But, that is a lie, and obviously the motto at mazforthefanz: “lying is bad.”
So, train stations, yes. I’m learning a lot. For instance, I have learned to always go ask the ticket office if I need to pay a supplement or not, because if I get on a train and I was supposed to have paid, well, then I am so f*cked. The fine is a ridiculous amount that I could have avoided all together if I had just asked a simple question. (This is not to say that I have been fined, but I have seen it happen before.)
Also, in most train stations, you stand in a Q and wait your turn at the ticket office.
Well, not in Venice, Italy. You’re supposed to take a number, like a deli counter, and wait your turn that way. Well, I learned that the hard way, when I was gestured to by a ticket taker but then was immediately followed and told off in Italian by an irate woman with a stick up her ass. It was honestly a mistake and she was not having my apology at all. I obviously let her go in front of me, as it was her turn, but I genuinely had no idea about the deli counter situation. So, I left the front of the line and went all the way to the back to try again. Thankfully the ticket man was very kind and allowed me to jump back to the front of the line to purchase my ticket after the mean old crocodile was finished.
Other than that, most train stations have been relatively non-scarring. I haven’t had any truly awful experiences. Most of them, although it can get confusing since I don’t always speak the languages in which the announcements are made, have signs that have English on them or at the very least pictures.
I’m also always intrigued by the people in train stations; some have tons of luggage or speak foreign languages. Others roll in with nothing but a purse or small bag. I am always curious where these people are off to or where they’re coming from.
I just like to lurk around I think. Sometimes I’ll hang out at a café, sit down and write a little blog or something, like I’m currently doing. Or other times I’ll find a bench smack dab in the middle of the action and just people watch. I always have a good time while people watching. I create magnificent scenarios in my head all about the strangers rushing past me in the busy station. The likelihood of any of my scenarios being true? Slim to none. But, it’s still fun to pretend like I know what’s gong on.
Train stations are good for the imagination, terrible for sleeping and mediocre for the food selection, but I will say, it’s allowing me to see weird sh*t that I probably would never see in an airport.