Monday, June 11, 2012

Euro Trip - Day 4.5 (Riding in trains with creepers)

I am going to dedicate this entire post to our train ride to Paris from Milan, because it was quite the experience.

The ride to Milan was pretty uneventful, it took about 5 hours, which was a little tortuous since a loud voice came over the speaker on the bus and yelled that we couldn’t eat on it…

It was weird to see the fashion capital of the world, but not be able to actually SEE it since it was 11pm, we were stuck on a bus and immediately went to the train station upon exiting the bus.

The train station was very nice, however we had to pay 2 euros to use the bathroom, which was interesting to say the least.

Milano Centrale
via
The students entertained themselves in hilarious ways though. Mainly using the moving sidewalks.

the "Titanic" on the moving sidewalk
the "Pensive" pose
the Milan station

Our train left the station at midnight and we boarded our train in the dark. There were six of us per couchette, and that was about 4 more than the couchette should really be made to hold. I couldn’t even get enough space between the entrance to the couchette to the wall of the hallway to take a picture (the hallways were just wide enough for one person to get through) so I grabbed this pic off the web. Crazy, huh?

via
There are a row of seats on each wall that seat three per row. Then beds fold down from the walls allowing for a VERY narrow “aisle” between the beds. Our luggage had to be stored under the bottom bunk or in the stowaway area over the doorway and windows.

The bad part of this was if we wanted something from our suitcases we all had to get in our bunks except the person who wanted their stuff so that there was actual room to get a suitcase down and access your necessities. Not to mention you couldn’t even sit up in your bunk since it was so close to the next bunk.

After we got all our stuff inside the room (which was a task in itself) I went with Mrs. Vivian to the restaurant car, which was about 3 cars over from ours.

This is where it got interesting.

Apparently a few people boarded the train with a train ticket but did not have their passports. So, they were told they could ride in the restaurant car all night so that the Swiss patrol could look at their tickets when we crossed the border. Apparently this meant to them “please drink all the alcohol available for purchase since you will have to sit here just about all night.” Well, one of the super sketchy non-passport-holders kept staring me down. By this point I was enjoying a beverage and just hanging out with Mrs. Vivian, two students (Morgan & Dustin) and Morgan’s dad, Michael. Well, the power went out (as it sometimes does in trains apparently) JUST AS THE CREEPY DUDE THAT KEPT STARING AT ME WAS WALKING BY MY BOOTH. My first reaction was to put my hand over my wallet to avoid it being snatched and my second was to prepare myself to kick, bite or punch my way out of a sneak attach. Luckily, the power came right back on and homie kept-a-moving.

I returned back to my car and the other five girls and I surprisingly went right to sleep, all the walking was actually good for something I guess. However, it was pretty hot in our room so we decided to open our window.

Well, when we hit the border in Switzerland apparently the weirdo non-passport-holders were asked to exit the train and they were NOT happy. Through our open window we could hear yelling and all sorts of sounds that made us shut our window very quickly. Sadly, we did not have curtains on our windows and the bright lights of the Swiss station woke us all up as we sat there for over an hour before setting back off to Paris.

When we woke up the next morning, we were in Paris! It was pretty crazy to think about considering we had started the previous evening in Italy. We quickly attempted to freshen up since we had slept in the clothes we had worn all day yesterday (no room to change and the bathrooms were more than gross the previous night). Poor Ashton had to say goodbye to her flat iron which was fried by the outlet in our couchette.

Once we walked into the Paris station we had a few minutes to grab a bite to eat and collect ourselves before taking another brisk walk to our bus. I grabbed a delicious hazelnut muffin from a place called Millie’s, which was funny considering there is a delicious home-run grill called Millie’s in my hometown as well – only their menu consists of things like cheese biscuits, bacon and egg sandwiches and pancakes for breakfast. I also enjoyed two Red Bulls from the vending machine.

the Parisian "Millie's"
delicious hazelnut muffin
isn't the Paris train station pretty?
busy little station


I did learn a few things about traveling on trains though:

  1. Be aware of your surroundings, there are a TON of people on that train and some of them may not be nice.
  2. Lock your doors, because those not nice people may want to pay you a late night visit, or steal your things.
  3. Close your shades, that way people can’t peek in on you, and won’t know that there are 5 young girls and one chaperone in her mid-20s in one car with no strong men to protect them.
  4. Get all your necessities out of your bag before you stow them because getting them back down is very difficult.
  5. Take earplugs, the walls are thin.
  6. Dress comfortably the day before, or go ahead and change clothes in the train station, bathrooms aren’t always clean on trains and you definitely won't have room to change in your couchette. 

2 comments:

  1. That is so crazy. And year I thought I want to take an overnight train ride.

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  2. Your post (especially the title) totally reminded me of that scene in EuroTrip where they're in their train car and some random creepy French guy comes in and sits with them!

    Here's the clip from the movie:
    http://youtu.be/ivSMNbaXRSE

    ReplyDelete