BootsnAll Travel Network

A Journey with no Steve Perry

Saturday we packed up early and headed for the train station to catch a train from Athens to the western coast of Greece. From there we were to board an overnight ferry to Italy. The day started with bad karma as I forgot my passport at the hostel and had to run back and get it in eight minutes or we would miss the train. I’m just glad I was in shape from frisbee and was able to do so with time to spare. I just wish I knew a way to make me less stupid so I wouldn’t do this sort of thing in the first place.

We boarded the train and settled in for the long ride across the country. Greece looks a lot like the rest of the planet. We slept or read for most of the trip. We had to switch trains once, which I hate and refuse to do from here on out. The European rail system will have to bend to my will. I’m sick of conformity.

We got on the ferry and were ready for a nightime voyage across the sea. We met a guy from Iowa named Beau who was on his way to Rome. He was cool and agreed that drinking at night would make the trip more bearable. Ferry rides are dull in general and this one was especially cold so little to no time would be spent above deck.

The ferry was airplane style seating. We took up the back row to the right and the rest of the front rows were taken up by a large group of Italian high school girls. The Italians are attractive people, but I would like to add for the record that the legal age of consent in the country you are currently in does not make it right. (Luckily we were in international waters)

We slept through most of the afternoon and when we woke up we were ready to start drinking. Jay was slow and sluggish so we left him to get started and figured he would catch up eventually. While he was alone and still half asleep, one Italian girl came over to him and woke him by talking to him in a language he did not understand, most likely Italian. Jay responded by staring at her while her friends laughed. Jay is convinced she was hitting on him. I am convinced she was complaining about the smell.

We finished a bottle of rum and then some between the three of us while playing cards. We then made the easy transition to sleeping until we got to Bari, a port city in Southern Italy. Unfortunately, we arrived without pirates boarding our ship. If this had happened, I would have signed up and lived out the rest of my days raiding merchant vessels and drinking rum on the high seas. The best laid plans of mice and men…

We boarded a train bound for Milan and settled in for the long trip up the Italian coast.  This train was ridiculously crowded and generally uncomfortable.  We hoped to stop at some point and get a nice dinner but timing would be important to catch the night train to Basel.  We got off the train in Bologna and hoped to head to Florence, then get on said night train (not the wine) and make it Germany early the next day.  Unfortunately, no one in the Bologna train station spoke English (with the exception of two Dutch Marissa Coopers who were as frustrated as we were) and near as we can figure it, the attendant told us we could not get on the night train.  We decided to try to get a hotel room and get some food.  After an hour of walking around Bologna and trying to find a open hotel room we called it quits and decided to get as far North as possible.  It was very hot in Bologna and we had our packs while doing this so it should be understood that we were both tired and weighed less when we got on a train bound for Milan. 

Before I forget, Bologna is sketchy.

We got to Milan after all the trains were done running.  We had resigned ourselves to sleeping in the train station.  We saw a group of girls with packs in a similar situation as we were so we introduced ourselves.  They turned out to be Spanish but they spoke good English and were very cordial.  We all got as comfortable as possible in the train staiton wating room on the wooden benches with dividers spaced about every five feet.  Everyone got some sleep with the exception of yours truly who stayed awake to keep guard.  I was tired but had enough energy to fight off the vampire who tried to get one of the Spanish girls.  Then I was named Earl of Tuscany.  I may have been hallucinating at some point.

We got on a train to Basel (Switzerland) in the morning.  A merciful God allowed this train to be not crowded and comfortable so I could catch some much needed rest.  I awoke in the snowy Swiss countryside, which is as gorgeous as any movie you have ever seen makes it seem.  I didn’t meet enough Swiss people to make an unfair generalization about their appearance, so I am going to start a new rumor for fun.  One out of every nine Swiss people has lupus.

A small bit of jogging around with trains and we were finally in Germany and shortly in Vaihingen at Sabine’s parents.  Our exploits in the land of chocolate will be detailed next.


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