Day 10: Train travel

I don't have any digital photos to share from my experiences with train travel, so the above, which was taken from Interstate 10, will have to suffice. 

When I went to live in Spain for a semester during my junior year of college, I had the opportunity to travel by train quite a bit. In fact, learning that I could navigate myself all around Europe - ALL BY MYSELF - was quite an amazing discovery. And this was before the internet! So I was using, you know, PAPER SCHEDULES that I picked up at the train station. And then I would have to make PHONE CALLS from pay phones to arrange things at my destination. 

In particular I remember traveling by myself from Madrid, at the end of my study semester, up to Sweden to meet up with an Up With People cast with whom I traveled to Russia. 

First I traveled by train to Milan, where I met up with some old family friends. I then spent a few days in Switzerland with other friends. Then I was to make my way to Scandinavia. 

I remember an overnight train ride during which we stopped in Hamburg in the middle of the night. I had a compartment to myself, but was wary of thieves. So I slept with my pack as my pillow and also with it lashed to my ankle so that it would be harder to rob me.

In Hamburg, I got off the train to use the station restroom. It was in the wee hours of the morning, and someone was shooting up in the restroom. That was scary and surreal. 

By morning I had made it to my destination and met up with the Up With People cast at a hotel in some town. How in the world did we make all these arrangements without the internet? "Go into the hotel lobby and tell the concierge that Ralph Colwell sent you." 
What a lot of trust my parents had to send me on such an adventure. So much danger lurking, but I wasn't scared. 


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