(This one’s a long one, but it details an amazing journey! So it’s worth it.)
Can you feel the excitement? I’ve been back for a couple weeks, two of which were spent in California with the fam (one of which with Ben there visiting!). I got to see everyone, go to Disneyland and the Zoo, go to the beach more than I normally do in an entire summer, and was luckily there for Grandma’s awesome 80th birthday.
UNluckily I can’t find my camera cord to download pictures from my camera, so no pictures of California OR my infamous Berlin-Florence train journey.
Too bad, too, because I carefully documented that epic trip all throughout the night. I have pictures of the Swiss Alps at like five in the morning right after the sun rose.
ABOUT THAT. Is every single person in the whole world aware that I recently spent nineteen hours on five trains going by rail from Berlin to Florence? That’s 612 miles, for those not in the know. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, I will detail exactly why this travesty occurred.
School was finished, I was excited to be almost home, but first Lisa and I had a trip to take! We took a train from Florence to Milan, then flew to Berlin for the weekend. Berlin is incredible. Such an amazing, historic city, with a great nightlife (especially after three months of Florence). We took a walking tour on Saturday afternoon with a totally awesome British tour guide. She managed to summarize like 14oo years of Berlin history, but I am not nearly so talented as she so I won’t even try.
After our walking tour, we found food (I had a weird flatbread pizza type thing with sour cream instead of pizza sauce and flavored beer! Raspberry!) before napping, then going out on a pub crawl. The crawl was kind of a dud (half-dud? Is that a word?) but it is amazing that we went on it, because at the first (or second?) bar, a French guy approached us and after we told him we were going to Prague on Monday the flying back to Florence, he told us flights were being cancelled again because of the GIANT ASH CLOUD that’s been spewing from Iceland lately. We hadn’t even thought about the ash cloud!
The next day we got up and frantically tried to figure out how to call my parents so we could get some advice on the sitch. Problem A) I had no credit on my cell phone and couldn’t buy any in Germany, so I couldn’t call them. Lisa had no credit either. Problem B) the computers at the hostel had no microphone, so I couldn’t call my parents using Skype. Solution? I called the house and cell phones on Skype repeatedly until my mom finally checked her text messages and realized it was me. So creepy, to answer the phone at like seven in the morning and repeatedly get silence.
Anyways, we finally connected and the parentals agreed jumping on a train and getting back to Florence in time to make sure we caught our flights back to the states. We packed up and went to the train station, got tickets from Berlin to Florence (you don’t want to know how much that cost) and were off!
First train: Berlin to some other city in Germany that I can’t remember.
Departed: 9:00PM Arrived: 2:00AM
Second train: Some German town to a very Northern Swiss town
Departed: 3:20AM Arrived: 6:00AM
WAIT! We got off on the wrong stop on the German side of the border, so we had 16 minutes to get from the wrong train station to the right one to catch our train to Milan. We HAD to get that train, because there was no room on any other trains, due to the giant ash cloud situation. We got on the commuter train and made it to our station with THREE MINUTES TO SPARE.
We RAN to our next train and hopped on just in time, but, guess what, the woman in Germany didn’t assign us seats when she bought our tickets, so our Switzerland to Milan, 6:30AM to 10:30AM train was spent hopping from seat to seat as we tried to sleep at least a little.
Got to Milan (finally, thank GOD, about three and a half hours sleep at this point) and had to go wait in line AGAIN to change our tickets from Milan to Florence that we were supposed to use on Wednesday. Got on the fifth and final train, made it home, and collapsed.
On the bright side, I had enough time while in Florence (crappy weather, depressed college student) to memorize how to pronounce the name of that God-forsaken volcano.