3 June 2003 - Somewhere between Berlin and Vienna
No such thing as a lucky break on this trip

I've been racking my brain to think of lucky breaks I've had on this trip so far, and I can't come up with any. I can think of many 'challenges to overcome' and since they didn't kill me, I guess they made me better. I certainly hope so.

Maybe I exagerrate a little bit. I did manage to go into, not one, but two cathedral towers at student price because the cashiers insisted that I was one. I did get to travel on a Scandanavian ferry for free. I did manage to not fall off a mountaintop.

But, as a whole, the returns have not been enough to balance out the bad breaks.

Let's take this evening's hijinks as a case in point. I bought a ticket with a couchette from Berlin to Budapest. What a great idea. I get a good night's sleep and wake up to the strains of the accordians of Hungary (or whatever it is they play).

I've got my ticket, I checked it twice, I made sure I got my bags out early so I didn't have to rush in case anything bad happened (who says I don't learn from my mistakes?), I take good care of my bags and valuables and then I take note of my seat number (44) and wagon number (164) so I don't have to rush.

Except that my seat doesn't exist. Couchette 44 in Wagon 164 is a figment of somebody's imagination because Wagon 164 is not a couchette wagon.

I had a nice long conversation with the conductress, mostly in German. There is some sort of strike or something somewhere and because of that, the last wagon is not a sleeping wagon. That's how good my German was.

For a long, long moment I thought that she was going to send me to go sit in a chair and I was about to demand (Hear that? Demand.) for my EUR20.50 back because I wasn't going to be sleeping in a bed like I had paid for.

Fortunately, I didn't have to show my darker side (stop sniggering, you guys) and it was settled by me being given a fourth couchette in a wagon that already had three people, and would eventually get one more.

At this point, I am trying to be positive and I must say that I am extremely thankful that I still have my health, most of my money, my passport and (although the last is debatable) my sanity.


posted on Monday, June 09, 2003 - permalink
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