I can’t wait to fly 14 hours straight.
Said no one ever.
I don’t think I’ve ever met a person who loves the transportation part of traveling. I have never heard anyone say, “I really want to go to Europe so I can fly for 14 hours and have two layovers.” Have you? But you can’t exactly avoid all means of transportation when heading off on vacation. If you want to go somewhere, you need a way to get there. And depending on the trip, you’ll probably experience more than one mode of transportation. I don’t think I’ve ever traveled internationally without a minimum of three different forms. And it never fails, it’s this part of travel that makes the vacation interesting. And by interesting, I mean crazy, stressful, adventurous, aggravating, terrifying. You get the picture.
I know I’m not the only one with tales of transportation gone awry. It can’t just be that I have bad luck. Whether it involved a car, train, or bus, nearly every trip has dished out its share of thrills at some point or another. On my first trip to Europe, my best friend and I visited Germany and France. We bought a Eurorail pass which was good in both countries. What we didn’t realize was you needed 1) to activate it and 2) redeem it for an actual ticket depending on the journey. We got on a train without doing the latter and when we disembarked at our destination we were locked in the train station. You needed to scan a ticket to get out! Fortunately, a kind soul offered the use of his, otherwise we might still be in Versailles. Oh, and then there was the time we slept overnight in a train station (well, until 3 a.m.) because we kept missing trains from Berlin to Ramstein.
In Italy, Luke and I exited the wrong side of the train station in Bologna. It was the coldest day of the trip and we walked for what felt like ages in the wrong direction, dragging our suitcases behind us. We finally stopped a guy with two kids (because that makes him safe, right?) to ask for directions. I’m stuttering along in my broken Italian and he finally stops me. “Why are you speaking Italian and I speaking English?” Hmm, good question. I was so focused on being lost I hadn’t even noticed he was answering all of my questions in English. Of course, you would think we’d learn our lesson about the train stations and their confusing exits. Nope. We must have exited the wrong side at least three times in Japan.
On our most recent trip to the Netherlands and Barcelona we had, once again, our share of transportation mishaps. The flight in was fine, but when we landed in Amsterdam we had to catch a bus to our destination. Once we fumbled our way through figuring out the ticket purchase, we rushed into the rain to catch the bus. I had Olivia in a stroller so when I tried to get on the bus the driver said I had to board in the back. By the time I made my way around people the doors had shut and the bus was leaving with Luke who had all of our things, including my phone! There I was standing outside in the rain with Olivia! Thank goodness they stopped and opened the doors for me.
The greatest adventure, thus far, occurred just a few days after almost getting separated in Amsterdam as we were on a train to Groningen. Since it was a two-hour ride on the same train we spread out and got comfortable. Olivia was having a blast on her first train ride and we were attempting to catch it all on camera. The train stopped in Zwolle, an announcement was made in Dutch, and people started getting off the train. “Must be a big stop,” I thought. Soon the car was nearly empty and we were starting to get nervous. As the last couple was disembarking the woman turned to us and said, “You know this car disconnects from the rest of the train and goes back, right?” No, no we did not! I know only a few words in Dutch, none of which are “Get off the train, it’s disconnecting.”
Luke and I scrambled to grab our things. I managed to get Olivia into the Ergobaby and rushed onto the platform and back up into the correct car. He grabbed everything else but didn’t make it back onto the train before the doors closed. Separated again! Thank goodness they stopped and let him on. Unfortunately, my purse with all of my credit cards did not make it. We did, however, get it back a few days later. Thank the Lord for that!
And let’s not forget the time:
- Olivia blew out her diaper as the plane was descending and all the lavatories were closed so I had to change her on the floor
- We got lost in Madrid in a rental car with a funky GPS system that kept dying and ended up driving in a bus lane (and receiving a ticket in the mail a year later!)
- Ali and I couldn’t figure out the bike rental system and had to practically run to the train station
And yet, we keep on traveling and in the end, this is all part of the adventure. I’d love to hear your transportation adventures!