Thursday, May 23, 2013

Travel Troubles

Now that I have told you all about how wonderful my weekend was, I will tell you about how wonderful it was not...On Saturday as we sat around the lunch table, Wendy, a hilarious lady from Texas who was in Aix to do Jill's painting workshop, told us this insane story about her first trip to Aix-en-Provence. To summarize, Wendy drove six hours in the opposite direction of Aix, had a sobbing breakdown to a French police officer, arrived 24 hours late, cracked out on red bull, and exhausted...only to request a beer at 8am and freak everyone out for a first impression. 

We all laughed about the absurdity of this story, and a little while later they casually asked me how long it took me to get to Aix from Wald-Michelbach, and I had to admit my first embarrassing travel mistake. I meant to take a little nap on the train Friday morning, but my nap turned into a deep sleep and I slept through my stop, went all the way to Switzerland, and turned what should have been a 7 hour trip into an almost 12 hour one. Whoops. Everyone laughed and joked with me for not sharing my story as we all laughed at Wendy's mistakes, and I assured that them the trip back would take less than 7 hours. Little did I know, the worst of my travel issues were ahead of me.

So on Monday morning, I woke up at 8 to leave. The sun was shining and it was a beautiful day, so I just decided to enjoy it a little bit and take the 1:30 train (which was the last train I could take and still make the bus to Wald-Michelbach that night). I went to the station at 1:30, and they told me that there was no possible way I could get back to Germany that day. After much debate, I ended up having to wait til 4 to leave and pay for a whole new ticket to get to Paris, but I just went back out to enjoy two more hours of sun in Marseille so I was not too upset about it.
I couldn't be mad, this was a pic I snapped as I waited the original two hours in Marseille.
When I got to Paris, I had to switch train stations and was extremely short on time, so I took a motorcycle taxi through the city (in the pouring rain, with my bags) to avoid rush hour traffic.

When I arrived at the main station, I had about 30 minutes til the last train of the night left for Germany. At this point, its 7:30 pm and I am getting frustrated. They tell me there was absolutely no space on this train and there was no chance of me getting to Germany that night. Being desperate, I decide that if I shed a few tears they would certainly let me on. I start to cry and beg these two train conductors (one spoke english, the other I was begging in German...) and they were not budging. But, once I'd started to cry, I couldn't just give up. And plus, I'd left beautiful France and passed up an opportunity to stay and paint because I had work, so I was not going to miss work for anything at this point. So I kept sobbing and pleading with them. And I know I have been known to exaggerate, but I kid you not, this went on for a solid twenty minutes. Finally, as the train is about to pull out, the man train conductor took pity on me and said I could get on. I was ecstatic. And while I technically got what I wanted (which was to be on the train), I did not get a seat so I slept in the hallway and people walked past kicking me and tripping over me all night. The even more miraculous part, was that the conductor continued to take pity on me, asking exactly where I was going (the train was going to Berlin and Munich) and offered to make an "unofficial stop" in Mannheim just to let me out. So, at 2:20 am, as I was half asleep on the floor, this kindest German conductor came and woke me up, stopped the train of probably 500 people, and let me (and only me!) off the train.

So, I hailed a cab and finally made it home at 3:15 am. When I called my mom to let her know that I was, in fact, alive and tell her all that I'd been through, I said, "It's a good thing this weekend was so amazing or I'd be furious about all that I went through to get there and back!"


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