A Train Ride To {not} Remember

Everything was set: we would lug our suit cases up the sloping hill to the town square, get on the bus, and go to the train station. We would go to bed in our cozy sleeping car and wake up in the beautiful mountains of Austria. It would be perfect.

Except, that’s not quite how it turned out.

It started to snow. Oddly, the last time it had snowed was the exact same day of the previous year. The only difference was that, then, the snow was a good thing. Now? Not so good.

The snow kept falling and falling. All the buses were out and my dad had to walk home from work. My mom kept trying to call the train station, but it was impossible to really know if our train would be leaving or not. All the while, the snow only fell faster.

Finally, we decided to wait. There was no point in dragging our luggage down a snow-covered hill and walking through the city on slippery sidewalks to find out the train was canceled.

So we bundled up, stood near our house’s ancient heaters, and hoped that the snow would maybe disappear overnight?

Well, surprise, it didn’t. My dad and brother hiked down to the train station and waited in line for hours to attempt to trade in our old tickets for new ones. Finally, they came home, with new tickets, and we went to the bus stop, hoping a bus would attempt the treacherous climb up the hill. Thankfully, one did.

The bus ride was like plane turbulence on the ground. My heart pounded around every turn. We made it one piece though.

After the long walk through the snow to the train station, we saw that our train was delayed. Then delayed again. And again. And Again. Camped out in McDonalds, we anxiously watched the train boards until, finally, one was ready. By then, it was midnight.

There was a surge of people toward the train. We all crammed on, shoving and pushing. It was ok, though, because we had assigned seats. We had beds.

We finally made it to our sleeping car, but it was strangely dark inside. We investigated further and saw that ours “out of order.” I’m still curious to know what has to happen to make one single train car out of order.

So we ventured into one of the regular cars and got seats.

There we sat, for the next eight hours, exhausted and cold because, did I forget to mention that the heating wasn’t working in our train car? It was a long night.

We made it to Vienna bright and early, ready for a dreading a full day of tourism. The trip was worth the train ride though and thankfully, on the way back, we got our own sleeping car and the train stewards were even courteous enough to bring us a European breakfast of croissants and tea.

What’s your worst travel story?


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