Tuesday, May 02, 2006

from a night on the train, chuggin’ along for 18 hours to Italy

Leaving Groningen. Mission accomplished. A series of good meetings.

[Thank you letter to my hosts will include this: I apologize that I was wearing a sweatshirt and pants. I had a professional outfit all packed and ready but it was too damn cold to wear it.]

Many nice memories of a town and a canal.

Europe 06 201
doing laundry on a boat

I forgive Groningen the Internet issues, the weather even. You could get a good cup of coffee just about anywhere and with it, a tasty little applenoot cake. I love that name! I want to be called an applenoot from hereon.

Europe 06 197

Before boarding the all-nighter, we shop for dinner: bread and cheese, tomatoes, lots of chocolate and a bottle of Italian wine. To celebrate the southern skies. You know, the ones with sunshine and real spring.

Europe 06 211
it's what's for dinner

Night train to Italy, with a pre-dawn change in Switzerland. Seats that sort of lean back. Ed and I, we are the oldest twosome in the car. Young kids with dreadlocks and long wisps of hair falling into the aisle as they sleep. Me, I am writing a blog.

The final six hours are through the Alps. The Swiss, they are so jaded. Another mountain. Yawn. Nose in newspaper, wake me up if something really interesting happens.

Europe 06 216
he reads, she dreams

I can never get tired of train travel in Europe. Go to sleep by the North Sea, pass by vineyard and mountains, wake up in the Italian boot that kicks around the waters of the Mediterranean. A food trolley rolls through your car early; the man sells coffee and croissants, you buy some, reach in for more chocolate and the left over grapes and do nothing if that is your will, but look outside and wonder what a day is like for the person walking along the path, up, up to his house at the edge of a village, with the colors of spring Alpine flowers and grasses filling your head and his. Winter’s all forgotten, done with.

UPDATE: tune in tomorrow to find out what happens to complicated travel plans when Nina leaves behind her passport on train.