MIA —> PARIS
Getting to Paris was fairly standard and much like any other transatlantic flight. I’ve learned the art of getting a good nights rest on a plane to make the journey better.
First order of business once through customs was to get to Gare de L’Est. This is where my initial train of the day was going to depart. There are two main public transit options to get into Paris from Orly terminal 4, the Orlyval train and the OrlyBus. I bought the train ticket first, but then realized there were severe delays on this route so I bailed to take the bus instead. Purchasing a second ticket, I stepped onto the bus and was on my way to city center.
A quite note on tickets – simply having a ticket is apparently not enough. If you forgot to validate it (like I did), it will cost you when the ticketing controllers come on board. For me, it was 35€ to be precise.
What was once a simple ride into town cost me a train ticket, a bus ticket, and now a fine. Upside of it all was that my infraction ticket covered my bus transfer, and I think I can use the original OrlyBus ticket when I leave for my flight home. And of course, on that occasion, it will be validated.
I stocked up on some snacks before leaving Paris, then boarded Train No. 1 to Stuttgart and was off to Germany. Traveling by train is one of my favorite experiences. It’s actually nearly half the reason I choose to go on this trip. Trains are incredibly convenient and a mostly reliable mode of transit in Europe. You can step on in one country, watch endless scenery go by, and step off in a completely different country.
Every trip has a few unexpected adventures. Train No. 1 threw me my first challenge. I had discovered while waiting for my train that the German railway union had planned to strike in 2 days. Thankfully, I was only passing through Germany and it should effect my travels.
Whether it was from the impending strike or another unknown reason, the trains were were off .
When I got off Train No. 1, we arrived a few minutes late which reduced me to a very quick transfer. I located my train’s destination on the schedule and ran to my track, but there was no train. With a few minutes to spare, I looked around and didn’t see a train down the tracks that I just missed.
There was a train going to my destination and it was on this track, but it was a different train. This train was departing in 15 minutes, and it only afforded my 9 minutes once arrived to make the next transfer to my night train. A little leary of the time contraints yet happy to have a path forward, I changed my ticked and awaited the train. Five minutes late, the train arrived and I was off to Augsburg on Train No. 2.
To make matters worse, it appeared that Train No. 2 was moving slowly. Every 20 minutes or so, the ETA to Augsburg ticked up a minute. By the time I would arrive, there would only be 2 minutes. It was certainly looking like I was going to miss my night train and started resolving my mind to the idea of staying in Augsburg for the night.
As I was looking up accomodations and tracking trains for the remaining 12 hours of my journey to Ljubljana tomorrow, an announcement sounded on the speakers in German. I don’t understand much German, but I heard the words “Nacht Train” and “Zagreb” (the night train’s end destination) and I knew the message was about my train. There was no follow up English translation. I asked the few people sitting around me with imploring eyes if they spoke English. I was left wondering as the only answer I recieved a shake of the head.
When the time to get off the train came, I was waiting by the door with my backpack strapped up ready to go. A man came up and stood waiting next to me. I leaned over to ask him if he spoke English. He did. I asked him if he heard the announcement about my train. He replied that announcement said the train was waiting for our arrival.
I couldn’t believe it!!
Jogging down the platform, I went to find my trains platform. There was no train schedule I could see. I just had to pick a track, so I went left and up.Watch the video below to see what happened next.