Hello! It’s me again! So my week was pretty mellow again, still enjoying my morning routine, walking the dog plenty and loving the sea. I did realise though, this week how much time I’ve spent on trains in the last few days, and how little i was prepared for all of my train travels.
Last week, traveling to Verona was a 6 hour venture, I left bright and early to try and get there as early as possible on Saturday. I guess, for me, being from the states and not having had taken long train rides ever, I didnt think, for some unknown reason, to prepare at all so, maybe for most of you this is just common sense and im unprepared, but maybe also this will be helpful.Trains are like planes essentially, except with a lot less information, and a lot more opportunity for things to go wrong.
So here are 5 tips to have the best experience possible.
Bring a pillow and a jacketTrains have this fascinating way of rocking me right to sleep, one of the first train rides I had here, I swear I almost lost skin to frostbite because of the A/C and lack of a jacket combo. You would think I would have been more prepared, but no. So here we are.Set an alarm - I like to do this when I’m traveling alone, and going to fall asleep. I usually set the alarm for 20-30 min before we’re supposed to arrive at my destination and then I can rest much more peacefully knowing I won’t miss my stop. The nice thing about trains is that they wouldn’t leave a station 20 min early, so you can rely pretty heavily on the times you’re given, unless, of course it’s running late.
Bring SNACKS & WATER
OKAY guys, this is like the most noob mistake I’ve made ever, but for some reason i thought i would have time to hop off the train to grab snacks during one of my transfers. WRONG, we showed up to the station 10 min late, leaving me only 5 min to find my next train and hop on. BRING SOME SUSTENANCE, i felt like I was going to pass out. I’m also willing to admit that this is probably something most people think of, but I really didn’t. I also found out, some trains, and just some, and there’s never information which ones, but some have a carriage with snacks you can buy!
Say “Hi” to your neighbors
especially on these seats where you face each other, it’s super awkward staring at someone for 5 hours without saying words. It is tricky here because of the language barrier, but nonetheless important to try just to break the ice in case you kick them during your sleep or snore or something. PLUS, you never know who you’ll meet. I met a super cool painter on my ride to Rome, check him out on my “Their Humanity” page.
Don’t be afraid to get up and stretch or walk around a little.
This is key. I think in total in the last 11 days i have spent 26 hours on a train. ICK. Luckily, I am a good napper, but when im not, it’s really easy to start cramping up, so take a little stroll through the carriages and see what there is to see! I try and do calf stretches and some baby lunges while I walk!
Last week, on the way back from Verona, my train, seemingly fine, stopped about 10 min outside of the station i was changing at. And it wasn’t just a small stop, the train didn’t move for 2 hours. They completely shut the train down, so no A/C and it was HOT and no one spoke english, and the train people didn’t update us at all. I had no food, or water and I think I learned a lot of lessons that day. So learn from me, and have comfortable, enjoyable train rides! Books and Music help too!