Seeing this week’s Travel Theme topic took me back to July 1983, when I was taking my first ever trip to Europe. Traveling with my sister to France, then on to Italy by train with our Eurail passes, to see the sights in Venice, Rome and Florence. We did make a short unexpected detour to Milan for 2 hours to catch a glimpse of the Last Supper. My sister spoke a tiny bit of Italian, and all I knew how to say was Quanta Costa-How much does it cost-and would then turn to my sister to translate the amount for whatever fabulous item I had found. We stayed in inexpensive hostels with shared bathrooms. Oh to be 25 years old and not mind sharing a bathroom with strangers.
We were traveling on the train, seated in a compartment that had a rattling sliding door, with bench seats that faced each other. It was just me and my sister, no other travelers were sharing the compartment with us. The ticket collectors kept coming into our compartment at every stop to check our passports. I had my Walkman headphones on, music blasting as we made our way from Florence to Rome. We became accustomed to pulling into the stops and waiting as the train idled before leaving the station once again. At one point it did seem that we were idling longer than usual, but I didn’t think much of it. Until suddenly a ticket collector appeared interrupting my musical reverie, gesturing wildly and yelling something in Italian including Andiamo! Andiamo! My sister had fallen asleep so I quickly gave her a shove and asked her what they were saying with such urgency. It seemed the car we were sitting in had been unhooked from the train, and the train was leaving the station. Without us. We needed to grab our duffle bags post haste and run to find another car to sit in, near the front of the train as only those cars would be going all the way to Rome. I remember running through the cars, opening the ancient sliding doors between them, then shutting them behind us, slowed down by our cumbersome duffle bags. We raced to find room in another car. Finally we found seats, and then we burst out laughing at the ridiculousness of it all- picturing ourselves sitting unknowingly in a detached car while the train moved on to Rome. Here are some of the photos from that time, when I traveled abroad