Well here I was, bored out of my tree, thinking the train would never end, when the worst happens: the train drove over something and came to a halt! The man across from me keenly observed the obvious in the way only a German can, das kann nicht gut sein, as smoke or dust followed the loud noise of whatever it was we crushed. No, that can’t be good at all. The loudspeaker informed us that the train was damaged to the point that it could no longer drive with any speed. Great, I thought, I will never get to sleep in my bed!
Well, as has been very well established, there is always good in bad. As we limped back to the station, a slower intercity train pulled into the station. We all hurried across the platform to search, futilely, for an open seat. Seeing that there were none and having spotted a fellow backpacker from the now deceased train, I made my way into the hallway and tried to make conversation. Turns out she was on her way to the airport to fly to Thailand!
So while the trip seemed doomed to boredom, this disaster actually delivered an interesting conversation partner. Though I got home later than I expected, the journey was a lot more entertaining and there’s a story to tell. It also gave me the opportunity stop over in Frankfurt and get my favourite sausage. And it was a good re-entry to Germany, as the conversation was, naturally, entirely in German. East Germans especially have trouble with English (and have very little exposure to North American popular culture, much less than the average German), so it’s a lot easier to speak German with them – and I’m in Germany afterall. Don’t worry: she made the flight.
And how great it was to round all the familiar train stations, finally pulling into Wiesbaden Hauptbahnhof. I stepped off the train, looked around, and breathed in a deep breath: home! I opted to walk home to take in the sights of my beautiful city and bask in the feeling of familiarity. How great it was to walk home, obeying every traffic light but that one that nobody obeys. As I approached it and waited for the cars to pass, I glanced anxiously at the fellow German across from me, knowing we were about to break the one rule no German is permitted to break. We stepped out onto the pavement as rebels, criminals, disorderly citizens. And there before me was the Fußgängerzone, the European dream I live in.
Traveling is great but there’s no place like home. I’m now sitting on my couch, having sifted through all the junk mail. Evidently, tigers and black people are still dying and all the money I’ve donated to charity this year has been pointless. Well, I guess I better send more.
Various chores await but only one thing of import is on my mind today and that is the sweet, sweet comfort of my own bed.