The worst journey of my life2


Being the grumpy traveller that I am I have plenty to choose from. But the worst would have to be the sewage train ride from hell. My father and I had headed off on a daughter/dad-bonding trip in 2001. Sadly it was only a week after the September 11 attacks so everyone was on edge. We decided to get off the beaten track and visit the Czech Republic. We couldn’t wait; the untouched scenery, the shopping and the people were high on list. Free roaming sewage wasn’t.

The train we caught reminds me now of Harry Potter’s Hogwarts Express. We managed to snaffle the only empty compartment but it soon filled up. A few hours into our trip with another hour to go I was dozing against my father when I felt something cold and wet slip past my foot. Ignoring it, I continued to nap. Salami, sausage and sweat smells wafted around us but was bearable then the smell of something stronger, something ripe and pungent was imposing itself over the others. That wet feeling I’d felt earlier had now squelched into my shoes. Giving in, I sat up and peered down.

To find brown liquid all over the floor. Everyone else had their feet up on seats and were still talking as normal. I leaned in to get better look and realized the brown was the sewage from the toilet behind us that had overflowed. My scream woke up my father (who had no sense of smell whatsoever) his resultant jerk almost had both of us in a sewage bath but we grabbed hold of the chair just in time. The toilet had overflowed but people still continued to use it. The levels rose and still our companion travellers continued on as nothing had happened. Quite a few ate their lunch while propped up avoiding the sewage. Since we were marooned in waste and the train was full we were unable to shift. For an hour we endured with numerous heaves and dry reaching.

We finally reached our destination when we informed the train staff of the issue they smiled, apparently this was completely normal. Even the taxi cabby left our stink unremarked. The town was used to the smell of poop.

Now we know why they were off the beaten track and virtually untouched by tourists… poo.



K Bowerman

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