Travelling across Italy to get home because of a difficultly named volcano in Iceland wasn't the perfect end to my honeymoon.
The decision to travel home by train was easy because my husband and I had to make it back for our wedding reception on Friday. Having spent 10 hours the previous day in a very small six person compartment, Italian train; we hoped the French sleeper train would give us the opportunity to rest. Fearing the worst and hoping for the best we boarded the train at 7pm in Nice, France. Finding our sleeping compartment with the help of the on board usher was fine and entering the dimly lit room, it was sort of romantic. I had visions of that Chanel advert and Poirot running through my head.
There were 4 beds in total two lower, two upper and divided by a small walkway. As the train pulled away from the station and no other passengers entered the compartment, my husband and I decided to wash up (the small sink in the corner of the compartment was at least clean). Drawing the cabin curtains to ensure some privacy we arranged our belongings – the things we would need tonight on the top bunks we had chosen to sleep on and clothes for tomorrow on the bottom bunk. Having been awake more than 36 hours, we were ready to sleep. My husband helped me up on to my bed and he climbed onto his own. Everything felt settled, this wasn't going to be too bad.
I must has fallen asleep quickly because it felt like seconds later the light came on and the compartment door opened – a backpacker entered. My husband had been reading so turned first to smile at the stranger by way of welcome. Neil, my husband was treated to a ‘hearty’ handshake as the man introduced himself as ‘Ben’ travelling across France and from somewhere in America. Talking a mile a minute, Ben began to ask all sorts of questions about where we had been, what we had done; being a new wife at this point, I decided to leave my husband to the conversation so I could get some sleep. That did not please Ben at all – he proceeded to touch every ‘working’ item within the compartment. At one point calling the light dimmer a ‘miracle’! Now I don't know if anyone else remembers Alec Baldwins character in Friends but seriously the dimmer was not a miracle the train had to have been about 40 years old and was barely serviceable.
Ben continued well into the 9 hour journey, happy mostly just with his own voice and the occasional grunt of ‘support’ from either myself or my husband. We were just thankful we took the top bunk beds so that we could at least try to escape the constant barrage of inane chatter. We politely turned down the kind offer to keep in touch on facebook…