Tag Archives: adventure

How a simple train trip can turn into a total disaster?

I decided to take a train trip for the next leg of my journey. Now there are days that simply suck. Forgive me for the word but there is just no other word for it on this occasion. I am telling you this because I recently had one of those days.

My train trip from Holland to Switzerland

It happened when I was travelling from The Netherlands to Switzerland. Literally everything that could go wrong went wrong during that trip. The combination of bad factors was more than coincidence. It seemed like the devil was involved.

I decided to go by train to Switzerland. The reason I decided to go by train was that I foresaw problems with flying. My luggage was growing in size and weight for some reason and somehow I had acquired more bags than when I started.

train trip, Switzerland, Alps, mountains

The Swiss Alps – powerful and absolute gorgeous. It takes time though to navigate them

Switzerland is a small country but because of the Alps travelling can take a long time. If you fly you still have to get from an airport to your destination and my end goal Wengen is not the easiest place to get to.

So a train it was! I searched on line and found a great train trip starting just where I was in Borne, Holland. And for a good price. My friend dropped me off at the station and off I went.

What went wrong?

The first thing that happened was a delay on the Dutch train. Not clear why but the train waited just before Enschede and arrived 5 minutes late. My connecting train was still waiting a bit further on the same platform. I ran for it but had to skilfully manoeuvre my too many pieces of luggage through a turn style. When I looked up the train had left.

It basically had just vanished. I could not even see it any more in the distance. I was not the only stranded person and in fact there was a whole group of us that. Missing this train meant my initial schedule to get to Wengen was useless. I would miss the next connection and lose my reserved seats.

I had a good old rant and the lady behind the counter gave me a new schedule based on the new times. It looked fine until I checked it out a bit better and I saw that there were 9 train changes. I was thinking of the stuff I had with me and felt my heart sinking in my shoes.

There was nothing I could do and I took the next train on the schedule the lady in Enschede gave me. I went to Dortmund, then to Mannheim and then to Rastatt, a place somewhere in the South of Germany I had never heard off.

A train trip without a train track….

I explored the schedule a bit better and saw that there was no train between Rastatt and Baden Baden. First I thought I simply misunderstood the schedule but it really said there were no train until the 26th August. As it was only the 15th, I was starting to feel really pissed off!

The reason there was no train was that due to very bad weather the train track had been washed away. There would be many buses waiting to bring all these people from Rastatt to Baden Baden.

We arrived in Rastatt and everybody had to leave the train. Dozens of people were fighting their way to the stairs realising there was neither escalator nor lift on this station. So down the stairs we went, through the tunnel and then up the stairs to be able to get to the buses.

In Rastatt I found out that the train that I missed earlier that day had broken down half an hour out of Munster. All these people had to leave that train and find alternative ways to get further as well. That would have been me had I not missed that train in Enschede.

People were pushing and getting panicked that they would miss out on a spot on one of the buses. To be honest I was glad I had done a fair bit of weight lifting in my life. I had to carry a total of 30 kilos in2 suit cases plus my camera bag and computer bag down and up those stairs. I felt really sorry for elderly people with huge suit cases. They looked around to find a helping hand but as every one had to deal with their own luggage, there was little time nor chance for that.

The train trip continues

In Baden Baden there was a train waiting and after all these people were on it the train was full to the brim. There was no place to sit and suitcases were obstructing exits and corridors.

Fortunately I had a seat but my stuff was all over the place. By then I was very thirsty and went on the search for a bar or restaurant. Only to find out it was not open. How stupid is that? They had a packed train with hungry and thirsty people and there was nothing to eat or drink.

We arrived in Basel where I had another change to make with again only 5 minutes. I knew the platform I had to go to and expected it to be next to the one I arrived. Unfortunately my train arrived on a different platform and we had a delay of 4 minutes. I had to run and push to be able to make it in time for the next train.

To my utter surprise the Swiss train was waiting for us despite the usual punctual Swiss time keeping. I enquired with the Swiss conductor and she told me that the train always waits for its connection. What about that, Germany!

train trip, Switzerland, Wengen

Swiss trains, punctual, clean and reliable.

After this trip I had two more train changes to make and I was getting more and more excited to arrive in Wengen where I would stay for a week. Of course there was no one to meet me as my friends had no clue when I arrived. I lugged my stuff through the town, slightly uphill and finally after a rather pain full train trip I had arrived at my next destination.

My week in Wengen was worth all the upheaval. I really love this place 😎 and may decide to share it with you in another blog post.

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Bye for now!

emigration, happy, at ease, train trip

Our adventure in Australia has come to an end

adventure, Brisbane, Australia

The sky line of Brisbane along the river

Our Australian adventure is nearly finished. I say nearly as some of us are still in Oz, one has left already and one will stay for a bit longer.

We have handed in the key of our house. It was a gruelling couple of weeks with a fair bit of stress. I still wake up in the middle of the night with feelings that I have to sell things I actually don’t have anymore or bring items to people who don’t exist.

It was amazing to see that after selling most of our things we still manage to ship over 8 cubic meter. And that is without the ‘famous’ sofa that I would have liked to take to our house in France. The problem was that the sofa is too big to get into the house. The width of the window is exactly the same size as the height of the sofa.

I did ask my local Limoux handyman for advice but his reply was to assess the situation ‘en place’. Not really the best suggestion. So off it went, our gorgeous sofa to a very grateful lady for a pittance!

Being a tenant in Australia

During the last 5 years we were renters. We sold our family home and found an apparent good house to rent in St Lucia. Very handy for our off spring who went to University and high school. The house turned out to be a bit of a night mare with many structural problems.

Obviously not designed by an architect but more by a ‘wannabe’ builder. He must have saved a lot of money by skipping stages in the building process. After all how can waterproofing and sloping areas for drainage purposes be important. The end of the story is that I am glad that some else owns this house. If it was a car, it would be called a lemon!

We did get to meet our landlady, the one who let us live in a house with damp problems, a whole summer without outdoor areas and an on the verge of collapse retaining wall at the back of the house. She came to assess the condition while we were still cleaning.

Now apparently tenants are the lower citizens of society and therefore the rather frumpy and grumpy grey haired owner chose to walk past us without saying a word. After all why would you interact with the people who paid your mortgage for the last 5 years? I decided that she deserves the house she owns…..

The final jobs before the new adventure begins

Selecting and packing our belongings

So the last weeks were spent on preparing a large garage sale, packing the stuff we wanted to take and cleaning to get our rather large bond back. The garage sale was a success, the removalists were pleasant and effective and the cleaning was gruelling.

In Australia it is common to have to leave your house cleaner than you get it. You can’t hang pictures on the walls and if you do you have to fix the holes.The carpet, ours with damp stains and moth damage needs a professional cleaning service and so on.

You also can’t leave anything on the premises that was not there when you got the house initially. So I took away the washing line, the compost bin, the watering hose and the more than one pot plant that was on the entry report. My neighbour was very eager to take it all.

In the end we left it in a very good state and I could hand in the keys on the due date. In the meantime we have heard that we get all our bond back. We have to do one more task and that is emptying the bins. In fact we were not really supposed to leave the bins full. Rather odd as where are you suppose to leave rubbish and recycling when you are still living there. Again my neighbour comes to the rescue and will empty both bins when the next pick is.

Big changes

So now we are officially homeless and ready for a new adventure. We were able to do a house sit for friends for the last couple of weeks. Keith, my husband who will stay a bit longer in Australia can rent a room at friends until his contract finishes. Our youngest moved in with her friend and family and is now a homestay student. And the oldest daughter lives since a couple of months in Melbourne.

Everything has changed and come to an end Down Under

Let the new adventure begin……

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