Train Travelling

Nicholas Quirke was tired as he boarded the train to Frankfurt at Brussels Midi station first thing in the morning. He had not slept well in the mediocre hotel. His room which had looked pleasant on the website, though comfortable was actually a little shabby and he felt he had paid a lot for what was supposed to be a bargain. A couple of cramp attacks woke him in the night and he hoped that these were just related to the excessive activity that had led up to his departure and not something of a more sinister nature that would consistently trouble him on this venture. It would be fair to say Nicholas had a somewhat theatrical view of life, and taking trains across Europe possessed the drama of a story he wanted to be part of. His mission for the day was to get to Prague and this was going to take 4 trains, changing in Frankfurt, Nuremberg, Cheb and finally Praha. He imagined a quaint sometimes dramatic vista through the Rhineland with encounters akin to those Michael Kitchen had endured in ‘‘Caught on a Train’, but no Fearsome Dowager in the form of Peggy Ashcroft for him. The seats On the ICE trains were narrow and as he typed and tried to work on his I pad not only was the promised WiFi woefully inadequate but the spread from the passenger next to him really began to irritate him. He put it down to his fatigue and instead tried to sit and enjoy the views he had from his restricted view seat. As well as blocking his view the seat was broken and Annoyingly kept sliding forward. He worried slightly that the trains wouldn’t be running on time as on checking the itinerary he only had 20 minutes to get his connection from Nuremberg to Cheb and only 10 minutes to get his train to Prague. Still it was nearly 12 hours of travel for £27 and to travel such a distance for such a cost really bought out the accountant in him. The scenery was lacking somewhat in excitement on the 3 hour journey to Frankfurt, but once he had changed trains there and found himself headed to Nuremberg, scene of Nazi War Crime trials, he found more out the dirty window to interest him. Safely on the platform waiting for his next train to arrive and amusing himself by attempting to capture the haunted look of a Nazi war criminal he did not register that there was a last minute change to the platform for the Cheb train and he watched in horror as the train on the opposite platform fired up and left the station even though the platform he was on still showed the train departing from there. He took solace in the fact that he was not the only victim of this change, Nicholas found the information booth and DB rearranged his itinerary only this time he had just 5 minutes between getting off at Schwandorf and getting on his Prague Train. At least he got to glimpse more of Nuerumberg  than he had expected and fancied he was looking at the prison where the captured Nazis were held. Sadly, as he boarded his next train dusk was setting and the landscape started to change and what had been fairly recognisable views, towns and architecture took on a more Bavarian hue redolent of scenes from a fairy tale. He was feeling agitated by the late arrival of the train into Schwandorf and was not looking forward to his back breaking bolt with his suitcases to his Praha train. He made it in the 4 minutes and was quietly delighted when he saw his train which was not of the high speed anonymous variety he had originally been booked onto but was an old style compartment train. And for the first time on his journey he chatted with someone on the train, not a dowager but a young man who had surprisingly been to Brighton. Marcus left him at kolm and he had he compartment all to himself to watch the German and Czech landscape at night pass by. Tired and suffering a little from his sciatic nerve trouble he took a taxi from the station to the hotel and realised how ripped off he had been but nis Botel, how cute was that. He took a walk along the river got some water and comestibles and retired to bed.

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