Here is a BIG tip for rail travellers in Europe. Do not waste time getting on your rail car or it will pull away from the station without you.
Rae and I have more luggage with us than anyone should have on a trip. For me it is a case of ‘Physician, Heal Thyself’.
So with all that bulk and weight it takes us time to get on the train, and until today we never had a good sense of figuring out where our assigned car will actually be.
We were at the station early enough this morning for the journey from Lugano to Florence but we were one of the last to board…the second last to be exact.
I load the two heavy pieces on the train, grab the next two and hear the signal, which I have no idea how I intuitively knew that it was for the doors of the train to close.
Rae is outside the train with her carry-on.
As I hear the sound I throw myself against the door to prevent it from closing. It is pushing me strongly. Rae doesn’t realize what is going on but does step on board as fast as she can with her sore knee slowing her a bit.
Behind her is the wife of the older gentleman standing behind me waiting for me to clear my bags.
As Rae steps in I am forced to step away from the door. It instantly closes behind her even as I reach to grab it.
Rae tries to push the door open buttons in vein. The train starts to move. The women’s eyes grow wider and wider in a look of panic. The man pushes us aside and starts hammering on the window as though it would help.
His wife disappears from sight as he swears, first in German ‘Sheis and a few other words I know are choice German gutter expressions. As though recognizing it was likely my tardiness that caused his wife to be left behind he switches to English swear words. “Shit F–k, F–k!”
He is yelling and still banging on the door as the train really gains speed. He must be almost crying by now.
We take our seats. And as much as we felt for him, and in the tension we also felt, we started laughing and replaying the scene. Then we would get really serious and concerned…and then start laughing again.
We were worried that we were on a non stop all the way to Milan, the stop we need to change trains at. But the story does have an ending that is not entirely tragic.
The first stop is Chiasso only about 15 minutes away. We see him on the platform and know that the story will end will if the delay does not force the couple to miss a plane or something more important.
Lessons learned. When we arrived in Milan we were the first off and I think the first on.
We moved quickly so as not to hold up people behind us.
And through it all, we had another crazy tale to tell.