Friday, December 14, 2007
Grand tour part 1
As I write this, I'm sitting in a gorgeous hostel in Rome, in an elegant white entrance hall and I have the computer all to myself. It's been a week and half since we left Kiel and I'm still processing it all, so much so that I haven't really noticed all the places we've been, apart from having to order coffee in Italian. I think perhaps a week doing nothing in Kiel would have been the cheaper option but at least I have enjoyed the Grand Tour element, if only in passing.
We started in Vienna, where we were both so buggered after our move that the first two days we mostly slept, with the occasional trip to the shops for food (that was Simon's doing, I was too busy catching up on what felt like a month of sleep). Then it was another few days of kitsch Christmas markets and apple strudel, before we embarked on an overnight train to Sienna. Terrible idea, don't recommend it in the least.
The only redeeming feature was watching our fellow travellers enact a very funny Italian/Turkish panotmine which began with the Italian man coming into our compartment and placing his jacket lovingly down on the empty seat beside him, stroking it now and then and straightening out the fur collar, or his pants, or polo neck every five seconds or so. Then, at the next stop the Turkish (I'm guessing his nationality I must admit, but it was definitely more emotive and less Teutonic than we've been used to for a while) man launches himself into the ever-smaller compartment, causing Mr Italy to hurridly sweep up his beloved jacket. Mr Turkish ignores them both and begins energetically attempting to pull down the bed, also ignoring his Italian fellow traveller's attempts to illustrate that this was impossible without the conductor's magic key. He then, seemingly spontaneously having come to the idea that the conductor was neccesary, proceeded to fetch him and demand his bed be made available although it was only seven thirty at night. Once the bed was down, being a rather short man, he threw his luggage onto the rack, which only took about five goes and narrow misses of Mr Italy's jacket. The latter meanwhile, was making amazed gestures at me and speaking energetically to the conductor who was making simliar, aren't all foreigners crazy gestures back. Then Mr Italy dissappears for the rest of the night. I imagine the conversation went something like this:
Mr Italy: This man almost messed up my jacket!
Conductor: What!? NO, no no! This must not be! Why don't you just pop into one of the completely empty compartments next door?
Mr Italy: Yes, I will do that. These foreigners are crazy!
Funnily enough, once he had settled down and the other bloke had gone away, Mr Turkey was quite friendly and let us watch movies one the laptop all night without bothering us. Maybe he did just object to the jacket.