Our bedroom for the evening was rocking, but probably not from the means you might expect – or I would have hoped for.
It was difficult enough being stuck for hours in a cramped, so-called sleeper car – in which ironically it was almost impossible to sleep – on the Eurail from Malmo, Sweden to Berlin, but when our train ended up in the belly of a ship crossing the Baltic Sea I found myself asking my wife, “did I miss the safety briefing on what we do if the ship- and therefore our train – hit some large object?!?
And my point of view – literally and figuratively – did not improve when I, like many other train dwellers, attempted to disembark our floating train abode, only to have a young man in a yellow rain slicker sternly inform us the we were NOT ALLOWED to leave our train cars to venture onto the deck of the ship. If he had not disappeared to quickly I would have asked him “Is there something you would like to tell us?”
Now before I get a plethora of comments to this post informing me of how absolutely fantastic Eurail is as a means of travel and how the Europeans have public transportation down to a science and an art to a level that most Americans may never appreciate…I agree – wholeheartedly; but maybe not just the Trans-Baltic sleeper car segment.
Eurail travel, which has been, is, and hopefully will remain a great way to see Europe. You sure won’t see the beautiful country side and small towns if you just fly from one country to another, snacking on tiny bags of peanuts and a bottle of water THAT YOU NOW HAVE TO PAY FOR, while stuck between two, let’s say “large” people, who have not yet figured out the intricacies of the European hotel showers.
But back to our sleeper car; when Melanie and I boarded the train in Sweden and found our way to our domicile we immediately noticed how the only thing narrower than our sleeper car’s walkway was the bed. But we did not have to worry which way the seats faced…because there weren’t any.
Trying to sleep for me was a challenge as I ended up on the outside “rail” with one arm dangling over the edge and my hand on the floor to keep myself from rolling off.
Looking out the small window of the car revealed yet another train alongside ours and beyond that, the hull of the ship.
Eventually another ship’s crew member came by who granted us permission to wander around. While my traveling companion tried to sleep without me smashing her against the bulkhead of the “bed”, I climbed the many flights of stairs and out onto the ship’s deck.
In the late night, bracing cold, early spring air I could see the lights of Germany off in the distance. After assuring myself the chance of striking an iceberg was remote, I returned to the confines of the lucky-if-you-could-sleeper car. Eventually we felt the slight jolt of the train engine pulling us out of the belly of the beast and on to terra firma and the beautiful German countryside.