Paris Gare de Bercy to Venezia Santa Lucia

After a 4 hour break­down (we were told 5 minutes 2 hours ago — no-one really knows what the prob­lem is) we’re mov­ing on through the edge of the Alps, past Lake Maggiore, towards Milan. The plus side of the delay is that we travel this sec­tion in day light, eat­ing our break­fast of pain au chocolat.

Couchettes are a bit small. We are Gregory, the tall, 58-year-old African-American preacher from Denver, Colorado, Gustavo and Lilliana, a large Argentinian couple (he tells us how much meat he eats!), and us. In terms of com­munity minded inter­na­tional com­pany we have struck it lucky. This is the travel fo real people liv­ing together in a mini couchette com­munity for 18 hours, chat­ting, co-operating, com­mu­nic­at­ing in basic Spanish and English bey­ond the bound­ar­ies  of lan­guage and nationality.

Gregory is ori­gin­ally from the Democratic Republic of Congo, has 7 chil­dren and 4 MAs in mech­an­ical engin­eer­ing which he uses to explain to me why the brakes smell, brak­ing sys­tems, and how trains nego­ti­ate sharp bends… Gustavo has 3 chil­dren out­side of his mar­riage of 30 years to Lilliana…

Callum slept! — at least from 12:30 onwards and even I get some sleep, and enjoy the sounds of the train stop­ping at some mid­night sta­tion, the babble of Italian in an unfa­mil­iar cadence, the slam­ming of manual train doors. I don’t even mind the inter­mit­tent snor­ing from Gregory and Gustavo (nudged lov­ingly and play­fully into silence by Lilliana from the top bunk).

2 thoughts on “Paris Gare de Bercy to Venezia Santa Lucia

  1. Sometimes if you have trouble get­ting to sleep because of someone else’s snor­ing, it helps to hear the snor­ing as a song in your head.

    Just put your sleepy thoughts within the rhythms and pitches of the snor­ing like lyr­ics, and it can become a lul­labye. z z z z z z

  2. Margaret, that sounds won­der­ful. Next time I’m on a couchette and there’s a snor­ing going on around me I’ll write a song! x

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