This cold weather brings me to a throwback moment..
Last winter, we rode the train from Berlin to Prague. What a trip: crowded cars, no assigned seats, confused backpackers. I slithered the narrow walkway looking for seats, defying the territorial eyes of the people guarding their seats. At one point it was like Frogger: slip into a cabin from the claustrophobic corridor, allow someone to pass, then slip back out. Repeat.
Oh, and I left our train tickets in Berlin. We wouldn’t be able to enter Czech Republic without it. We would soon have about 10 minutes at the stop in Dresden to navigate a large train station we’d never been to to find an agent who could reissue our passes. We left our luggage, gambling that our speed will get us back to our belongings. Whatever happened next was total random luck. My split-second decisions of which turns to make were pure guesses. We had frantic, unfruitful exchanges with people. Somehow we found the place. Of course, lines were long. We were down to 6 minutes. I was a nervous wreck. Then a sweet lady whose station was not open helped us after I approached her ready to beg. She spoke English! She printed our passes, and I said something like “you saved us!” as we ran away.
A minute or so later we were back on the train, short of breath. I should’ve been elated but I was tired, and frustrated at myself.
We settled in but didn’t talk to each other. The wear of travel made sure of that. I checked my GPS and found us along the Elbe River, not far from the Czech border. This picture is one moment of a scene that went on for miles: snow-capped little houses along the water. I looked at Tina and saw the wonder in her eyes. The sight reconnected us. We had stopped feeling what each other was feeling, until we both looked out the window.
I’m not one of those people who romanticize travel. I respect it. Travel is tough. No matter how far you are from home, it’s still real life. And in real life, you have ups and downs. A lot of times, what makes or breaks a trip is patience.