23 December 2012

The Unexpectedly Difficult Journey

Every year, I travel to Slovakia for Christmas by train and every single year it's almost the same.  Waiting around the whole day, packing, tidying up, eating the leftovers, being really bored, doing the last dishes, making sure that the plants are watered and the pets are fed... Until it's so tidy and I am so tired, that I don't really want to go anywhere.

Then I drag the suitcase from the apartment, squishing through the half melted dirty snow on the uneven pavement, scratching the suitcase against the gravel that stayed on the ground from our early icy slippery winter days into the bus, then underground and then train.

And then I usually excessively enjoy the almost nine hours of irregularly interrupted sleep in a clean but overheated coupé, listening to the calming, almost meditative sound of the train that I love and occassional snores of my companion passenger or (worse) someone from next door.

As soon as I got into the train, however, this journey took a slightly unexpected turn. As soon as I got into the train, I was asked to show my ticket and a card.
-What card?
-Student ID. Your ticket says you have a student discount, I need to see your ID.


Had I not spent the day getting ready for this journey??! Had I not taken care of everything?! Apparently not. My purse and my ISIC stayed in my backpack, now resting on a red chair in that unusually tidy empty room.

-Is it a big problem if I don't have it?
-Yes, it is.
-Yes it is like I will have to pay the difference or yes it is like I won't be able to get on the train?
-You will have to pay.


-Do you take card?


-So I'll run to the cash machine and will be right back.
-Go straight to where the tickets are bought, why pay on the train when you can pay there? We leave at 21.40.

It was 21:20. So I ran to the desk. There was a queue, but it was moving. 21:28 - my turn.

-Oh, but I can't do this.
-But they told me in the train that you CAN.
-But it's an international ticket, how am I supposet to calculate the difference, well, let me seee....

*Tick-tock, lady, tick-tock!!!*

As she finally realized she really couldn't do it, I ran to the closest cash machine and took the money out, then ran back to the train. where I paid the difference with my Christmas money and then ate the cheap chocolate biscuit they give us for breakfast, because my nerves were totally wrecked.

Even better, in the train I learned that ISIC itself is not enough to have a student's ticked sold and I would need some special card to be able to apply that discount. The explanation "Well, you know, they will sell you anything you want" really made me want to punch someone.

So happy holidays, love, joy and peace. And calmness.
And no stress.
And don't forget your documents and cash or better - don't travel by trains... Stay at home.


  1. Sorry to hear your journey wasn't as smooth as you'd planned - but very glad you didn't actually punch anyone! That would have made things a whole lot worse....!! ;)

  2. Wow, that seemed like a mission! But the train ride home must have been so fun! I've never been on a train before--I need to try it! I love the pictures!


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