19 HOURS

 Oliver the vagabond sleeping in the train station while traveling to Barcelona

A TALE OF TWO TRAVELERS

Let it be noted that the most interesting tales are not the result of good times filled with food and cheer, but they are those that speak of hardships and great deeds. 

Let it also be noted that a traveler's life is not an easy one, despite the many images that crowd our visions today: of sun and sand and margaritas, and perfect outfits with matching hats. No, a traveler's life is just as influenced by the laws of entropy as the rest of life: a flux of order and chaos, beautiful memories, and those that we can learn from. The trick is to embrace the beauty within the chaos...

When we arrived in Genova, we beelined for the airport. Although our flight would not depart for another four hours, we had learnt the hard way: it does not hurt to be too early! We whiled away the time by chatting and checking out the food in the tiny shop tucked away in the corner... Hmmm. Bread again. At one point, an alarming message flashed onto the departures board: our flight was cancelled! We googled it. Yup. It looked very cancelled. I then approached the lady at the front desk, and asked why this was so, but she seemed perplexed and, after consulting her colleagues, reassured me that the flight would go ahead. Looking up, the message on the board had disappeared.
Then, an hour before the flight was due to depart, an announcement was heard, telling passengers that the flight to Barcelona was, indeed, cancelled, due to French air-strikes. Outrage! Italian outrage! People were up in arms, and I could not get anywhere near the front desk. There was talk of reimbursement, but it was clear from the empty departures board that no other option would be given today. We would just have to find our own way to Barcelona.
So, I grabbed Oliver by the arm, and hauled him out the door lickety-split, no-time-to-lose. The sun was setting fast, and I was not about to miss Barcelona to lounge around in the airport for the next few days. French strikes are notoriously long-winded affairs. Instead, we wound up at the train station, and after twenty minutes of pleading, I had bought us a phenomenally-roundabout-19-hour-train-journey to Barcelona. 
By this point, we were quite used to getting the travel hiccups, and neither Oliver or I felt in the least bit stressed by the whole ordeal. In fact, our brains had become so addled and reformed that the prospect of a 19 hour train journey seemed like a great idea; an unforeseen adventure, if you will. 
We ate dinner, watched the departures board, and giggled a little as the floor-cleaner proceeded to spread dirty-water over all the floors.
There was a bit of improvisational midnight dancing, while waiting for the train doors to open. The nearby snack stall was still open at this ungodly hour, and was blasting Italian tunes.
Then there was the sleeping - from 1am till 5am. This was done in a random train station. We shared our sleeping space with many other people - refugee families and vagabonds, and we did not look too out-of-place, with our grubby clothes. Some crackers and milk were shared around the station.
As Ollie took his turn to sleep, I watched the bags. Every so often I would glance at him, he always looks like a cherub when he is sleeping. Sometimes he drools - it's very cute, I promise. 
I drew in my notebook to pass the time: waves, giraffes, spiders and ducks.
We brushed our teeth in Marseilles. 
We breakfasted in Spain.
And then, as planned, 19 hours and five train connections later, we arrived in Barcelona, having traveled through Italy, France and Spain in just one day.
 Midnight sketches and thoughts while sleeping with other vagabonds in a train station
 Brushing our teeth in Marseilles train station