Saturday, September 22, 2007

It is the journey that counts not the destination

We wake up in Annecy. At breakfast John, who had been so vibrant the night before, walks in places down a plastic bag off food in front of me and says the only words of the day, "this is for you". I imagine that while he was not much inspired by the French countryside he is inspired by alcohol and was now SUPER hungover. But I love free food so I am not going to complain. We make it to the train station with no time to actually buy tickets to Milan so in desperation we board the train and hope that the French conductors will take pity on us. They do and are in fact very helpful. However they can only sell us tickets to border and we need to get tickets again at the first Italian station.
When the train pulls into the Italian station there is really not a lot of time to get tickets. We again board the train with out actually paying for it. Right before this I ask the conductor who's name seems to be PL592, if we can buy tickets on the train. He tells us to get them from the bar. No problem PL592.
As the train is chugging down the tracks there seems to be a problem. When I attempt to get the tickets I am told they are "finished". I am not totally sure what this means, but I have a general idea. This is the point of the trip that I perfected the "Help!" look. A very kind Italian man sitting at the bar told me that there were no tickets left for this train. I was not sure what to do with this information since, we were on the moving train. He then proceeded to tell me that he did not think that it was too much of problem because if it was then the police would have already kicked us off. Oh.
So it was PL592 to the rescue. He came over sold us some tickets, even though they were finished. He even pretended that we got on at a stop an hour down the line and gave us a discounted price.
The very kind Italian man who spoke English, along with 4 other languages, and who was enjoying a drink with his friend told us all of this. He and his friend had come down from the Mountains, where they are building chalets for tourists, to do some shopping in town. His friend who did not speak English was excited to show us some of this shopping and pulled out a huge, some what bloody, steak from his backpack and seemed very proud of his purchase. They decided to buy us some drinks and we take up them on their offer. In talking with them we learn the traditional recipe for Genepi. You take 40 flowers, make sure they are the large male ones, combine them with 40 sugar cubes, let it sit for 40 days and then you drink it! We were enjoying our time with them and were sad to see them go. We never even got their names.
They were soon replaced by a young Australian girl and her father. They were on family holiday from Melbourne, she was happy to be missing school. The teacher part of me took over and we all chatted about school. She was a very well spoken young girl and her father was fine company as well. One of the best things about traveling is talking to others. Where else could I have talked to these two very different groups of people in the span on 2 hours. The only thing we all have in common is that we managed to obtain tickets on a train that was "finished."

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