I am safe and sound in Germany, with some unexpected twists along the way. After an extra day in Paris, I booked a train ride to Cologne and sat in the train station for roughly six hours reading ‘One Day’, people watching and trying to keep warm.
I was nervous that I would miss my train, but made it safely on board. When we arrived in Brussels to switch trains, I went up to the platform and panicked when I saw the train was getting ready to leave. Unable to find a conductor, I jumped on and asked another passenger if this was the train to Cologne. ‘Yes,’ he said, but when he looked more closely at my ticket he realized I was supposed to be on a different train.
The doors had closed and the train started moving. I panicked, but the men said they would vouch for me when the man came through to check the tickets. And they did, but he still had to follow policy and charge me 59 euros for boarding his train. So much for buying a Eurail pass and saving money!
At least there were some open seats on the train, though I managed to find the one beside an elderly French man who was muttering to himself and speaking to me in a mixture of French, English and German about anything and everything bothering him. I was saved when a new passenger boarded the train and informed me I was in his seat, making him the man’s new victim.
So, now I will be double-checking that I have calculated military time correctly and that I thoroughly understand the ticket information. Thankfully I am now with family and enjoying the comforts of sleeping in a house and not a hostel.