Archive for the 'By Train' Category

That Was Then, This is Now

After  hard goodbye with Katie I was on the train to DC for the wedding that started this whole trip and a squeal filled reunion with the girls from Florence.

It was Kimmie and I at one end of the hall, Kelly, Kristin (who came together from DC), and Hannah at the other end.  That semester seems so far away now but I find myself thinking of it all the time.  We really became close, we spent nearly all our time together developing inside jokes with the staff, traveling, and occasionally admitting to missing home.  In the last days of our time together we talked about reuniting in Florence someday, how great that would be.

That thought seems pretty naive now but I’m proud to say we’ve done better than most.  Hannah and I have visited one another a few times (me to GA then her to MA), Kristin and I wrote letters, and even though this visit was hectic it felt wonderful to have almost all of us together again.

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Kelly, Kristin, Hannah Frances Baby Baker (as we like to call her), and me.

(Kim-we missed you!)

It was a beautiful wedding and a wonderful trip to DC.  We all marveled at Kristin’s hard work (yea, she crochetted that dress herself!), I took silly sweet photos of Hannah and her boyfriend Brian, I got to meet up for a lot of wonderful conversation with my dear friend Lcy Daumen from home (such good conversation that I completely forgot to take any photos), and Hannah and Brian showed me around including a wonderful visit to the Art o Matic.

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Happy Bride and Groom!

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Thanks to Kristin and Ed for a lovely ceremony, I was so happy to be there.  And big thanks to Hannah and Brian for showing me such a great time!  Come to NY!

*apparently I’ve reached my photo quota, more to come as soon as I can!

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290 x 290 x 500

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Four trucks at that size and one with an extra meter in length; all of them to be packed full with the contents of the installation we’d been working on for months.

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Moving days are always stressful and we knew some things would go wrong.  We had to be efficient with the space and make sure we weren’t forgetting anything.

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For all the elements and all the things that could’ve gone wrong, I think it went exceptionally well.  By the end we were all battered and bruised but it was satisfying to get the point we had talked about for so long.
Around 5am I caught the train home and took a shower in the light of dawn before grabbing my pack and heading back to HBF where I caught the train to Frankfurt.

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And here I want to mention a thank you to my Step Dad Andy.

Whenever we flew anywhere we had to get to the airport no later than two hours before our departure time and usually more like three.  I used to do a bit of eye rolling at this but nowadays I find myself doing the same.

In any case when I took the train from Berlin to Frankfurt Airport it’s a good thing I had that rule of leaving lots of extra time ingrained in my head.  As it turns out there are two Frankfurt airports and I needed to be at the very tiny one (Frankfurt Hahn) about a 45 minute bus ride from the one I anticipated leaving from (Frankfurt International Airport).  Thanks Andy!

From the Future

I come to you from my hostel in Amsterdam, 5 flights and almost a month since my last post and with more things to write about than I can process right now.

So, I urge you to be patient and come back soon (week or three).  Thanks for reading!

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You’ll Make Yourself Sick

At 11:36 I looked at the time on my cell phone.  I had already ignored the two alarms I’d set and by the looks of it my Sister had as well.  She was rolled up in the comforter next to me, her mouth a little open and sending out a shushing noise every other second or so. “Wha time issit?” Always surprises me the ease with which she can go from sleeping to functioning.

The previous night I surprised myself by getting into an argument in Italian, this has been a goal of mine since I decided to learn the language, this argument was about racism in Italy.  The two Sardinians were sitting across from me in the living room of a friend; M was just sitting back watching me with a slight grin but the other was laying out sentences that begged to be interrupted.  We switched between Italian and English and took sips of cheap wine between overly dramatic scoffs.

I jump in the shower not giving the day ahead of me much thought; I’d given it enough these past few weeks.  I felt like I was betraying someone by moving to Berlin.  Myself I suppose, I’d been answering questions for years with far off glances and sighs ending in smiles, and the answer had always been Italy. I had learned Italian, after all, I was finally being invited in to stay, and now I was going.

My head and my stomach ached; all I wanted to do was curl into a ball on the floor in the spot of sun from the window.  My Sister convinced me to eat, which was helpful later on the train when I was vomiting every half hour.  I think seeing it hit the tracks as we sped along made it worse.  I’m beginning to loath Trenitalia bathrooms.  I still love riding the trains though, listening in on conversations and simultaneously wondering about destinations with strangers.  I’m sure I gave the people sitting next to me plenty to wonder about.

When I arrived at the Milan Train Station I paced back and forth three times before making up my mind.  I would buy some bread, make myself eat it, and it will make me feel better.  I could only get two bites down.  My forehead had a layer of cold sweat and I’d never seen my hands shake like this.  The fresh air felt nice and I started to think the worst was over; I walked with a bit more confidence towards the bus.

Oh the bus.  It was like the fung wah or lucky star, except this bus had no bathroom and instead of Chinese food it smelled like bad cologne and olive oil.  I swallowed hard as I paid for my ticket.  If I wasn’t better and I was going to get sick again…NO I was all better, I would just sleep the whole ride and be fine.

Nope, I wasn’t fine.

While sitting amongst some of the most attractive men I’d ever seen on public transportation I, Lucy Huffman, while wishing as hard as I could to not puke, puked all over myself.  It was about a half hour into the ride.   The worst part was I was looking up when it happened, using some of my worst logic ever I had thought with my head up the puke would stay down.  Wrong.  Thankfully because I couldn’t eat it was only water and two bites of bread but, it was still puke and it had gotten on my face, on my coat, and a little in my lap.  Everyone was trying really hard not to stare at me.  Especially the really attractive guy sitting in front of me who I think, I shudder as I say this, may have gotten some on his sweater.

There is a moment just after something that embarrassing happens where everyone swallows the initial reaction to react.  I teared up and felt my face get hot, then stared at the ground to not think for a second.  Someone placed something on my knee.  All the men around me had gotten out their tissues; some people were passing them forward from the back.  I didn’t dare look up but I felt myself instinctively mumble ‘grazie.’

It wasn’t that bad, things like that rarely are for more than a few minutes.  I changed into an extra shirt I had in my bag and using a big bottle of water with the tissues I cleaned myself up.  Later, the guy in front of me turned around and asked if I was ok, my head tilted and nodded trying to say, ‘ok as a girl who just puked on herself can be.’  He seemed to regret asking and slumped back in his seat, I felt like telling him I was sorry but that just seemed silly.

Once we got to the airport, two and a half hours before my flight, I went to the bathroom and spent the next half hour changing, cleaning myself up, and making a long list of reasons why it wasn’t that bad.  I drank another liter of water and found some food that didn’t gross me out as well as a plastic bag for the flight, just in case. I was still pretty shaky but I felt better.

As I arranged my coat and bag in the plane I noticed a familiar face four rows back.  It was the guy that was sitting in front of me on the bus, the first to give me his tissues and ask me if I was ok.  He looked at me for a second and I feel like we both tried really hard to not have the bus experience be the reason we knew each other, but it was.  I winced.  He smiled a huge grin, then I smiled and we took our seats as the only two people on the plane laughing about the absurdity of the same moment.

15 Hours and 4 Trains Later

I left Wurzburg early on the morning after the inauguration of President Obama.  Every newspaper had my President on the front page and even though I had been feeling a bit disconnected watching everything from Germany I also felt so proud of my country.  You see that guy; you see that, yea I voted for him, that’s my President!
Wurzburg to Munchen
The train was lovely, as all the German trains have been.  Automatic doors everywhere, signs in German, French, and English, and some of the nicest bathrooms I’ve ever seen on a train.  I settled in and read my book and a coffee, once we arrived in Munich I would switch to a train to Bologna and then another train for the short ride to Parma.
We stopped rather abruptly at a small town I don’t recall the name of; a woman got on and sat next to me.  Instead of starting again we stayed.  Twenty minutes passed.  They made a few announcements in German.  The nice woman next to me told me there was a problem with the “thing” and they were fixing it.  I’m pretty sure she meant the engine.  Forty minutes passed, another announcement, everyone grew still and no one made a sound.  I followed their lead and stared out my window wondering what the hell had just happened.
After a while the woman informed me a man had committed suicide by jumping in front of the train.  Oh.
We arrived at 11 instead of 9:30 and left the silent mourning for a stranger we all shared and tried not to think too much about it.  I had missed my connection so I went to get a new ticket and another coffee.
Munchen to Verona
They gave me new tickets and a voucher for 25 Euro off my next trip with them as an apology for the delay.  It felt weird to receive money because I was ‘inconvenienced’ by a man killing himself.
Verona to Milano
We were late arriving in Milan, I missed my connection but just took the next train heading there.  I had been feeling strange about going back to Italy while wanting to be in Berlin.  Would I get there and get sucked back into my love of everything Italian and not be able to leave? At that moment it didn’t seem so.  Compared to Germany the station was a mess, everyone seemed a bit more disheveled albeit in a very fashionable Italian way.  I knew I could just get on the next train to Milano without getting a new ticket, Italy didn’t care as much about that sort of thing.
The train was gross.  At one time this type of train was so exciting and new for me but now I just wondered what had ever appealed to me about it.  None of the three bathrooms I tried had toilet paper and instead of flushing there was just a giant hole where you could see the tracks whizzing by below.  And all the windows were smudged or had names carved into them.
Milano to Parma
I had been thinking and talking all about how great Italy was but once we were reunited it felt like an awkward car ride home from the airport where you start talking about the weather to someone who used to know everything about you.  Eavesdropping on conversations had lost it’s thrill and it was great to understand everyone again but something felt off.
Parma was warm compared to Germany.  I walked from the train station to my Sisters, with no need for directions.  Once I arrived it was hugs and stories, a plate of dinner ready for me, and a glass of wine before collapsing into bed with thoughts of what could come next flowing through my head.  Then I realized I hadn’t taken any photos today.

This won’t be the Last Time

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After an amazing three-day trip I had to leave Berlin.  Usually I hate such short trips, feels like you’re not being fair to the city or your experience by only seeing a fraction of the place.   However I felt like I covered a lot of ground and knew I would be back.

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Before getting on the train I walked around Museum Island and attempted to take some photos of myself in Jessica Victory style (she always has these fantastic mid air jump shots that make me happy).  Now imagine me 4feet in front of my camera, which is propped up on my bag on self-timer, at around 10 am, jumping and smiling repeatedly.  Needless to say I attracted a small crowd of onlookers across the street that were all smiling and giggling.  I smiled back; awkwardness is universal.

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“ALL ART HAS BEEN CONTEMPORARY”

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I had a nice fancy Cappuccino in a museum café and then some Curry Wurst (a Berlin dish of sausage with ketchup and curry) at the station and back on the train to Wurzburg.
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On the train I felt so strange, this ominous hum about me that seems to come and go frequently these days.  I suppose it’s a product of travel, the excitement and anticipation of the next place, but it seems stronger now.  It makes me want to photograph everything.

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It was really hard to photograph in a moving train but the scenery was gorgeous; I particularly loved these trees with what looked like tumbleweeds hanging amongst the branches.  It was lovely.

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Then I went to Berlin

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Although a bit sleepy from the train, I was really excited and so blown away by the Berlin Hbf station that I had to document the occasion.

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With map and camera in hand I headed to my hostel, the Back Packer in the Mitte (or center) area of town.

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After getting my bed (which was 20 Euro for a bed in a room of 4 beds), my locker, and a bit organized I was out on the town for a look around.

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For dinner I went to a great little Russian place called Gorki Park that I found in my guidebook, boasting great eats for cheap.  I got onion, mushroom, and spinach perogies with a yogurt scauce and a Russian beer which was pretty tasty.

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Then I was off for a drink at the Oscar Wilde Pub a self proclaimed hub of ex-pats and English speakers, which on a Sunday night was pretty empty, however I was able to chat a bit with the bartender and he said on Saturdays there’s a lot of Americans that now live in Berlin.

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After my first half of a day in Berlin I was feeling pretty confident and didn’t consult my map before heading back to the hostel so I ended up taking a long slightly round about way back.  It was actually quite a lovely stroll and I found these lit up trees.


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