That Time of Year Again

So it’s that time of year again – VACATION! I’ve just completed the first part of the journey and now am writing from the airport in Hamburg, Germany. So far it has been an un-eventful trip, nice easy train ride from Brørup, Denmark here. As I’m real cheap, I’ll sit up all night in the airport until my check in time at 0400 Friday morning with my plane leaving at 0600. This gets me into Lisbon, Portugal around 0830 and I will be where I need to be around 1230 or so, much better than some of my previous trips.

One year I arrived in Porto, Portugal around 2200, catching the train to Coimbra around midnight. Once on the train I was tired and the comfort of the train seat soon sucked me in and I was fast asleep. TAP, TAP, I felt on my shoulder and woke up finding the smiling face of the conductor looking at me. Even though I didn’t understand the language I knew he needed to see my ticket. Pulling it out, handing it over I was met with an east west shaking of the head, then in broken English he explained we’d passed the stop. I also understood I needed to get off at the next stop, so I prepared my gear and made my way to the door. As the train stopped and I got off I was met with warm night air of SOME WHERE in Portugal. I had no idea where I was. Stepping off the platform I looked around and there were no city light around, just those of the small railroad station. As I entered I looked up at the clock, it was 0130. I went over to the travel schedule posted and looked for the next train to Coimbra – 0600; just a little time to kill. So I prepared myself by reaching for my book. One thing I’ve learned I never travel without a good book to read.

The night passed slowly. It was a very loud clock – I heard every time the minute hand moved, it was almost a loud clunk sound.   I never knew time could pass so slowly. Finally around 0520 another man came in looked at the time schedule and left. Soon he returned and spoke to me I replied I spoke only English, I knew enough to not even mention Danish! In his broken English he asked if I wanted a cup of coffee. Yes, but I needed to catch the 0600 train. He made it known he need to catch it as well. I grabbed my bag and headed off in the dark behind him. Soon the light of a small coffee shop appeared and he ordered me a cup. Oh man was it good! I drank it down and he pointed at the clock so we headed back. I explained to him what happened. He told me he worked for the railroad and would make it right with the next train conductor. He’s also served in the military so we had lots in common.   Once the train came we got on board. I followed him to a seat and we sat down. He motioned for my ticket. Soon the conductor came around and he explained to him I’d slept through my stop and was headed back. The conductor smiled at me and wrote something on my ticket and handed it back. Soon the man reached in his pocket, pulling out a small pipe, he looked at me, “What do you think of my hash pipe?” Shocked me! “Nice” I replied. He then explained he was headed to Coimbra to buy his hash and asked if I wanted some of which I thanked him, but no. Then to myself I thought – Here I am being saved by a hash using dude! All I could do is smile.

This was just one of my traveling experiences and I’ve had a few. I’ve also learned my vacation begins when I leave the house and no need to get in a hurry. After all, IT’S VACATION