Paris to Rome
A few years ago my daughter, Dianne, and I had a delightful train experience. We traveled from Paris to Rome on one of the older trains, not the sleek bullet type so popular in Europe.
We prepared for our overnight excursion by buying French foods. We purchased a loaf of bread, a chunk of cheese, some grapes and a bottle of wine. We were ready for a fun night. For a short time, we were waiting for the train’s arrival in the hot sun. We began to notice an unpleasant smell that became more offensive by the moment. We looked at each other quizzically but each assured the other, “Yes, we had remembered our personal deodorants.” At this point, we began to look around us at others wondering about their hygiene. Finally, we boarded the train and were escorted to our little private quarters for the night. To our horror, the awful odor was following us. It was when we unwrapped our food we realized it was our choice of cheese.
Other than the cheese incident, our train ride was perfect. A uniformed steward informed us in writing he was our personal “chauffeur” for the night. It turned out he had specific messages written on small cards because he could not speak English. It’s a good thing he had the cards because we didn’t understand French!
Looking out our window during the daylight hours we saw acres and acres of sunflowers and at intervals homes and barns with thatched roofs. The countryside was like an artist’s canvas and yet so alive.
Once it was night we slept well to the sound of the tracks and gentle rocking of the car. It was a magical trip.
“We have come five hundred miles by rail through the heart of France. What a bewitching land it is!” Mark Twain from The Innocents Abroad (1869)