By Adriano Sganzini
I live for stories and travel.
I don’t like to stay in a place for too long, so this Christmas I decided to travel. To the great disappointment of my family, they saw me for a total of four days.
Instead of taking the plane as most of my friends did, I decided to take the train. I bought an Interrail Global Pass that allowed me to travel the whole of Europe, wherever I wanted, for ten days. The main trip was split into two parts. The first of which was London – Dover – Calais – Paris – Geneva – Lugano, and the second Lugano – Basel – Utrecht – Rotterdam – somewhere in Holland – London.
I could write you a full SCAB about how beautiful the cities were. Oh lala la tour Eiffel! But in reality the thing I enjoyed most on this trip was the act of travelling itself. I love to move, to see the landscape change, with the day flowing by as fast as the fields outside the window. I find most of my inspiration while travelling, and not during the visit to the city. I love listening to people talking over the phone, or watching mom desperately trying to get children to sit still. I love all of the sights, smells, and sensations from all over the world that pass in front of me like a movie.
The second trip took a total duration of 29 hours. I got the chance to speak with different characters along the way, and asked them to tell me their story.
From Lugano to Basel I talked to an artist who has decided to leave Switzerland next month and start travelling for seven months in a Volkswagen van through eastern Europe. He told me about how he’s planning this whole trip, trying to find sponsors. Chatting together we thought of new ideas for finding money to fund his trip.
From Basel to Utrecht (night train) I met one group of guys from China. All four were squished into my seat to watch a movie. After the movie I tried to start a chat and they told me it was their first time in Europe, and they can’t figure out how to get around. The trains are uncomfortable, the systems for reservation change for each country, and everything is overcomplicated. In fact, one hour later they had to move carriages because the seats were all booked and they never did manage to reserve a seat. After the group left, two Dutch women in their forties entered the carriage. I asked what the reason for their trip was and they told me they wanted to escape from their husbands for a weekend, and relax in Germany with a spa day and Champagne.
When I arrived in Utrecht communication became difficult, but on the second train between Rotterdam and the ferry port I met a guy who worked in the harbor. He was perplexed by my trip and kept asking “why didn’t you just take the plane? The train is so slow.” It wasn’t a great conversation but it was fun trying to explain why I love to travel this way.
On the ferry between the Netherlands and England, I started a conversation with a couple in their fifties. After chatting for a while I asked if they could watch my bag while I was in the bathroom. They told me about their holiday with family in Den Haag. It was funny to hear how they celebrate Christmas in Holland. The meal is totally different to the traditional Swiss equivalent.
These are only the stories from my trip back to London. Going home I met a train mechanic, a taxi driver, a student and a writer, but they’re stories I’ll tell another time.
I live for stories and travel. I can do nothing. This is me