Day 5: Vienna to Siena

April 15, 2013

Yesterday was a travel day. Vienna to Siena via changes at Innsbruck, Padova and Florence. The zigzag journey was a change too far for the Rail Europe website. When I’d called their booking line instead the lady had had to ask around the office to figure out a route. She seemed to quite enjoy the challenge.

On board, the ride through the German Alps was pretty special, like a slow motion roller coaster through a brochure advertising the beauty of life abroad. What are we doing in London?!

I had plans for productive use of the downtime on trains. I’d bought a couple of books, a small notebook for ideas and drawings. But so far I’ve mostly just zoned out and slept. Ask me to sit still for more than about 20 minutes at home and I get twitchy, but here, in transit, whole days have been frittered without a desire to do anything much in particular.

After 14 hours on trains and in train stations we were met by Cara’s mum and her husband Rupert in a well-used 4 X 4. Rupert drove twisty Italian roads and then rutted tracks with the confidence of a local. I passengered nervously, the car feeling precarious after hours of stately train solidity.

And then, after a few days of sofas and sandwiches, an oasis of home cooked food, our own beds and peacocks in the garden. I say a few days, but it had only been two nights out of four – Richard Kapp gave us his own bed in Vienna and slept on the sofa in our stead. Whatever, halfway through our short trip this feels like well-earned luxury.

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