The European Night Train from Sweden to Italy

A few years back I decided it would be a good idea to take a train from southern Sweden to Italy.  A couple of my friends were studying abroad, so I had a place to be and people to see.  I decided a train would be a good idea because I could see the country side and maybe save a little bit of money.  Of course, cross continental travel takes some time and so I opted for the night train.

This was long before I had learned that you get what you pay for, love, and so instead of paying a bit extra for a nice cushy compartment that might actually allow for some sleep, I paid for a normal seat.

Picture courtesy of sh1mmer. More pictures by sh1mmer here.

I am not a small person and so my long legs tend to not enjoy sitting in tight spaces for extended periods of time. Trying to sleep in a sitting position is tight spaces is even worse.  Yet there I was, in an overnight train heading towards Italy, with several other people all in various stages of discomfort.  But I was young and poor and thought the experience would count for something. For what I still don’t know.

After several hours of pretending to sleep, I decided maybe a bathroom run with toothbrush in hand would help.  So I carefully and quietly attempted to extract myself from the crowded row of seats.  Not an easy task on a moving train in the middle of the night.  After the several muttered excuse me’s, I was free. To the bathroom I went. I took my time getting there, it was nice being able to wander through the silence and I was in no hurry.

Finally though, my teeth brushed, I headed back to my seat. Only to end up very confused. It was filled.  By a man. A very asleep man. What happened next makes me a pushover. I’d like to think it makes me a thoughtful and caring individual, but really it just makes me a pushover.  Because I did nothing. I wandered the train the rest of the evening, even sitting on a bench with a book in hand for a while.

How a man was able to slide into my seat and fall asleep so quickly, I’ve never been able to figure out. But there he was, and there I was.  And I haven’t taken a night train since.

Andy loves taking the trains in Europe, while I’m sceptical to say the least.  What do you think? When you’re planning your European travels, does train travel figure into the equation?

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About Marcus Cederstrom

I was born in Sweden and moved to the US just before my 6th birthday. I grew up in the United States eventually graduating from the University of Oregon. After graduation and about 17 years in the US I made the decision to move back to Sweden. I have been living in Stockholm since the summer of 2007. Since graduation I have traveled throughout eastern Australia as well as in Sweden and Europe.