samedi 27 février 2010
Last return trip from Strasbourg, I decided to try the night train, which left Saturday night 9 pm from Strasbourg, arrived at 6 am Marseille.
This train is only available during school vacations.
Alain was a little wary about my taking the train, but I signed up for a "Compartement Dame Seule"- for women only who are traveling alone.
I chose 1 st class, which has only four beds (bunks) instead of 6 in second class.
Thank goodness I took 1st class, because it was cramped enough.

When I got on the train in Strasbourg, there were two other women in my compartment, one getting off in Toulon, the other in Nice.
The conductor told us that there would be another person getting on in about an hour.

I wasn't really sure what to expect. Got one pillow, one sleeping bag like blanket, a bottle of water, ear plugs, a handiwipe, a kleenex, and what looked like a Train Sickness bag. I had to put my suitcase behind the ladder (no way was I going to be able to get it up into the luggage rack, and I wasn't convinced that even if I could, I would really want to sleep under it on a lurching train). Debated as to whether or not it was permissible to take off my shoes, and finally decided that yes, it was.

As far as amenities were concerned, each bunk had a very weak nightlight, and the compartment had a temperature control, a speaker volume control (which we quickly turned off) and an overhead light. Whoopee.

We chatted for a bit (where are you going, why were you in Strasbourg?)
One asked quite politely if I am French, which I guess is better than "where are you from weird foreigner?" They were rather surprised that I was taking a law course in French in Strasbourg. Yeah, me too ladies.

After about thirty minutes we turned off the lights and tried to sleep.
I managed to doze off, (not much else to do- no dining car or anything)
Around 11, the door opens and in walked a man!
I said, "excuse me sir, this compartment is for women only"
He checked his ticket, and yep, it was for our compartment.
Guess the SNCF decided to put him in the special one reserved for women only, rather than give up a whole 61€!
Good grief.
He was an older man, and the walls are so thin, that I wasn't particularly worried, but I felt weird being locked in with three strangers, one of which was man.

Managed to doze off again, and woke up at 5:30, for which I had set my alarm (I was terrified of sleeping through and waking up in Nice). Managed to gather my things together in the very faint LED light, lugged my suitcase out from behind the ladder without hurting anyone, went to the washroom used my handy dandy handiwipe, drank some water, took a look in the mirror and thought 'thank god we're already married- he can't leave me just because I look like this' and waited for the arrival in Marseille. I guess it stops for quite awhile, half an hour or so in Marseille, before moving east. Perhaps enough time for people to track down something to eat.

Alain met me at the train, hauled my luggage back home (he is so good! getting up at 5 am two Sundays in a row!), and we went back to sleep. I was surprised that I could go back to sleep, because usually once I am up, I am up, but managed to sleep for a few hours before heading over to his family's to celebrate the February birthdays (they have four birthdays in the month of February so they usually just celebrate them all at once).

Conclusion- would def. do it again, if only because it gets me back twelve hours earlier.

7 commentaires:

Jake the ColoIowaConnectifrancilite a dit…

I did that once... I have a blog about it somewhere I would try to find it. What a crazy cool experience though! YAY for France!

Mwa a dit…

I used to do that all the time - InterRailing and the like. Isn't it weird how we get more scared as we get older? I was much more likely to be harrassed then, and I was in mixed compartments. I think the first time I was about sixteen and alone with my younger sister.

Starman a dit…

How long from Strasbourg to Marseille?

frenchkiss a dit…

A's family had lots of birthdays in Feb, those May holidays must be "crazy"...

chcmichel a dit…

I was just messaging through facebook with a friend from many years back who lives just outside Strasbourg about how to hook up in the Vaucluse (we have a house in Sablet). She was lamenting that the TGV doesn't go south yet. It is too bad this train only runs during school holidays.

Anonyme a dit…

Hello. And Bye.

Ginger a dit…

I had that happen to me in China. My female friend and I took the overnight train from Chengdu to Xi'an and our 4 bunk compartment was shared by an elderly gentleman. He was very polite and even had long johns on under his pants so he could disrobe for sleeping without offending the ladies.

There was definitely a "Wait, what??" moment when he opened the compartment door and found us two Americanos in there, though!

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