Gimmelwald, Switzerland – Rome, Italy – Europe Day 25 – June 21


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I woke today and made cheese sandwiches with what remained of my food. I said goodbye to everyone I had met there and packed my bags to leave. If I stayed another day I would have liked to have explored the ice caves, but with the heavy snowmelt, it was probably for the best that I didn’t go into any ice caves. I left the hostel and made my way to Interlachen. A cable car ride, a bus ride, and a train ride later, I was at the train station to go to Spiez, Milano, and finally Rome. I had a layover in Spiez, a city that as far as I can tell had nothing but a train station. Unfortunately, the train station was under construction though so it didn’t even really have that. I restocked on meat, cheese, and bread at the Co-op, my lifeline in Switzerland Europe, and returned to the platform to charge my laptop and catch up on this blog.

The train for Milano arrived 20 minutes late and I boarded for the 3 hour trip to Milano. This was the loudest train I have been on so far, with a large Indian family next to me and an even louder group of giggly German girls behind me. With the 20-minute delay reaching Milano, I had about 5 minutes to catch my connecting train to Rome. I narrowly made it as the whistle sounded and the doors closed.

Stepping onto the train I did a double take thinking I was on the wrong train. This was by far the nicest train I had ever been on and it even said second class, the cheap seats. I asked the woman sitting across from me, who looked like a model if this was the right train. She looked at my ticket and confirmed I was in the right place. Lucky me. I settled in with my iPod and watched the world quickly disappear behind me as the train got up to speed. In three hours I would be in Rome, a city sitting on the fence separating ancient antiquity and modern Europe.

The ride was beautiful, we passed crystal clear water surrounded by little Italian houses and vineyards. As we neared Rome, the greenery became more scarce and the houses migrated closer and closer together. By the time we reached Rome there wasn’t a dot of green left. Only sunbaked houses and very tan people remained.

Stepping off the train in Rome’s main train station I was overwhelmed with people rushing amid the numerous name brand stores and fast food joints. Leaving the train station was like entering a whole other world. I was missing the train station already.

If Switzerland was a socialist utopia, Rome was Thunder Dome on meth. Cars raced through lights, intersections, and crosswalks. To leave the sanctuary of the sidewalk was to take your life into your own hands. People shoved past each other jockeying for sidewalk real estate and quarreled amongst themselves in the streets, slow roasting themselves in Rome’s intense heat.

As usual, I was completely unprepared for my next city and had to find a McDonald’s for their free wifi, to locate my hostel. Luckily the train station was surrounded by McDonald’s, there were literally 5 McDonald’s around the station. Unfortunately for me, none of them had working wifi. I hoped this wasn’t foreshadowing for my upcoming stay in Rome. I found an internet cafe and bought internet for a euro and located my hostel. It was one of Europe’s Famous Hostels, and lucky for me, it was a 5-minute walk away from the internet cafe.

I got back in my time machine and left the internet cafe to return to the present and walk to the hostel, checked in, dropped my bags off, and hit the bar. After a long day of travel, a beer was all I needed before I went back upstairs to recover from today and prepare for tomorrow.

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