I love trains. I grew up on them and I feel quite at home on them. There is something familiar about their swaying movement, the rhythm of the soft rumble of wheels on tracks, and the similar backyard-ness of the views from them, all of which make me feel at home.
Today, we are travelling from Budapest to Belgrade. We began at noon – the trip takes about 8 hours, stopping every few minutes at a village, a farm crossing, or for no apparent reason at all. We have had our passports and tickets reviewed four times by friendly staff on both sides of the border. We are in a car with compartments, the ones you see on old films with seats facing each other and a door to the corridor. Although our car has six such compartments with a potential 36 passengers, there are only five of us in three compartments, two couples and a single man who has slept most of the trip so far. Although I wonder how long the trip would take if we didn’t have to stop frequently and could pick up some speed, I am quite relaxed and enjoying the day reading, doing puzzles and just staring out the big window at the bright red poppies along the edges.
This is our second train trip of eight over a five-week period. We have a Eurail pass that will take us in a loop from Vienna where we began to Hungary which we just left, on through Serbia to Montenegro and Croatia. There we will rent a car and slowly drive up the Dalmatian coast taking in the villages, islands and beaches to Zagreb where we will leave the car and finish the trip by train through Slovenia back to Vienna.
I am happy to be on the move again, especially by train, exploring new territories, meeting new people, experiencing new languages, and taking in the culture and history of these places I had no idea I would ever visit. And I am happy to be travelling in a new relationship, exploring this new territory as well, developing our own culture and history as we go, making a home for ourselves wherever we are.