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03 July, 2014

Day 0: First class night train is an oxymoron

The idea of taking a First Class Night Train from Munich to Florence sounded romantic. The photographs of the First Class Cabin on the Deutsche Bahn website make it look rather nice. I think it seemed to appear like a little nook, with what appeared to be a double bed inside. That would have to be comfortable. And it would be peaceful, too. At least that's what we imagined.

But I can tell you this. The difference between First Class and Second Class, as far as I can guess, is that in First Class, you are awake all night lying down, whereas in Second Class, you're awake all night, sitting up. The cabin is so tiny you can barely move, and the beds are narrow even for a single, and stacked one above the other. So you aren't having any sort of romantic night. You're having a sleepless uncomfortable night, being jerked around, with weird squeaking noises all night long. For whatever reason, they have most of the bathrooms on the train closed/out-of-service, which means that whenever you need to pee, you will be going 2 or 3 cars down, which is jarring when you're half asleep (or a quarter asleep, as the case may be).
It is quite eery going to sleep, or trying anyway, in one city, to be awakened by the halting of the train in the wee hours of the morning in other cities that seem dead, with the stations looking desolate, except for who-knows-what-kind-of-folk loitering around outside.

We survived the night. I think I maybe slept 1-2 hours, and Allie probably slept less than that.

You'd think the best part is that breakfast is included. But it was not the best part. It was just about equal part to the other parts.

The best part of the night train is that it's slightly safer than having stayed awake on the streets all night, and then taken an airplane in the morning, for about the same price.

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