JenSop: The Singing Travel Pro!

Idealist. Dreamer. Singer. Explorer.

Trip to Croatia – Part One – Getting there….

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For my overnight train journey to Croatia (to visit Milos), I was going to have to take several trains.  I first grabbed the 8:40pm train out of the Westbahnhof in Vienna to Salzburg.  There was a later train, but I wanted to have a longer layover in Salzburg so I could relax and eat something before the longer trip from Salzburg to Ljubljana.  (At which point I would switch to a train to take me to Rijeka.)

This particular train was different than any of the others I’d been on so far.  It was a sleeper train, in that several of the cars were sleepers and several had those little sectioned off rooms like the trains in the movies.  I made myself to first class and was the only one there.  At first I wondered why people would want a sleeper car to just go to Salzburg… until I heard the announcement that the train would eventually be going on to Venice.

Before long, a frazzled looking woman (i.e. crazy lady) comes bounding in and sits at the chair right across the aisle from me.  (Really? There’s no one else in this entire car!)  She starts speaking German really fast at me, and I had to let her know that my German wasn’t that good and asked if she could speaker slower.  She then decided to not talk to me.  (Which was just fine with me!)  A few more people came on board, but once the ticket guy came around, they all got kicked out because none of them had first class tickets – including crazy lady.  I think there was one other guy in the car all the way at the other end.  I was again sitting at a single chair with a little table.  I put my back pack on the seat across from me.  With a car this empty, NO one was gonna sit themselves at my table!

I got out “Game of Thrones” and got some more reading in.  But after a few chapters, I was restless.  I played Boggle on my iPhone for awhile but was worried about wearing out my battery.  So I got out my iPod and pulled up my KT Tunstall playlist, and started to read again.  (Anybody notice that if you’re used to listening to a song on speakers, when you hear it on headphones, you notice all the harmonies and parts so much more clearly?  She sings some really cool harmonies on some of these songs – and half of them I didn’t notice this clearly before!  anyway….)  I then looked next to me…..on the wall…. there was an outlet!  Woohoo!  I pulled out my laptop, and plugged it in.  And then plugged my iPhone into that – I wasn’t going to drain ANY batteries on this leg of my trip!  So that’s where I am right now….. writing the start of this blog entry into a document on my computer – all ready for copying and pasting later!  It’s 10:15pm right now and I’m due in Salzburg at 23:49, which is ten minutes before midnight.  (I really hate military time.  I keep second guessing myself as to what time it really is.)

My next train – the one that goes to Ljubljana – leaves Salzburg at 1:34am and arrives at 6am.  Even though I know I’ll want to sleep a little, I probably won’t. I’m super freaked about making my next train.  I have only twenty minutes to transfer to my next train – the one that goes to Rijeka.  And I have NO idea where I need to go when I get to the Ljubljana train station.  I’m going to ask anybody and everybody who looks like an employee to help me – that’s what I’m going to do!  Haha!  Then I’m due in Rijeka at 9am, at which point Milos will meet me at the station.

I checked the weather forecast on weather.com and it looked like the high was going to be around 60 each day.  It looked like only a low chance of rain, so here’s hoping!  Looking forward to not needing a heavy coat at least!  And I’m still in such a good mood from my great audition today – but auditions do sap the energy out of you, even when they’re good, so I’m already feeling tired.

Well that’s it for now…. I’ll write more later!

It’s now 10:45pm and I have no freakin’ clue where we are – haha!  I know we already passed Linz…  Okay, we’re stopping at a place called Wels….  And now I officially have the train car to myself – for now.  If no one else gets on, I’ll be able to sing along to my iPod…..  ‘Cause you know how your voice is for the rest of the day after you’ve done some good singing (but not too much as to overdo it.)  It’s still in a warmed up place, but not tired.  It’s a great feeling, and I love singing along to pop songs when I’m in this vocal place.  (I’ve now moved on to Natasha Bedingfield…. yeah yeah, I like it.)

(11:25pm and I’m singing along quite happily to…. surprise surprise…. Regina Spektor!  haha!)

****

Okay, it’s now 1:38am and our train just left Salzburg.  Holy crap.  Well, let’s call this a “Learning Experience.”  The Salzburg train station is undergoing a LOT of construction, so maybe once it’s done, there will be a place to sit and relax, but as of right now there is NOT.  I should have peed in the bathroom on the train, but thought I’d be okay waiting for the train station.  Um – no.  The bathroom at the train station was locked!  I found the Burger King still open, so I waited behind a line of middle aged drunk guys to buy a soda.  Then I asked to use the bathroom.  They told me they did not have an open bathroom.  I basically begged and pleaded.  Finally, they took me up to the employee bathroom – which was through a series of hallways and stairways.  But at least I got to go.  I still had an hour and a half before my train, and came to the very sad conclusion that there was NOT an indoor sitting area anywhere.  Nothing.  I found the platform where the train was to leave from, but the train there said it was going to Venice.  And although it would be very nice to see Venice sometime, it was not going to be now.  I found an American couple that was equally as confused as I was.  Eventually after about 15 minutes of compounded confusion, we finally found employees who let me know that my half of the train wasn’t there yet.   You see – in some situations, a train will split up partway on its journey – with some cars going to one destination and other cars going to another destination.  (So it’s extremely important that you get in the right car.)

The nice couple got on their train car that was going to Venice, while I stood around waiting for my train to Ljubljana.  It was cold – and I thought I’d be okay, but almost an hour and a half standing on and outdoor train platform in the cold will make even this northerner girl freakin’ freeze to death.  At 1:30, our train cars finally arrived and attached themselves to the rest of the train.  I found my assigned seat.  (I reserved one for this train just in case there would be a problem.)  I was in a car that has those train compartments like you see in the movies – with a long narrow hall along the side, and little rooms all along with six seats in each little room – three on each side.  It would have been perfect if I could have my own little room, right?  No luck there.  But I didn’t want to just wander and look for an empty room – I had paid the extra five euro to reserve my seat and that’s where I was staying.

I pulled my computer out right away to update this little journal.  And I’m kinda hoping that the computer gets warm and helps to warm my legs up.  I also set the alarm on my iPhone just in case I do doze off.  It’s in my coat pocket, so I should feel it when it chimes.  But I really don’t plan to sleep.  Not until that final train to Rijeka.  I’m just finally glad to be out of the cold.

It’s 2:30am now and clearly we’re in more mountainous terrain.  The few times I can actually see any light outside the train car, I see a good amount of snow.  I bet it’s a nice view in the daylight!  and why is it I’m so tired NOW at 2:30 in the morning, when usually I don’t get tired until 4:00?  Go figure!

*****

I had no trouble switching from that train to the Rijeka train and got to my destination right on time at 9:02am.  (And there were a lot of stops along the way where they check your tickets and passports.)

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Author: JenSop

One of my favorite quotes is, "If your dreams don't scare you, they're not big enough." I guess I've been a dreamer all my life - I set my sights high and then I try to reach the sky. Some might call me a naive idealist, but that's just the way I am. I believe in always taking the high road, I believe in true love, and I believe in treating people the way you want to be treated. If you put good out into the world, good will come back to you! Being the dreamer that I am, I pursued singing as my primary life's calling - I've got two degrees in classical voice under my belt, and I sing just about anything under the sun. I also love a good adventure. Over the past few years, I've done quite a bit of world traveling, and have even lived abroad for stretches at a time: mostly in Vienna (Austria) and Croatia. A few years ago, I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time, and I became a travel agent who specializes in Disney vacations. (Seriously, I KNOW Disney - I've been going regularly since I was a little girl - and I LOVE it!) And with all my experience traveling and living in Europe, I'm becoming quite the specialist in that travel category as well. (And this year, I've started working as a Tour Director in Central Europe!) As to the other juicy details of my life - I'm originally from Pennsylvania, I'm engaged to an awesome Croatian man named Miloš who is the BEST adventure partner a girl could ask for. (He's also an expert on knowing how to make me smile.) He's truly the love of my life! I've also had all kinds of other jobs along the way, besides singer and travel pro. (Which is pretty standard for those of us who went to school for music.) I've worked part time weekends as a Disney Princess look-alike for children's parties. I've been teaching for almost 20 years, and have lots of experience in retail and customer service. Oh, and I should also probably mention that I'm a huge Lord of the Rings/Star Trek nerd! :-) Let's all go along for an adventure, shall we?

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