The train to Paris stayed stationary in Lille for several hours. I don't know if they ever found a doctor on board for train car #2 but they never mentioned it again. Shortly after asking if there was a doctor on board, they finally got the ok to open the doors.
After a few more hours hunger set in at full force. It was nearly 9pm by the time I got to eat.
The gentleman sitting next to me on the train and I had been talking for quite some time. He was an American like me and a genuine nice guy. He went to the front of the train and returned several minutes later with two white paper sacks and something tucked under his arm. As soon as he produced the "all day breakfast" in a sack, the bag of bread and two bottled of French white wine, he was my new best friend.
"I grew up watching old movies on TV as a kid. As crazy as this is going to sound, I've always wanted to eat a meal while on a train in Europe." I took a bite of the olive bread and chewed thoughtfully. I figured maybe I should have been more specific about that particular bucket list item. "But I must say," I chewed on the tough bread, "this olive sourdough goes quite well with the French Chardonnay."
My seating companion laughed heartily at me, and from the seat in front of us I heard an unmistakable snicker of a man trying desperately not to make it seem like he was listening in.
Several laughs and "another 20 minutes" announcements later, the meal was finished, my eyes were heavy and the conversation grew more faint. The gentleness in front of us stood up and greeted us with a smile.
"I don't know what you were saying," he confessed in an Edinborough accent, "but whatever you said to make him laugh, keep doing it. It's infectious!"
The three if us burst into laughter. Mere moments later the train. Egan to move at long last and the train car broke into applause and cheers.
While many people would be bent out of shape because of the massive delays and unlikely circumstances (one track flooded and one broke. The only open track had a train break down obit moments before we were to start out again) I have always believed in making the best of a bad situation. Laughter is key. If I can make those around me laugh, things go much smoother.
So there you have it.
I had a picnic on a train bound for Paris with laughing, charming people all around.
And just as I finished writing this one, an announcement came over the public address system. The train needs to stop again. A two hour train ride had become an adventure spanning two full days. In the end, it means that I have been traveling for THREE days!!
Here's to adventure!
(I'm holding up my plastic French Chardonnay wine bottle in a toast right now, but I will spare you the photo.)