My train route to Venice involved a train change in Milan and in theory, there would have been enough time to get to the connecting train. But, as you know, life (and travel) does not always go as planned.
I started the first leg of that journey on September 9th, 2008. I had prepared to spend the 11h30 hours of the train ride reading and doodling. But somehow things came differently.
Barcelona is truly a city I fell in love with. I can't pinpoint it to one thing. Maybe it's the weather. Maybe it's the vibe. Maybe it's the architecture. Maybe it is the international scene. Maybe it's being so close to the seas and the beach. Maybe it is the laidback attitude of it's inhabitant.
After my breakdown the night before, I felt peaceful for the first time in months. This gave me the opportunity to wander around Granada while waiting for my actual day to visit the Alhambra. It was lovely exploring the streets, but it was especially memorable to climb up the hills and get an amazing view of the city.
Time and solitude are pure luxury for me nowadays, but back then this created a different kind of trouble. After a couple of hours in my hostel room, the full scope of traveling alone finally hit me.
When I arrived at the train station, I was surprised that I could not find any free city maps, something I was pretty much relying on to find my way around in that pre-digital age. I had the address of the youth hostel I wanted to stay at, but I did not know how to find it.
On August 31th, 2008, I boarded the first actual train ride of my Interrail journey. Switching trains in Bordeaux and Irún, it took over 12 hours to get from Paris to Madrid. I remember being slightly nervous at the first ticket control.
Even though there are measures you can take to travel safely, it seems wise to decide on a case by case basis whether you should venture out further than a staycation.
My dad ingrained in me that there are a couple of bare essentials: Passport, banking card and (nowadays) your smartphone. If need be, you can figure out anything else along the way.
Whenever you plan a trip, one question might pop up sooner or later: Who (if anyone) do I take with me?