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Jude Lister


Young filmmaker Severine Beaudot prepared for her Istanbul Express experience by taking the Paris - Munich train. Here's some musings on the different people and languages she encountered along the way...

DSC_0560.jpg Last night, I took the night train from Paris to Munich in order to get my camera for Istanbul Express. I wanted to save money, so I slept in a “Sitzabteilung”, where you can only sit. I am pretty used to it, I have been doing that for 5 years, but the journey is always different. One time, a few days after Christmas, the train was full of people, ski material, luggage… I forgot my reservation, so I had to sit all the night on my bag in the bicycle area. I met there 2 Belgian guys going to Vienna, and one German going to Augsburg. We talked about love, revolution, politics, dreams… We bought all the biers that the barkeeper had in his trolley. In the middle of the night, I felt asleep.

A little bit later, I was woken up by a strong white light… The frontier police. “Mademoiselle, vos papiers s il vous plait”, “Ausweis, bitte”, „ID, please“. I was in front of four big policemen, trying to explain what I was doing here, alone in this empty area, sleeping between a snowboard and ski shoes, and surrounded by twelve empty beers… In the train today it was different. 2 old people came into my “Sitzabteilung” and woke me up in Metz. They tried to make not so much noise, but I was tired and angry. I didnt understand a word of their langage. But I could not believe that they would stay until Munich, because they were really old, and nobody can really sleep on these seats.. At 6.30, I woke up, they were still there. I tried to explain that our train was delayed. The old woman gave me a cup of coffee, with a bit of brandy. I asked them where they were going. They spoke a language that I could not understand. After many attempts, I understood that they had visited their daughter in Saarbrücken, and that they wanted to go back to Romania. They will have minimum one more day of travel, because of the delay of our train. But they could not explain it in any language. In Munich, I decided to go with them to the ticket office and find a solution. They couldn't speak a word of French, German or English. But I had an encounter with them. And in those trains, it happens often…

Originally published on the Istanbul Express official blog

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