I Missed a Train (Actually, Two)

I’m writing this from the train station in Girona, Spain. It’s stifling in this bland little cafeteria and I’m wearing my travel uniform of jeans and sneakers so I feel extra sweat and gross. This here is the NOT so glamorous part of travel- the part that’s less wonder and discovery and more impatient frustration.

You see, I missed a train.

Two actually and they were both completely my own fault. Poor miserable sleeping Mike across the table from me is merely a victim of my disorganization. And I’d had such good plans!

Originally we’d meant to set out to Avignon, France via a border town called Cerbere on the 8:57 AM train. We’d get an early start and arrive in Avignon with enough daylight left to walk around town. We went to bed early and everything. I set the alarm myself.

Which means of course, it never went off. Or rather, it did, but as the phone was set on mute it didn’t do a very good job of waking me up. I think waking up at 8:30 and realizing your alarm needed to go off 90 minutes prior is up there with the worst feelings in the world.

We weren’t too upset at this point- we’re really not early risers you see. The way I’d timed it we could take the 10:50 train to Cerbere and still make our Avignon connection easily. time to relax, shower, eat breakfast, pack. And we’d even got an extra hour of sleep. Maybe things would be better this way.

At least that’s what I said (I’m ever the optimist). Mike just kind of sleepily shook his head at me.

We got to the train station on time (well, belatedly on time), activated our Eurail passes, found our right platform and waited. Let me repeat: we were on time for the train.


See! That is the train. That we still missed.

Apparently the train stations in Spain, or at least in Girona have this weird quirk. Because the train was 5 minutes late, the board on platform 2 looked something like this:

Local 10:55 (blinking)

Cerbere 10:50 (not blinking)

Now if you saw this, would you think that the train that had just arrived was the train to Cebere? Maybe you would because you are not dumb like me. “that’s not our train!” I insisted to Mike and sat back down, watching the platform clear off and feeling superior.

Yeah, it was our train.

Happy because we haven’t yet realized we missed the train…

Missing one train is a mistake, missing two is just carelessness. At this point I wanted to cry. When I learned the next train wasn’t for another 90 minutes I almost did. Instead though I’m drinking a Coca-Cola Light, wishing this stupid train station had wifi and waiting. Waiting waiting waiting.

The good thing about trains though is that there’s always another one. Unlike flying where missing a flight is a huge headache of time and maybe money, here we just wait for the next train headed our way. It sucks, but it only kind of sucks.

Hopefully Mike will forgive me before the 12:45 train rolls around. I mean, there’s no way we can miss that one… right?

We made it!

Thank you to Eurail.com for sponsoring our train travel… which I will hopefully get better at!

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22 thoughts on “I Missed a Train (Actually, Two)”

  1. Totally know how this feels! I missed my flight from Prague to Amsterdam twice. Lesson learned: don’t drink absinthe if you’re upset you missed your flight and it’s at 7 am the next morning.

  2. Once I missed flight on London airport. We were going to Dublin and we missed flight as we stuck in traffic on way to airport. We didn’t received any compensation though. I have to buy 2 new tickets from my credit card. So embarrassing.

  3. Ahhhh that’s the worst! Seriously, it can be so stressful!

    I tend to miss buses…all the time. Last summer it happened a lot because I have bad time management, but think once it was karma for being a liar. I’m from NJ, and after getting Jersey Shore jokes all summer in Europe I started lying and saying I was from New York…but this excited my Zaragoza cab driver so much that he called his 6 year old daughter (who spoke no English) and asked me to speak to her. He couldn’t believe he was talking to a “real” New Yorker!

    He held me up for so long that I missed my bus and had to wait at the station for hours, watching Shakira videos in the cafe. No fun.

  4. I missed a train two days ago in Geneva… the most frustrating thing is having the sliding doors slam right in your face, so close your nose feels the draft. Literally. So I do feel for you… I wouldn’t have known what the blinking lights meant either, and I’m a veteran European train traveler. I would have been on that platform right with you!

  5. Mishap happens. My husband once also missed a train in India with me in it. It was a night train and he left everything (passport, phone, cash) in the train to grab me some not spicy food. When he came back the train was gone. It was quite an adventure, but everything turned fine in the end.

  6. I’m always more worried about boarding the wrong train and ending up somewhere else altogether! Especially when you can’t read the language or you’re not familiar with the train system… No matter how much I study the train map I remain paranoid.

    Asking other people (more than 1 if you’re really, really paranoid) definitely helps and is much easier than trying to struggle with a foreign map! =)

  7. I once waited three hours for an Indian train that was running late. Then just as it was due to arrive we had a massive power blackout, and when it came back in we found out that the train had left from another platform and there’d been no announcement as the power was off. Ended up having to wait another three hours then spend the whole overnight journey sitting in a corridor next to a bin while our lovely sleeper seats were on the train we missed. I was super obsessive about checking details after that!

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