I keep checking the signs to make sure we are still in Germany, because if we are then I am still closer to my beautiful tryst with the land and the sea, warm Indian summer, decadent taste of fruit from the tree still lingers. Although this bus ride is pretty uncomfortable, I know the end brings me closer to landlocked confusion.
No one on this bus speaks a drop of English. I went to the wrong place for the bathrooms at the last stop and was trying to find out if I had enough time to try again, but could not. It would be horrible to be left behind, but I had to go, so I just went. Luckily the bus was still there when I returned.
The members of the gothic band gave me some invitation to their party and the women sitting nearby gave me some sweet bread, even though I can never really tell if people are laughing at me or with me.
Getting back on to the bus, I ordered the small kava. It seems to be my bonding tool for any sort of camaraderie and communication. Ahh, the taste of instant. It is tangible evidence that Italy is long gone and my teaching, flat anxieties and long winter months are coming up. Eventually I know we will come to the border, but can’t it wait just a little bit longer!
The Czech countryside was a sudden dramatic change to fall from the verdant green of Germany. The colors of the trees multiplied as we whizzed by the small towns along the Vltava. People fishing like toy dolls from rowboats and canoes share the brown ripples reflecting the turning leaves with flocks of swans. Beautiful white feathers in stark contrast to the glowing afternoon autumn setting that I melt into on my 16th hour of the window seat in this coach.
The modest one story houses, each with a dock, flutter by as we put more kilometers behind us. The river has grass and trees on either side, and a rock emerges from the middle, with birds and ducks perched on it drinking the brackish grey water in the late afternoon sun. Greenest fields carved with brown patchwork patterns of earth. Reddish tracks of tires run through the less farmed natural overgrown strips along the river.
We pass the scenery before I can describe it. The train hurdles through the countryside and I feel what I have looked for so many years. I used to love being a passenger in a car when my parents took us on trips through the rolling green fields of Vermont. This is different only because am tall enough to see outside the window without a car seat.
Each time I look out the window, animals pop out of the tall grass and brush. Trees in thickets of dense green vegetation, sprouting trunks and sometimes different coloured leaves. The ponds dug beside sheep pastures are filled with swans, snowy white and beautiful long necks ending gracefully with sharp orange beaks. They hover and flutter as the train whizzes by, as if getting up to bow. My mental shift from paradise back to reality permeates as I chance to lock eyes with one of them.