How I Snuck on a Train to Milan

I don’t typically condone sneaking into anything. It’s sort of like stealing. But this was an exception. Or at least I rationalized it in my head to make it an exception.

The sinking feeling

I had a ticket from Florence to Milan. I swear. I packed my bags and got to the train station about an hour before my train ride. Note to self: Never arrive that early. Train stations don’t require nearly as much preparation as airports do. I calmly ate a prosciutto sandwich as a sat and waited for the train station to state which “terminal” my train would be arriving.

Rail Europe Ticket to Milan
My ticket information

Around 9:45 AM the train station finally displayed what “terminal” my train would be arriving at. The destination, time and train number were all the same. Perfect! I found my train. Wrong.

Out of boredom I intensely studied my ticket. In this, I realized that I had the wrong ticket. Today’s date was 7/21/2015 and my ticket was for 6/21/2015..a whole month prior. Crap. Crap. Crap. So I made a quick judgement call to get on the train anyway.

Deciding to board the train
To board or not to board?

Sneaking on the train

I waited until everybody boarded the train so I could sit in whatever empty seat I could find. There were quite a few empty seats, which was a relief because I noticed that someone was sitting in my “assigned seat” (which made sense, because it wasn’t actually my assigned seat anymore.)  Phew! I’m safe. I’m in the clear. I made it. Onwards to Milan! Wrong again.

Hiding in the bathroom

Bathroom on the train
Best hideout on the train

The train had one stop in Bologna. What if one of them was assigned to this seat I was in? I threw my large backpack in the overhead space and made a beeline for the train bathroom. I figured I could wait in there until the train started moving and then find another empty seat.

Thank goodness I chose to do this, because when I got out of the bathroom there was someone seated right where I had been before. I noticed that my “assigned seat” was now empty, so I scuttled past everyone and took a seat. Phew! I’m safe. I’m in the clear. Onwards to Milan! Wrong. Again! OMG.

Stealing an old woman’s seat

When I sat down, I put my sunglasses on, leaned my head against the window and pretended to be asleep. Minutes later I noticed an old lady standing beside me, looking back and forth from her ticket to the seat number. I was clearly in her seat. I started mentally panicking. What if she made a scene? Finally, defeated by confusion, she sat down at the empty seat diagonally across from me. Phew! I’m safe. Onwards to Milan! Right? Wrong. For the 4th time. Seriously?

Train seating
Seating on the train once I stole the old lady’s seat. (Note: this image wasn’t the actual train I was on, and that stick figure isn’t really a photo of me)

Borderline anxiety attack

After the old woman sat down, I thought for sure I was in the clear, so I fell asleep. About 15 minutes later I was woken up to a train attendant yelling “Biglietto! Biglietto!” I looked at him with confusion, so the man across from me said “He means ticket.” I started to sweat. I was conflicted. Should I try to explain my mistake? Or should I give him my ticket and hope he doesn’t notice? I decided I was going to play the “dumb little American girl” card if he questioned the ticket. I was fully prepared to break out into tears and hysteria. The whole performance. This is my moment.

I handed him the ticket.

He punched a few numbers into his machine and looked up at me twice. Then he handed me the ticket and moved on.

Wait, what?

Moral of the story

After this whole emotional roller coaster, nothing happened?? I suppose that was the best case scenario for my situation, but I was so confused. Did he not notice my ticket was invalid? Did he feel bad for me? Did he let me go because I was a little American girl and we were already almost to Milan? I guess I’ll never know. But what I did learn was: Always commit. I decided I was going to take that train to Milan, and I did.

But wait…does this mean I wasted $60 on that train ticket?

If you have any inner-conflict stories, share in the comments below!

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