Yesterday we took a train from Bern to Basel, Switzerland. At about 1:00am we caught a night train to Paris that would arrive at 6:45am. From Paris we had another train to catch at 8:15am to bring us to London. Apparently, until now our trip had been going entirely too smoothly.
We were crammed into this tiny little room on the train to Paris with 4 other people. Neither of us could get any sleep, but we had bought books and were happily spending most of the ride reading. At about 4:45am Natalie got up to go to the bathroom. As she walked by the luggage car she noticed that my backpack was not there. She had dozed off for a while, but was still really confused as to why she hadn't noticed me move my enormous bag into our tiny compartment. She comes back to ask about it and I inform her that I haven't moved for the entire trip.
This is the point where I begin to freak out, I run down and check the baggage, sure enough, no backpack. I then begin to search furiously through all the train cars I have access to in either direction, still no bag. I finally found someone who was working on the train and he helped me look, however he spoke very very little English. In the best way he knows how he tells me to go back to my compartment and wait until the train stops again.
After the next stop I see him search each of the cars and compartments again. Several minutes later he, and another man who also apparently works there (and also speaks no English) come to get me. They take me to another compartment where between the 4 of us (Natalie was there too) we attempt to communicate enough to fill out a theft report.
When we finally got to Paris the man escorted us to the police station so that they could make an official report. This man also speaks almost no English. I, of course, am very frustrated, upset, and exhausted it occurred to me then that had we found someone with my bag I would probably be sitting in the police station for a different reason. It takes a lot to make my anger turn physical, but the combination of all the stresses was enough to make me about snap.
Needless to say, I arrived in London 40lbs lighter with just about nothing to my name. I'd say the total value of my bag and everything in it totals about 1,200 dollars. The only thing I can do anything about is the 200 dollars in travelers cheques that were in it. I've already called and had that taken care of as soon as we got here. The good news is that our passports, which were usually in that bag, had recently been moved to the smaller bag that I had with me in the compartment.
Jok, a friend who picked us up at the train station in East Grinstead, took me out to buy clothes and other essentials to last me until my parents arrive on the 5th. I am thrilled to be back around English speaking people whom I know, and am fond of, and have been extremely wonderful. Anyway, its been a terrible, awful, no good, very bad day, and I still haven't had more than 45 minutes of sleep since we got up yesterday at 9:30am (its now almost 5pm.)
Jok and his wife, Dawn are feeding us dinner tonight and then I think we are off to the camp (no internet) for the rest of the week. (We haven't quite decided if we want to stay here (Scott's) tonight or just go on to camp.)
And despite all the craziness of the last 24 hours, I'd still say I'd take this trip (or another) again in a heart beat.