June 7, 2014*
My European adventure continued after the excitement of Barcelona — what a city!
I activated my EurRail Pass and, after changing plans probably 20 times, decided that the most direct route to Bludenz, Austria was going to be back through France. So my incredible and very helpful mother booked me a hostel in Lyon, France as I was transferring trains somewhere along the French countryside after leaving Barcelona, and Brooke and the girls behind.
I arrived in Lyon in the evening and had to book my next train through Switzerland and on to the little town of Bludenz, Austria, where our family friends live. After waiting in a very long line, I hopped in a taxi and headed to Slo-living Hostel. All I can say about that place is ‘WOW, do I wish I had more time to stay!’ And that’s not even including the rest of my time in Lyon. The hostel was just absolutely stunning. I was obsessed from the moment I walked in. Classy, clean, creative decor. The front desk/bar area had food, wine, and served breakfast in the morning. Unfortunately I was leaving early the next morning to catch my next train so I missed out on breakfast. But the staff were very friendly and I could have stayed here for days. It was a very new hostel (only opened a few weeks before I arrived!) My room was a spacious 3-bunk room (ladies only!) and only 1 other girl, who didn’t show up til much later that night, was sharing. There were lockers and a shared bathroom. The hostel appeared to be a remolded apartment complex, complete with courtyard and multiple floors.
After unpacking and freshening up after the long day of traveling, I headed out to explore the city a bit. The hostel had several recommendations for restaurants, but I just decided to explore and find something along my path. The sun had just set as I stepped out into the sleepy streets, and I walked several blocks to the riverwalk. There was live music, endless couples, school children running around, and just an overall fun vibe! I hope to go back one day and truly explore this city because I could tell I was missing out on a lot by just stopping in for the evening. On my way to the hostel, I found a kebab restaurant where I pushed my way through pointing out what I wanted to order and the extremely kind owners pushed out as much broken English with a big grin. The lack of language commonality is no match for a friendly smile. I enjoyed my kebab & french fry dinner and began to wander back to my hostel. I stopped to grab a couple snacks for the following day’s journey at the corner store half a block from my hostel and headed in to my hostel. Although I was somehow wired from maybe just too much relaxing in a train all day, and stayed up for hours.
So naturally the next morning, I woke up late, hustled to try and pack up as quickly as possible, check out and flag down a taxi and hustle to the train station only to find out it was departing as I was sprinting in through the doors to the station. So before I broke down entirely (though a few choice words may have been mumbled under my breath), I hopped into the long customer service line to find out how in the world I was now going to get to Bludunz. What a gem — my service agent! She was so sweet — could probably tell I was on the verge of tears — and helped me find an indirect route all the way from Lyon to Bludenz. After a short wait, I hopped on my train. Our route ended up being a few hours to a random Swiss town, where we debarked the train, got on a BUS headed to Geneva, then from Geneva, it was a short wait before I got on another train heading East. After texting Tabea, the daughter of my Austrian hosts, and hoping my phone was working, I finally arrived in Bludenz in the late afternoon!
*P.S. For those of you reading this now: Yes, this is over a year delayed. No I am not back in Europe! 🙂