The Vanishing Waterland
Out of breath and relieved, I plopped down in the closest seat to the window. My boyfriend Andy and I barely made it to our train because the lazy alarm failed to get us out of bed. We were seated in a six-person compartment on the train, accompanied by two older women in their sixties wearing mink coats. In the seat next to them was an older man with a thick German accent. The aged architecture of Vienna faded into the overcast sky as the train set out for Italy. The movement of the train rocked me to sleep while I was imagining what the city intertwined in canals and bridges had in store for us during our three-day visit.
I woke a couple hours later to Andy gently shaking me. The view of the Alps from the train window was unforgettable. It was like someone hand painted a watercolor of the beautiful snow-capped mountains on the window.
The train snaked along the side of a mountain, disappearing into tunnels and blacking out the view of the Alps. The flashes of scenery I did manage to take in would only be found in a film that won Best Picture at the Oscars. Acres of wine vineyards were scattered along the sloping mountainside on my left. On the other side of a cold, frozen river was the blue-gray appearance of the Alps. They were not as big as I pictured them to be, but their beauty masked any expectations one might place on such scenery.
While I was gazing out at the Alps, Andy had been sitting quietly listening to the two elderly women chat. Andy is a German major so unlike me he understood what the women were talking about. Andy turned to me with a mixed...