I have to admit: I love train rides. They comfort me and cheer me up. For me, the magic of travelling by train begins at the train station. A lot of that I owe to my secret habit of people-watching: observing all these people going about their own businesses with their train tickets and luggage in their hands and their destination on their mind. I find it fascinating to think about how many people are at each train station (ever so small) in the world, waiting for that one vehicle to take them to another place – appearing to be only concerned with their destination.
But oh! All the potential possibilities offered at a train station! Just taking a look at the announcement boards in big waiting halls gets me excited and I imagine having the choice of picking any destination displayed there. Instead of going to Nijmegen, I could also stay on the train until I reach Amsterdam Centraal or even go as far and fancy as Paris.
Some people like to use train rides to work, read a good book, listen to music, write messages or chat to their neighbour – trying everything to not let that dreaded boredom creep in.
I take train rides as a perfect excuse for active boredom: I like to indulge in the simple pleasure of looking out of the window for the duration of the train ride, seeing what makes up this strange and beautiful country I live in. A train ride offers a cross-section of the country and gives you a good impression (though not sufficient) of how life is organised there, with all the wide lush green fields, the polder and the water features.
When I returned to Nijmegen Centraal after my Easter holidays, the sun came out after the rain and a guy was playing the piano provided there for anyone to play. Put me on a train and I’ll be happy for hours. I just need a window seat, please, and I would also not mind some sunshine.