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Train to Bratislava: a love story

Once I took a Regiojet train going from Poprad to Bratislava in Slovakia, beautiful Central European country.

Regiojet trains are basically a renovated versions of former old socialist trains that served well to the Slovak Socialist Republic. What is really characteristic of these trains is the cabin design. In one couch you would have approximately 10 separate cabins with 6 seating places in each. You are sitting face to face with the people you don’t know in the separate cabin. There are several stations throughout the route so the cabin has the ever-changing atmosphere. Some people leave, new people come. Every time it is the routine “dobrý deň” and “do videnia”. There is often nothing behind those greetings, both sides know that it is probably the first and the last time they see each other.

When I came to my cabin there were people already. An old woman and an old man. There were sitting next to each other with the old lady sitting next to the window and the old man reading a newspaper. My place was right in front of them. I sat down and we left from Poprad.

The couple (I immediately thought they were a couple) greeted me with traditional “dobrý deň” and that was it, the old lady continued her glancing through the window and the old man proceeded with the paper.

I sat in comfortably preparing for a pleasant ride. There is always some kind of travel romance on a train journey. It is calm, gives you a time to reflect, to observe the surroundings, to think a bit.

Looking at my co-passengers I instantly started to imagine how they could have lived their life and their relationship.

There is a chance that they met by accident on the Hlavná street in Košice right next to the grandiose St. Elisabeth Cathedral. Maybe it rained heavily, and the man offered his umbrella to save them both from showers. Probably they fell in love at the first glance. Maybe not. But after the first meeting, they couldn’t live without each other. And the woman gave the man a similar warm and passionate look she now gives the High Tatra Mountains behind the window. Maybe even more passionate as this was a morning train.

They must have met again and again exploring every single bit of Košice, drinking hot chocolate on the sunny terraces, going to the height of the bell tower to enjoy the views, walking hand in hand not to lose a single moment of their youth. I was sure they travelled a lot. The High Tatras should have been their favourite place to explore. Maybe they had their special place in the mountains, their refuge from daily life. What a perfect place to be together. Hand in hand they hiked through magical valleys, enjoyed the sunny days on vast meadows, had the time of the young lives.

Then life went on, they decided to marry each other, had kids, their kids had their little ones so a man and a woman became grandparents.

As the years passed by their love to each other only grew and they were still enjoying being together the same way as that rainy day in Košice when they first met.

An announcement broke my dreamy mood. We were approaching Žilina. Suddenly, to my surprise, an old man folded his newspaper and stood up taking his luggage. An old woman didn’t follow, she was busy looking through the window. As the old man was leaving the cabin he murmured routine “do videnia”. An old woman replied, their eyes briefly met but there was no spark, no sign of any everlasting love, no memories of stargazing in the Tatra Mountains. They have never met on the rainy street in Košice and probably will never see each other again.

Thank you for reading!

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