Subject: Slow down (was CDG RER ticket machines)

Thanks for reminding me that standing in line for 30 minutes next to a machine that isn't user friendly while waiting to buy a ticket from a live agent may be the first chance to shift out of work mode and into a more relaxed vacation mode. So often we attack vacation planning and the first few days of travel just like work - looking for the fastest/cheapest/most efficient when often the best experiences come from just slowing down and going with the flow.

A few years ago my wife and I were coming from Pisa and changed trains in Empoli for Siena. We missed our connection by a couple of minutes and while waiting on the platform for the next train we met a couple from Phoenix who were also going to Siena and struck up a delightful conversation. Our conversation was so ingrossing in fact that we jumped on the next train to show up without even noticing that it was early for the Siena train and in fact was going to Florence! Quickly realizing our mistake, we got off at the next small station and had about an hour before the next train to Siena passed through. We spent our wasted time exploring the area around the station, eating gelato, and trading travel stories.

What could have been a hot, frustrating and wasted afternoon of missed connections turned out to be the start of a great friendship. We had dinner with our new friends a couple of times in Siena and met up 10 days later in Venice for a Venetian pub crawl, full of even more stories from our intervening travels. It's been more than 5 years and we still correspond with each other and hope to match up on a future trip.

Who knows who we might meet in the CDG RER ticket line!

Doug in Springfield MO