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Travelin’ on Trains Through Europe

Like many American college students, I spent my junior year abroad living in Barcelona Spain.  Incredible!  During the holidays, we traveled through Europe visiting many countries by train.  With a Eurail pass you could get on and off as many times as you like.  To make time more efficient we would upgrade for a small fee to a pull down car that offered benches as beds for sleeping overnight.  If a trip between countries took longer than 10 hours, go over night and sleep on the train, wake up, you’re there.  Well, here’s where the food comes into this story, often time there would be four of us traveling and the train car slept six.  How to avoid the random stranger in your car for this nocturnal journey?  Stinky cheese!!  I’m serious.  We would stop in any small town and find the ripest, most pungent cheese we could buy.  Once we were on the train and settled in our car, we would open that up and let it scream with odor.  It worked like a charm every time.

We got our payback one night, in the middle of our sleeping, the train just stopped.  Soon the conductor made us all de board with all of our belongings.  Standing in the freezing cold, in the middle of December in who knows where, with a gazillion people all speaking different languages, can be very eye opening.   They were about to get even wider when we were escorted onto an alternative train but forced to stand only in the vestibule.  Overcrowded and mushed tightly, I smelled a smell.  We all smelled a smell. Looking around to find the source, it was soon discovered to be an older gentleman eating a liver and onion sandwich he had in his bag from much, much earlier in his journey.  Talk about ripe.  I was ready to evacuate the vestibule, but just then the rest of the train opened up and we found a new, fresh smelling place for the rest of the ride.

Who’s had a similar experience?   Share it, I bet it’s funny.

Katie O'Reilly
Katie O'Reilly
Truly a trendsetter, Culinary Artist Katie O’Reilly is a wholly unique talent in the overcrowded food industry. Her all-encompassing knowledge of all things food, combined with her artistic passion and educated and extensive palette, and added to the fact that she feeds over 40,000 guests each year, has elevated Katie’s culinary designs to the rarefied air of creativity and flavor profiles that only the top chefs enjoy.


  1. Krystal says:

    Very funny story, I avoid trains for that very reason lol

  2. Kendra says:

    That’s why that train car smelled so bad going between Germany and Italy! I just got back from a year abroad and traveled by train. So fun!

  3. Vieve says:

    Thanks for sharing your story. I took a mega bus in college with a friend to visit other friends the experience wasn’t bad. Until the Amish family next to me opened up their lunch which was a huge block of meat, the smell was so gross. I was completely vegetarian at that point in my life, so it was so gross. I just wished they would eat it as fast as possible, which they did and then the smell was gone. phew!!

  4. M says:

    Traveling and tasting different cuisines is by far the best way to grow as a person! Pate and baguettes taste better from Paris than from anywhere else.

  5. Adrian says:

    Great story! I just signed up for you blog and will look forward to the next one.

  6. Shan says:

    To funny of a story. I was traveling with a friend once from Paris to Monaco by train, with no air conditioning in the middle of August, talk about hot. Our car was full with 6 people, 4 of us wanted to open the tiny window that was in car to try and get some fresh air moving, the one person by the window however kept closing it, because the sound was to loud for her. To make things worse she opened up something to eat, still have no idea what it was, the smell was so bad I had to leave the car to avoid for the rest of the train ride. However once I got to Monaco I got enjoy amazing food with a beautiful scenery.

  7. Dorothy says:

    Cheeses are always fun. My dad thought the best cheeses were Limburger which cannot be out done in the smell department. I don’t think I ever tasted it. He enjoyed it.

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