I Missed a Train (Actually, Two)

I’m writing this from the train station in Girona, Spain. It’s stifling in this bland little cafeteria and I’m wearing my travel uniform of jeans and sneakers so I feel extra sweat and gross. This here is the NOT so glamorous part of travel- the part that’s less wonder and discovery and more impatient frustration.

You see, I missed a train.

Two actually and they were both completely my own fault. Poor miserable sleeping Mike across the table from me is merely a victim of my disorganization. And I’d had such good plans!

Originally we’d meant to set out to Avignon, France via a border town called Cerbere on the 8:57 AM train. We’d get an early start and arrive in Avignon with enough daylight left to walk around town. We went to bed early and everything. I set the alarm myself.

Which means of course, it never went off. Or rather, it did, but as the phone was set on mute it didn’t do a very good job of waking me up. I think waking up at 8:30 and realizing your alarm needed to go off 90 minutes prior is up there with the worst feelings in the world.

We weren’t too upset at this point- we’re really not early risers you see. The way I’d timed it we could take the 10:50 train to Cerbere and still make our Avignon connection easily. time to relax, shower, eat breakfast, pack. And we’d even got an extra hour of sleep. Maybe things would be better this way.

At least that’s what I said (I’m ever the optimist). Mike just kind of sleepily shook his head at me.

We got to the train station on time (well, belatedly on time), activated our Eurail passes, found our right platform and waited. Let me repeat: we were on time for the train.


See! That is the train. That we still missed.

Apparently the train stations in Spain, or at least in Girona have this weird quirk. Because the train was 5 minutes late, the board on platform 2 looked something like this:

Local 10:55 (blinking)

Cerbere 10:50 (not blinking)

Now if you saw this, would you think that the train that had just arrived was the train to Cebere? Maybe you would because you are not dumb like me. “that’s not our train!” I insisted to Mike and sat back down, watching the platform clear off and feeling superior.

Yeah, it was our train.

Happy because we haven’t yet realized we missed the train…

Missing one train is a mistake, missing two is just carelessness. At this point I wanted to cry. When I learned the next train wasn’t for another 90 minutes I almost did. Instead though I’m drinking a Coca-Cola Light, wishing this stupid train station had wifi and waiting. Waiting waiting waiting.

The good thing about trains though is that there’s always another one. Unlike flying where missing a flight is a huge headache of time and maybe money, here we just wait for the next train headed our way. It sucks, but it only kind of sucks.

Hopefully Mike will forgive me before the 12:45 train rolls around. I mean, there’s no way we can miss that one… right?

We made it!

Thank you to for sponsoring our train travel… which I will hopefully get better at!

22 Responses to I Missed a Train (Actually, Two)

  1. Chrystal McKay October 9, 2012 at 10:42 AM #

    OHHHHH Missing Trains is awful – but it happens to all of us. I have yet to miss a train but I’m such an early arriver (90 minutes on purpose early) I usually have a lot of time to talk to people standing around me and figure out they are going on the same train. I follow them. Because every time I step onto a train a knot produces in my stomach while I’m thinking maybe this isn’t the right train. Because what’s worse? Missing your train or catching a train in the wrong direction?

  2. Amanda October 9, 2012 at 11:16 AM #

    Bummer! But, like you said, at least there’s always another train to catch.

    I’ve never full-out missed a train – but I have missed my stop before. The most embarrassing time was this summer, when I fell asleep and missed my stop and ended up at a tiny, tiny train station in rural Slovenia. Luckily, I only missed my destination by one stop, and was able to get someone to come and pick me up. Otherwise I would have had to wait 2 hours for a train going back in the opposite direction!

  3. Christina October 9, 2012 at 11:21 AM #

    Waking up and realizing your alarm didn’t go off IS the worst feeling. Ever! And I second the wifi in train stations. Even on the trains themselves – I they should upgrade them!

  4. Victoria October 9, 2012 at 5:22 PM #

    Ha! This must have been what you were writing when I saw you in the station. I must say I secretly pleased you missed the train as that way I got to say goodbye!

  5. Jade - October 9, 2012 at 10:37 PM #

    I hate missing my transport – I always overly blame myself as well – which is why i now compulsively show up early for these things. That didn’t help me much when I didn’t realize there was a time change last week though…..

  6. Annette | Bucket List Journey October 10, 2012 at 1:11 AM #

    That is a complete bummer! I am surprised this hasn’t happened to me since my phone is always on mute. Hopefully, I will learn from your mistake, thanks 🙂

  7. Michael October 10, 2012 at 2:39 AM #

    I haven’t missed two trains. You must really have waited for too long. The great thing here is you’ve learned a valuable lesson. The next time you miss one, try not to miss the next train. 🙂

  8. Augstin Prince October 10, 2012 at 3:38 AM #

    Oh train missing is a painful thing because i’m also faced the same problem in few days ago. i think we have learned a good self experience.I hope we didn’t make the same mistake once again, anyway i was happy because there is an another train is available to you.

  9. Jessica October 10, 2012 at 6:03 AM #

    Train travel is always so extreme for me: It can be the best part of traveling when I’m relaxing on the train, watching the scenery roll by,excited about wherever I’m going next. On the other hand, when the train is late (or I miss it!), or I’ve been traveling for too long and I’m feeling sweaty, greasy and other forms of grossness – then it’s the one of the most unglamorous parts of travel!

  10. Amy October 10, 2012 at 8:11 AM #

    I’m glad there was another train…. but if you had to be stuck anywhere, Girona’s not a bad place. 🙂

  11. Hogga October 10, 2012 at 11:35 AM #

    I find missing trains better than missing planes.. but they all suck. And I’ve done it more times than I like to admit…

  12. Lucy Dodsworth October 10, 2012 at 12:57 PM #

    I once waited three hours for an Indian train that was running late. Then just as it was due to arrive we had a massive power blackout, and when it came back in we found out that the train had left from another platform and there’d been no announcement as the power was off. Ended up having to wait another three hours then spend the whole overnight journey sitting in a corridor next to a bin while our lovely sleeper seats were on the train we missed. I was super obsessive about checking details after that!

  13. Jac October 11, 2012 at 1:35 AM #

    I’m always more worried about boarding the wrong train and ending up somewhere else altogether! Especially when you can’t read the language or you’re not familiar with the train system… No matter how much I study the train map I remain paranoid.

    Asking other people (more than 1 if you’re really, really paranoid) definitely helps and is much easier than trying to struggle with a foreign map! =)

  14. Scarlett October 11, 2012 at 6:25 AM #

    Urgh what a nightmare, you must have been fraught! Glad you made it in the end xx

  15. Helen October 11, 2012 at 6:29 AM #

    Mishap happens. My husband once also missed a train in India with me in it. It was a night train and he left everything (passport, phone, cash) in the train to grab me some not spicy food. When he came back the train was gone. It was quite an adventure, but everything turned fine in the end.

  16. Agness (@Agnesstramp) October 13, 2012 at 3:35 AM #

    Sounds like… ME! I’m the one who always shows up at the airport and train station as the last one and beg the staff to let me in 🙂 Did you have a nice train ride at all :-)?

  17. Leyla Giray October 14, 2012 at 2:31 AM #

    I missed a train two days ago in Geneva… the most frustrating thing is having the sliding doors slam right in your face, so close your nose feels the draft. Literally. So I do feel for you… I wouldn’t have known what the blinking lights meant either, and I’m a veteran European train traveler. I would have been on that platform right with you!

  18. Kristine October 14, 2012 at 11:19 PM #

    Ahhhh that’s the worst! Seriously, it can be so stressful!

    I tend to miss buses…all the time. Last summer it happened a lot because I have bad time management, but think once it was karma for being a liar. I’m from NJ, and after getting Jersey Shore jokes all summer in Europe I started lying and saying I was from New York…but this excited my Zaragoza cab driver so much that he called his 6 year old daughter (who spoke no English) and asked me to speak to her. He couldn’t believe he was talking to a “real” New Yorker!

    He held me up for so long that I missed my bus and had to wait at the station for hours, watching Shakira videos in the cafe. No fun.

  19. Traveler October 15, 2012 at 7:31 AM #

    Once I missed flight on London airport. We were going to Dublin and we missed flight as we stuck in traffic on way to airport. We didn’t received any compensation though. I have to buy 2 new tickets from my credit card. So embarrassing.

  20. Natalie T. October 18, 2012 at 12:57 AM #

    Totally know how this feels! I missed my flight from Prague to Amsterdam twice. Lesson learned: don’t drink absinthe if you’re upset you missed your flight and it’s at 7 am the next morning.

  21. Theodora October 19, 2012 at 3:23 PM #


    I ended up on one of those weird “trainotel” affairs, that I totally wasn’t supposed to be on, and my ticket wasn’t supposed to work on, trying to apologise for being a moron in Spanish.

    By which I think I mean, don’t feel too bad…

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