Daydream in Blue


We’re somewhere south of Rimini. We’ve been on this train for hours already, and will be so for a good few more. I’ve dozed my way through much of the journey, but am now wide awake and restless. Rimini station was industrial and ugly, the area criss-crossed with giant metal pipes and concrete pillars. It wasn’t a great wake-up call, and I’m grumpy at being trapped on a train without either entertainment or a pretty view. I huff sulkily, belieing my thirty-odd years, and garnering myself an old-fashioned look from the middle-aged Italian next to me. She’s come prepared with a book, but it’s in Italian so I can’t do as my inner Londoner dictates and read it over her shoulder. Instead, I stare mournfully out of the window.

As we glide south, the industrial feel improves, but the land is still rocky, flat, and uninspiring. The sun is sitting low in the sky, and I squint in search of something interesting in the landscape. There’s nothing. I turn my gaze from the right-hand side of the train, where I’m sitting, to the left – and physically gasp. We are in the sea!  Of course we’re not, in reality, but we are running so close to the Adriatic coastline that from my viewpoint it seems like we are. I gaze, open-mouthed, at brilliant turquoise water running up to and blending with the horizon. Sometimes we inch a little further away from the edge, and I catch glimpses of yellow sand and tall, black bulrushes, but it’s the sea that is the star. The colour in the early-evening sun is almost impossible to believe. It practically glows. If I could, I would dive out of the window and into the water, ignoring the Italians’ shrieks of horror at daring to go in the sea before the prescribed summer months. Chuckling to myself at the chaos that would cause, I instead lean back in my seat and enjoy the view.

The guard walks along the carriage, checking tickets. Seeing him, I am thrown straight back to the 1940s: no grey slacks and cheap shirts here. Perish the thought! Instead, he wears a navy-blue serge suit with red piping and matching peaked cap, complete with highly polished shoes and a pocketwatch on a chain. His hair is silver, wavy, collar-length and beautifully coiffed, and he has the most impressive walrus moustache I’ve seen in a very long time. Also silver, it covers the entire area from his nose to his top lip and is fastidiously trimmed, with not a hair out of place. He gazes scornfully at my sleeping travelling companion’s two-day-old stubble, turns up his nose and moves on. I return to my contemplation of the sea, but in that minute of distraction the magic has gone. The water is no longer blue, but murky grey. Smiling, I close my eyes and dream in azure.

This post has been entered into the GrantourismoHomeAway travel writing competition

Image by Kate Bailward

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About Kate Bailward

Kate Bailward is a cat-loving, trifle-hating, maniac driver. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+
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24 Responses to Daydream in Blue

  1. Lucy says:

    You make me feel like I am actually there. Brilliant entry.

  2. CarrieLyn says:

    .-= CarrieLyn´s last blog ..Linguistically Speaking – Part Five =-.

  3. Katja says:

    Thanks, ladies. It really was amazingly beautiful.

  4. Ali says:

    You absolutely capture that dreamy moment when you think with retrospect that you might be the only person in the world to have witnessed something. Beautiful.

  5. Sophie says:

    Sounds like a great train journey. Good luck in the competition.

  6. Katja says:

    Thanks Sophie.

  7. Katja says:

    Alex was gutted when he woke up and I told him what he’d missed. Hehehe.

  8. It reminds me of a certain part of the Amtrac trip between Washington DC and New York. Really.
    .-= Judith in Umbria´s last blog ..Asparagus =-.

  9. Katja says:

    There are parts of the line between Glasgow and Edinburgh that also run right along the edge of the coast, but you never get that amazing turquoise water there – it’s usually more steel grey or brown …

  10. jessiev says:

    just love this – such descriptions! good luck!
    .-= jessiev´s last blog ..Compendium of Travel Resources on Ireland and Scotland =-.

  11. jiff says:

    ah, the italian coast. so gorgeous. you really brought it to life. hope you continue to enjoy your time in italy- divertiti!

  12. Katja says:

    Grazie, Jiff. I’m hoping to do some more exploring before I leave, but teaching full-time isn’t too conducive to travelling, unfortunately. Pesky students!

  13. Katja says:

    Thanks Jessie. :)

  14. Frankie says:

    What a lovely description! I like the sound of your throwback train guard. These old-style uniforms seem to pop up from time to time here and always make me smile too!
    .-= Frankie´s last blog ..Rocky terrain =-.

  15. Katja says:

    Italian uniforms generally are just ace. The Carabinieri in Florence were fabulous, in their big domed hats, and seemed so proud of what they were wearing. Sadly I didn’t get any pictures, but they looked amazing.

  16. Rebecca says:

    love your descriptions of all the colours on the journey – sounds like a great trip!

  17. lara dunston says:

    What a beautiful post! I was with you all the way!

    Thanks for entering the Grantourismo competition!

    Good luck!

  18. Katja says:

    Thanks Rebecca. This was a definite high point of the journey. I love the ideology of train travel, but 10 hours is a long time to be sitting in one!

  19. Katja says:

    Thanks Lara – and thank you for organising it all. Not only have I had fun writing, but I’ve found a whole load of new blogs to read through it, so it’s a win all round.

  20. Anca Popa says:

    Hi Katja,

    Just thought I should let you know that this month Grantourismo is running a new competition with the theme ‘Food and Travel’, so if you have a memorable food experience from your travels please feel free to share it with us. We’d love to hear from you again!

  21. Katja says:

    Thanks Anca. I’m certainly planning on entering as it gives me a grand excuse for eating far too much …

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