Taking the train.. Day trip with my doggies!

If you don´t own a car, but you do want to take a day trip, there´s only one solution. And yes I am talking about public transport. I don’t dislike taking the train, I do so every day for work, but what about my dogs? You would think international dogs who’ve actually been on an airplane wouldn’t mind the train..or would they?

So my dogs are a bit special, of course they’re special to me, but they’re also one of kind and that multiplied, because both are ¨special¨. No, they’re not weird, but just different. First we have Igor, my little baby, who really thinks he’s baby. He’s boy, but most confuse him for a girl. Yes, he pees like a girl, but that’s just more comfortable to him. Don’t judge, I’m sure some men prefer peeing sitting down too. And then we have Rubio, my street dog. He wandered the streets of Spain by himself, until I found him and couldn’t leave him there. So then he was added to my little family. I don’t know what happend to him, but he’s a bit crazy. He gets very nervous and excited and when he likes you, he will bite you. Not hard. He just bites you very fast, with these very tiny bites, like a crazy person would, but it’s also cute.

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Anyway, I decided to visit my friend with the dogs, so they could have a playdate with her puppy. We had to go by train for about two hours and switch trains twice. The first time I ever took them on the train, was a ride of only five minutes to the next station to visit my grandmother. During this little trip they both got really nervous. Igor wouldn’t stop shaking and Rubio wouldn’t stop crying, luckily crying softly. Don’t worry, it wasn’t an ugly cry. So, when I decided to go by train now, I wasn’t sure how they would take it. Would it become a ride in ¨hell¨? Or would they get over themselves and calm down? I really wasn’t sure, but since it was my only way of transportation, I figured we’d give it a go.

When we got to the first train, I tried to look for a seat not to close to anyone else. Surprisingly the dogs, although a bit nervous, sat down beside me quite calmly. We still had a few minutes before the train would leave and the doors opening and closing every time, did attempt them to make a run for it. Finally we left the station and Rubio figured out that there were windows. I know, shocker right? He used my legs to lean on and enjoyed the landscapes we were passing by. It was actually very cute. A while later, in the next train, Igor also figured out there were windows. My dogs are so smart, it makes me very proud. And he while sitting on my lap, also stared outside and enjoyed whatever he saw.

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You would also be surprised by how many people start talking to you, when you have a dog with you. Normally in the train everybody ignores well everybody. Now, when having the two dogs there, almost everybody ignores you, but some see it as a way to start a conversation. Mostly it goes like this: ‘Oh cute dogs, how old are they? They look different, what type of dogs are they? Oh there from Spain? Do they mind the train?’ And more questions and imaginable answers like these. Trust me, I don’t mind this, because I love my dogs and I as you can see from this blog, I don’t mind talking about them. It’s actually a good thing, because most people, when seeing dogs get a lot friendlier and happier I guess.

After this magical train ride Igor and Rubio had a lovely playdate with my friends puppy Boef. They ran around the forest and Igor even jumped into a small and very dirty pond, but they got quite tired from their day of fun. On the way back, the train ride was the easiest it could have been. Both dogs were passed out. I just needed to wake them up to switch trains and catching one train was going to be tricky. We had 5 minutes to get from one side of the station to the complete other side. This was on the biggest train station of the Netherlands. I thought the dogs would slow me down, but trust me, if you ever want to catch a train, you should take Rubio with you. He almost pulled me up the stairs when I told him to run and on the station, people had to jump to the side, to let us pass. He was just so fast, I couldn’t stop him. We caught the train easily and the rest of the ride, they slept quietly on the floor.

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So if you ever want to take the train with your dog or dogs, I would say go for it. Even if it seems scary or hard in the beginning, in the end the dogs will love it and you will too. Mine even learned to appreciate the view outside and made some new friends along the ride. They even helped me to catch the train on the time. It was a great day and I would do it all over again!

How to survive a road trip with your mom?!

I don´t know how many of you have done this. I mean taking a road trip with your mother and I’m not talking about those famous family holidays, but an actual road trip. Well I did.. and I must say, I did survive, but how?

First of all my mom is the best. She is one of the sweetest persons, who just occasionally will get a bit mad and then it still looks cute. So, what was our road trip about? We went to the Northern part of Italy. My mom had seen on television a program featuring an Italian spiritual center, those details I’ll explain in a different story. The point is we planned our trip around a visit to this magical place.

So, what was the first thing that happend and that you definitely should be careful of would you ever be in this situation! The part of renting the car. Why is this so tricky? Well, first of all an essential part of a road trip is to actually be on the road. Unless you are able to take your own car, you need to go to one of these spooky places of rental cars. It might seem like it was horrible now, don’t worry, it wasn’t, just the first part.

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The horrible part was the lady at the customer service desk who had to give us some paperwork and the keys. Sounds easy right? Luckily we did some research online and read the warnings about the “fake” insurance they will try to sell you. We were also warned by the couple in front of us. They also declined the insurance and had read the same warnings online. But still, now it was our turn. We just had to fill in the last paperwork and that was it. This lady though was one tough cookie. She knew what to do and how to make you absolutely scared, so you wouldn’t take this car without her “special” insurance. My hands got clammy, my heart started beating a bit too hard and I started to get this nervous feeling in my stomach. Stop lady, please stop! We don’t want your insurance, really, before I change my mind.

Eventually we walked out there with the keys and no extra insurance. Apparently our previous purchased insurance was also not valid according to this saleslady, not customer service desk lady. But well yeah, living the adventure, right? And guess what, my mom was the one staying calm during all of this. She even took the keys to drive in the “just a bit crazy” Italian traffic. My mom was the “renting the car” savior here.

We then visited some amazing places, such as Bergamo, Lago di Ivrea, the spiritual center (details will follow soon) and then we were off to Nervi. This place was described as a beautiful picturesque little town at the coast of Italy, to be precise at the Gulf of Genoa “Golfo di Genova”.  Yes, the beach, although rocky, was beautiful, the water was precious, but.. the hotel not so much. Well actually, from the outside and at a first quick glance on the inside it was very pretty. When you move closer, it get’s a bit less attractive. We knew upfront the bathroom would be in the hallway. What we didn’t know was that the bathroom was from the seventies and from the looks of it, that  was also the last time it was cleaned. Ok, maybe that’s a bit exaggerated. It probably was cleaned, some time ago. How do you survive the night? Or a shower? Well.. try not to touch too much and when entering the bathroom make sure you wear flip flops at all times. Yes, at all times, also in the actual shower!

Oh,  before I forget. The bed was as hard as the lovely rocky beaches and my mom wouldn’t be able to sleep given that she has back issues. We can also state that my mom is like the princess in that fairytale “The princess and the pea”. Never heard of it? Well this princess, my mom, is so precious, she can’t sleep because her ten thousands of mattresses are on top of one pea! What did we do to save this night? Very sneaky we took extra blankets from the closets in the hallway. We then took these blankets and extra towels and put them on top of the mattress. After that the mattress cover went on top and voila we were done. It almost seemed like recreating the fairytale. The result was still not very great and since my mom is indeed like that princess, it didn’t do much for her, but yeah what can you do. Luckily the breakfast was very tasty and after this little adventure we proceeded our road trip to the beautiful Milano. Here we stayed in a purple, yes purple, hotel, that completely made up for the crappy night we had just endured.IMG_1046

So how do you survive a road trip with your mom? Accept that she is a princess and treat her like one, but also know that when it comes to a fierce debate about insurances she will be all cool and calm and you need her for that. So thanks mom for the great trip!