Luckily, when I was packing last night, I remembered that Hayley and I will be sharing a room in Innsbruck, and that therefore I will need a nightie. At the time, I was trying to fit everything I will need for twelve nights away from home into a rather small backpack, so I wasn’t best pleased to realise that I would have to find room for yet another garment. But in the end I managed to get everything I’m taking (except for pocket contents, journey food, and documents) into that very small backpack. I was pleased about this because it means I won’t have to worry about left luggage or having too much on the Vienna-Bratislava boat, which has a 20kg limit. And it’s such a small backpack that even Kit was impressed.
To achieve this miracle of packing, I have had to invent my own capsule wardrobe, and make some very difficult decisions about tops, cardigans, and knickers. It was amazing what a difference removing three pairs of knickers and a pair of socks made to the available capacity. Anyway, my capsule wardrobe contains the following:
- My smart black dress, two pairs of black tights, and red boyfriend cardigan. I really, really wanted to take my green waterfall cardy, because it’s smarter, warmer, and goes better with my tops. But it was too bulky.
- My smart black trousers
- A pair of sandals
- T-shirts: Harry Potter Deathly Hallows (black), plain orange, sage green long-sleeved
- Tops: white embroidered sleeveless, blue-green crinkly blouse, white and silver crinkly blouse, sheer black polka-dot top
- Three bras and six pairs of knickers, including the underwear I’ll be travelling in. I have of course also packed a tube of travel wash.
- Some pop socks and proper socks.
And I’ll be travelling in my black cargo trousers, white T-shirt, black cardy, and long black boots. Bit of a waste, hidden under trousers, but they’ll come into their own with the dress, and what with the boots and the trousers I shouldn’t have to give anybody any explanations of the scars all over my ankles.
I think this should cover everything I’m likely to find myself doing. I was greatly tempted to pack my aztec skirt (my current favourite outfit) but that would need blue tops, and one of my beige coat cardigans, and purple tights, and then I would have to take the overnight bag as well as the backpack. So I resisted.
I’ve also packed my Hitch-hiker’s towel, which I should have included in my list of items representing people – it’s a small towel, with an embroidered thumb-up design, and it was part of the package when I went to the world premiere of the Hitch-hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy film in 2005. This was a trip I won thanks to the H2G2 website, where I have made several friends, so they are also with me in spirit.
I had to have a serious prune of my travel toiletries, telling myself severely that I haven’t used talcum powder since I was expecting Rose (and the evidence of this is the fact that my travel talcum powder is the Johnson’s Baby Powder sample pot that came with the Bounty Baby pack for Penny). And I also thought it sensible to cut down my medicines – I don’t generally get through 12 paracetamol in a year, let alone less than a fortnight. But all of this was easier than I thought it would be, once I had decided that my second bag (and I wasn’t foolish enough to think I could get absolutely everything into the small rucksack) would be a cotton shoulder bag for food and documents, the things I will need while doing the actual travelling, rather than my usual overnight case.
No, the hardest part was definitely narrowing down my hair accessories. I like having scrunchies and flowers and jewels in my hair, and I like wearing it up and plaiting it and looping it, so although I can quite happily tour Europe without a single item of make-up, I need hair accessories. I swithered for some time over this, particularly after I remembered that my travelling hairstyle of choice is two plaits (knobbly styles are not travel-friendly), so I wouldn’t be able to carry any accessories by wearing them. Reluctantly I put back my patriotic red, white and blue roses, which are quite bulky, and packed my daisies, which are nice and flat.
When it came to fitting everything in, I did a lot of rolling up of clothes, and pushing things into gaps, and remembered that while some things will be able to travel undisturbed all the way to Slovakia, others (toothbrush) will need to make an appearance on the Paris-Munich leg or (nightie and clean T-shirt) in Innsbruck. Possibly, when I unroll my smart black dress I may find it rather less smart than it was when I packed it. I don’t suppose I’ll need it straight away but perhaps I ought to add ‘Do you have an ironing-board?’ to my list of useful Slovakian phrases.
All the time I was rolling and packing and stuffing, I keep checking that there was still enough room in the laptop pocket at the back for my netbook, just pushing my hands in and flexing them every so often. Once I had fitted everything in, I checked with the netbook itself. Oh yes. I am brilliant. There was even room for the plug and the adaptor.
I’m not sure if the etiquette of a 6-berth couchette cabin allows for late-night blogging on a netbook. I might have time to write up the first day at the Gare de l’Est. But Thursday is going to be a packed day …