This morning's plan was to leave Munich early, travel to Zurich and meet a connecting train to Interlaken.
When our tickets were checked, soon after leaving Munich, the conductor asked us,
"Where are your tickets for Austria?"
I think I asked something idiotic, like "When will we be in Austria?"
It turned out that we were in Austria for about fourteen minutes, and we had to buy tickets for the journey. Twenty two Euros later, we were set.
The train halted and a public announcement advised us that it was an unscheduled stop, and that we were not to open the doors. A short while later, a three-man under-cover security team worked their way down our carriage, checking the papers of a particular age group. They seemed to be checking men in their sixties, grey-haired, travelling alone. One man answering the description was not to be let off when he could not find his papers. He spent a good fifteen minutes, going through his pockets, his briefcase, and his luggage, turning everything out, until he finally found the papers for which he was searching.
He showed them to the trio, and they moved on. They were dressed in casual kakhi clothing, and there was a woman with blond hair tied back in a pony tail. Two men wore khakis. One seemed to be a superior, because they all waited on his response for the acknowledgment that the papers were correct. Their IDs were in plastic flip folders, similar to bus passes-papers only, no badges as such. They did not question us, but had their IDs out for the next check as they passed down the train.
At Lindau, we passed the tip of a huge lake which a man told us was the German Lake Constance. We desperately needed a map and I left the train to try to get one at Lindau, but the official pointed out that four minutes was not enough time to go the length of the train. buy a map and get back on time. I had visions of Tashie abandoned on the train, hysterically tired, and dealing with a mother lost on a station somewhere near the border of a nation we had not planned to visit. To Tashie, it was all eight hours of her life she could not get back.
We left the station going the wrong way, but assumed that was right. Within fifteen minutes, we were in Austria, and the train filled. Gregenz was the name of the city. Somehow, the lake was on our other side, and there we were. Osterrich. A navy suited man with a gun and a radio on his hip worked his way down the carriage, checking tickets.
A kind American man shared his map with us and we could see the railway's path down to Interlaken. No wonder it was to take almost the whole day. The train was an Inter City. Much slower than the ICE and the TGV, but the people were friendly and there was a very sophisticated but user-friendly restaurant car. We saw a flock of sheep dotted on the green pasture, that were black faced and white bodied, but all of the lambs were pitch black. The pattern of black and white with black was enchanting.
The land began to rise, and soon we were passing through hill country. We left the lakeside, and headed South to Zurich. We had fifteen minutes to changeover to Interlaken.
Tired, shaking with fatigue. Shower, Rest.