Tuesday, May 26, 2009

First Stop 'Garmisch

Neuschwanstein castle is just an hour from Garmisch. This is the castle that Disney based Sleeping Beauty's castle on.

I arrived in Garmisch at about 11:00 a.m. I was so pleased with myself...that I managed to find the Deutch Bahn (DB) in the airport, buy my ticket, board the train, change trains in Passing, and actually get here. But to say that I got here on my own would be a total falsehood! You see there was a lovly young man on the platform to help me choose the correct train. (They were both the same color and number but going in totally different directions) Then there was a young woman whom I asked the time of --to make sure I had not missed the stop in Passing.

At each step of the journey a kind person has emerged to help -- at Passing I had only 5 minutes between the arrival of my train and the departure of the one to Garmisch. It of course left from a different platform (I arrived on Gleis 2 and had to get to Cleis 3) and there was construciton going on, but I managed to climb down the steep set of stairs at the station to find the stairs for platform 3 and began dragging my one heavy suitcase up the stairs. There are ingenious little conveyor belts alongside the stairs to help with this -- but it was out of commission. A man at least as old as I am grabbed my bag and carried it to the top of the stairs...then turned around and took two of his own to the bottom. He barely gave me a chance to call out Danke and he was gone -- a good samaritan indeed!

Finally on the last leg of the journey a beautiful young woman who had taught in an American College in North Carolina for several years and had returned to get her PhD and was taking a new jog in Munich.

Her mother sat accross from me and we had a great visit. She was an exchange student to the U.S. to (imagine this) Crossville, TN...so I wound up inviting her to visit us when she come back to the U.S. so that she can enjoy Nashville and its many attractions. When it was time for me to get off at Garmisch she even insisted on hefting my bag to the platform for me. During the last leg of the trip, I conscripted her help in getting the man who took the tickets to send information to the station where Kathy was to arrive --- to have her paged at the time of the trains arrival and let her know that I was safely waiting in the train station in Garmisch.
In our discussion - I understood that the train station was in Munich not at the airport -- so I assumed that I needed to get off at the trian station in Munich -- but clearly once the train left we did not pass through Munich at all. So I worried that Kathy would think I was lost (which she did) when she arrived from Paris in Munich and did not find me there. It is easy in America to think that there would only be one set of stations in the town which all trains would pass through ---since AMTRACK only goes through certain places.....but the train is the way of transport in Northern Europe -- You might not even need a care if you have a bike and live within biking(walking) distance of a terminal....
As the day grew longer and no one arrived --I grew more concerned. Yet, I knew that Kathy would have to come through this station, since Garmisch is such a small place....and ultimately around 8 p.m. that is exactly what happened...but not until Dean and Noelle had been alerted that I was missing in Germany....
It was funny to hear Noelle scold me for not letting her know where I was and that I was safe.....Dean, less critical but equally concerned --expressed similar frustration --- why had I not called? I guess the answer is ---I knew where I was!! But in today's world where we communicate via the internet with such ease --- it seems frightening when we are out of touch even for a day! Think of what it might have been like when your child departed on the Oregon trail -- and you might not know anything for months on end about you kin!!!

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