Thursday, Oct 6
Thursday, Oct 13 - On to Salzburg, Austria
Caught the train for Innsbruck at 9:00 am. Didn’t sleep well last night, so I snoozed for the first two hours. Went to use the restroom, and when I stood up to flush, I did the usual problem-solving exercise in Italian bathrooms of pressing buttons, pushing levers and pulling on knobs to get it to flush. Finally I looked down into the bowl, saw gravel flying by at about 100 miles an hour and realized there was no flush mechanism, the toilet pipe just emptied out onto the train track! Gives a whole new perspective on what poor Polly Purebred faced when Snidely Whiplash tied her to the tracks. The villain!
Notes on train travel in Europe: Train stations are not wheelchair accessible. Lots of stairs and pushing, shoving people who expect you to know exactly what you’re doing. Trains don’t stop for long unless it’s the end or beginning of the line, so you have to move fast and know exactly what car you’re supposed to be on. It’s loud going between cars. They don’t mark the restroom on Italian trains, so you have to just keep trying doors until you find it. You have to take your trash with you when you disembark (“A clean train is a nice train”). Sometimes there’s room for luggage, and sometimes you have to stack it up around you as if you’re refugees. The guy who checks tickets looks very grim and wears a gun.
We entered the eastern Alps. Saw beautiful little churches in pretty little vales. The change from Italy to Austria was amazing, and the Austrian train was cleaner, too. Suddenly things looked tidy and orderly, and the train stations became easier to navigate. There were more shops available at the stations.
We bought some ham and Swiss cheese for lunch while changing trains in Innsbruck (we had 45 minutes), but the lady at the deli couldn’t speak English at all. So she and I figured it out with hand gestures and my rusty German. I was able to sort out a few of the signs in the station, too.
We arrived in Salzburg around 3:00 pm and took a taxi to our hotel, the Hotel Auersperg. Pat had a business meeting at 7:00 pm. The hotel bed had no sheets or blankets, just a down comforter with a cotton coverlet. Very comfortable. The old part of town was only a ten-minute walk away, and people spoke English very well and were happy to practice it on us.
Even the barns and wood piles are neat and tidy. Outside the hotel a guy was fastidiously sweeping leaves off the sidewalk. Had a dinner business meeting with a couple of guys from Lenzing, a fiber-making company in Austria. The representatives were British and very companionable. The food was so-so. I had Schweinebraten.