Munich to Salzburg

Phil Claydon

Phil Claydon

Edge of the World travel correspondent. Embarks on assignments in a futile effort to preserve his sense of youth, acknowledging always that he ‘Won’t pass this way again’.
Phil Claydon

Phil Claydon

Edge of the World travel correspondent. Embarks on assignments in a futile effort to preserve his sense of youth, acknowledging always that he ‘Won’t pass this way again’.

Long long ago it was possible to travel almost anywhere in the world and there was a whole industry called tourism dedicated to it. As an enthusiastic tourist I was privileged to travel widely and I visited some great locations. Here are some notes I scribbled once about a train journey between Munich and Salzburg.

It’s a little after 09.15 on Saturday morning when we board a near-empty train to make the two hour journey south to Salzburg.

There’s still half an hour until departure time and it’s not long before the craving for caffeine has me beaten. I head-off back to the concourse to source a frothy milky fix.

By the time I return things have been transformed. The train is awash with weekend travellers including a giggly hen party complete with bride-to-be in a vintage look stripy nightwear number complete with bloomers and a frilly bonnet. It’s standing room only now but luckily Mrs C has saved my seat and I’m now sat next to a tiny Chinese lady travelling with her husband and twelve year old son. I lift her case out of the aisle onto the luggage rack and she expresses her gratitude timidly in accented but otherwise perfect English. She flatters me by telling me that she believes all Englishmen are courteous and very proper perfect gentlemen. Well yeah that’s me to a tee but I learn later that she finds Downton Abbey compelling viewing so maybe her perceptions are skewed slightly by the depiction of the English aristocracy in the Edwardian era. 

The next two hours are fascinating. Li visits Europe every year booking everything herself online. She tells me how she views travel as one of the most important things in life. It’s her means of truly expanding her horizons, experiences and knowledge. Travel and reading are her passions and she starts making me feel inadequate when she quotes an impressive list of English and French classic literature that she’s devoured. She’s from Fuzhou in the Fujian province and lectures in English, although she graduated in maths, and is clearly super bright in that reserved way of the Chinese.

We talk at length about our travels and she expresses her frustrations with the constraints of life in China including an obvious sadness at being limited to having one child. I sense that conversation like this and interaction is what she craves and values so much on her travels. I know I’m way out of my intellectual depth so I’m happy to divert conversation away from lofty topics and ask her if she knows why the giggly girls are all uniformly dressed, with the exception of the nighty wearer? Not a Scooby, so I take delight in educating her about the European tradition of hen parties. She asks “What will they do, will they get up to mischief?”. I reply “Oh yes” but sadly I’m not privy to the average Bavarian girl’s capacity for drinking and mischief making. Actually they’re already cracking open schnapps miniatures and it’s only about 10.30.

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2 Responses

  1. Nice one Phil. Hope to see more of your “Won’t Pass This Way Again” articles on here as having read a lot of them I know they are very entertaining.

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