22 August 2008

Farewell France

One magical day back in Paris to pick up my rucksack and bid my friends "Adieu, a la prochain," and I was off on the night train to Munich where I was to change trains and continue on to Ljubljana. First glitch came during the Paris-Munich leg of the journey when we encountered a 3-hour delay in the night. Seems a freight train blocked the tracks. I woke up in the night and realized we were not moving. How long we'd been stopped I had no way of knowing, but as time dragged on it became obvious I would miss my connection. Not a troubling thought in train rich Europe, so I soon went back to sleep with a clear mind. Last year when I missed a connection in France due to a train delay I was bumped up to first class. Perhaps that would be the case again.

But the new ticketing came in Munich--Germany not France. Nothing so traveler friendly in the country that prides itself as a model of efficiency. I had to stand in line with everyone else and hope for the best. There's a train out in about an hour, and never mind that there are no seats still available. Requires another connection in Austria and there will be a seat on the second train. I only have to stand for the first 5 hours.

Needless to say I rejected that fine offer and opted to stay the night in Munich then take a direct train the following day where I would have a seat. I prefer to relax and enjoy all the beautiful scenery of the Austrian Alps the train would be traveling through.

Especially since there is a great budget hostel in Munich--The Tent. It's been there since 1972, but that's about four years since I was last in Munich. It's right on the tram line, near the Botanical Gardens in a lovely park setting. Three options are available--their large tent with bunk beds, a smaller tent with mats for the floor or set up your own tent. For under 10 euros a night it's your best bet in the area. A nightly barbeque, congenial company and a good cold beer, what's more to want.

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