My Travel Philosophy

“The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” – Saint Augustine

Friday, September 12, 2014

Major Hurdles

Ensuite bathroom
My hotel room in Frankfurt
I'd like to reset this whole part of the trip! I fell asleep pretty early last night (as planned) but the bed was low to the ground and hard as a rock. I actually miss the one I had in Paris! Got up at 6:30 so I could get to my tour bus early, and grabbed a quick breakfast at McDonald's. Made it outside in plenty of time. There were lots of buses coming and going, and I even saw the tour office across the street. Despite waiting at what I thought was the right spot, my bus never appeared. Finally, I turned on my phone and called at 8 a.m. (scheduled departure time) to find out what had happened, and found that the instructions I had were wrong. I ran around the huge train station to the front, but a subsequent phone call indicated that the bus was gone. Apparently, when I called from Paris to confirm the details, they were supposed to tell me to come to the tour office and pick up my paperwork and last minute instructions. As a result, I was in the wrong spot all along! Standing on the street in front of the train station in the rain, I was a bit shocked and my mind started racing. Where should I go? I need to make hotel reservations somewhere! My trip had been pre-paid and I had no idea how to continue my journey.
Train station window in Frankfurt

Fortunately, the lady called me back with a plan: take the train directly to Rothenburg and I'd meet up with the tour there. Feeling calmer, I went to a machine to get a ticket and found at least six Rothenburgs in Germany. So, I had to go to the service desk to find out where to go and, after I bought the correct ticket, back to the service desk to find out which platform and train to take. The ticket said nothing about the train #, time of departure, etc. I also couldn't find train schedules anywhere. To settle down a bit, I went back to McDonald's for a mango smoothie. The lady had said she'd call me back and let me know the hotel to go to when I arrived in Rothenburg. Couldn't help worrying that my phone bill would be crippling when I got back.

Lovely old-world train station in Frankfurt
As in England, lots of people bring their bicycles on the train. The train I took had an upper deck (which I should have chosen when buying my ticket), but I sat in the lower. There were two transfer points on my journey and I was grateful not to get lost along the way. It's so nice that they have things in both German and English.

Then, to top things off today -- my watch broke!

I managed to switch trains at Wurzburg and was able to confirm that I switched to the right train via a map inside the new compartment! Whew!   On the train from Frankfurt to Wurzburg were a bunch of bikers that were having such a good time. They had big cans of beer and were laughing and joking the whole trip. Clearly, they weren't bothered by the rain at all. There were lovely vineyards on the hillsides as the train traveled along.

The lady from the tour company called while I was on the train and gave me information about the hotel and confirmed that a taxi would be waiting for me when I arrived, along with the tour documents that I should have picked up in Frankfurt. Looks like everything is back on track (so to speak).

Note:  people talk about not being checked for tickets on trains, but I've been checked every time so far.

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