First things first, Sound of Music had it all wrong, its not “Salls-burg” as in rhyming with “balls”, its “Saals-burg” as in rhyming with “gulls”.
Some of you may remember I mentioned Hofbrauhaus in my earlier mail (Munich). Naturally after a night like that we were late the next morning. That is to say S was, I was up bright and early and ready to go. We took the train to Salzburg and the journey was pictures-Q!! I confess I slept in the middle, but did see beautiful meadows complete with cows, little huts, mountains, blue lake with white sailboats. The city itself was pretty, but I kind of didn’t fall in love with it (like I have with Wiesbaden). It’s quite touristy…they were there in busloads. We walked around the old town area with it’s little streets and cafes, and Mozarts house with his first piano. S insisted on visiting Doppler’s (remember the Doppler Effect in Physics?) house also since he felt the guy was being ignored in comparison to Mozart! Saw Mirabelle gardens where Do-re-mi was shot. Turns out only little bits and pieces of the movie were shot in Salzburg itself…most of the pretty parts were shot in surrounding countryside, lake district etc. We had dinner at Cafe Mozart (who else…they have Everything Mozart from chocolates to keyrings). I had goulash soup which was YuM, and Apple strudel which was a little bland. They should have a Pippin strudel on the menu to make it more exciting ;). S had some creamy mushroomy chicken na fish na beef I’ve forgotten, that was also good. Then we walked around some more…it was very deserted in the evening…and there were no concerts or anything that day. Then we took the train back to Munich and had an Ad-ven-ture. So its a journey of around 2 hrs, and we had to get off at Munich East station called “Ostbahnof”- please note the names they are crucial to the following events. The train was very comfy and we had taken off our shoes and relaxing with feet up and dozy from all the food. Suddenly around the time we were to arrive I heard them announce the next station “Ostermunchen” which if you think logically should be “East Munich”. At least that’s what it seemed to me in the confusion. So I told S quick quick wear your shoes this is our station. He was surprised because there was still some time left for our arrival time, but we just hurried put on our shoes and went down just as the train stopped (it was a double decker train and we were on top). S asked “are you sure, this doesn’t seem like it”…I said “I’m sure that’s the name of the station this must be some other platform”. We got down at the station and it took us a few seconds to realise this couldn’t be the right station…by that time the train took off. It was pitch dark except for a few dim lights, completely deserted, and windy. It was the perfect setting for a ghost story and it was Very Scary. I thought this is it, bye bye world. To add to the fun these huge cargo trains woooshed pass and the noise and huge trains made it even more sinister…but the silence that followed was even worse. Oh then apparently a drunk guy on a bicycle came along and collapsed on the tracks…I didnt see this, S told me later. After some time he picked himself up and went off. Since we had taken the second last train from Salzburg we knew there was one more train around an hour later. We checked the timetable hanging there (thank god for the creepily super organized Germans) and it turned out that was a faster train and didn’t stop at Ostermunchen which was a tiny village station! Also, the irony of it was we were just 3 stops away from Munich! We went out of the platform (or station, same thing) and saw 2 young guys smoking near a car. S went and asked them…thankfully they were nice and came back with us to the station (or platform…just reiterating) and checked out the timetable again and confirmed it was the last train. And they said Munich was around 50 km so walking was out…and that place didn’t seem to have any taxis. So they suggested (which earlier had struck me also) we take the opposite train back 2 stations to Rosenheim which was a large station and try to catch the last train from Salzburg back to Munich. So we waited 20 min for the opposite train…which seemed like 20 hrs since we were back on the deserted platform. S tried to “hide” me by pushing me out of view which was funny in retrospect (all the fun in the story is strictly in retrospect). During the day these same stations had looked all quaint and inviting. Everything is so different in the dark. Finally the train came, we got on and breathed again…it was full of elderly people smiling and nodding…and all warm and bright after the haunted station. We reached Rosenheim but unfortunately had missed the last train by 4 min. At least this was a big station with lights and a few people. There was no other option but taxi (I did ask about buses but S gave me a Look…and anyway there were no buses to Munich). We went out of the station and there were 2 taxis standing…one already got booked as we approached. We made a beeline for the last one. The driver looked shocked when we said Munich and said “but that cost you 120 euros why not take train” and looked very suspicious. I think he thought we are tramps or something…but agreed to go and asked to be paid first. I tried to say let’s at least bargain but S didn’t let me. Apparently given the situation we were not in a position to bargain. So that’s how it came about that we took a ride in a Mercedes cab on a moonlit night along the Autobahn at a steady 180-190 km/hr. I was quite subdued for a change but S got all perked up and marvelled at the road, the speed, the cars etc. and said “see we wouldn’t get to do this normally”. I’ll say! We reached our pension in around 30 min (distance of around 80-90 km) and crawled into bed. So it became an “alls well that ends well” story…and with a lesson! We are now triple checking all stations and timings because I dont want to eat into my shopping budget taking cross country cab rides. Also when either one of is being too cocky (usually me) “Ostermunchen” is the sobering word.