Tagebuch: March 2009

Dear Diary,

 Owning my own car, I rarely use public transportation! So it was at the age of 20 when I took the train for the first time in my life, traveling to Salzburg at 19:00 of a Friday evening.

Now, for all of you experienced travelers, this may seem like a simple undertaking. Not for me!  Arriving at the Westbahnhof with plenty of time to spare, I stared up at the signs, looking for the next train that was heading to my destination. There it was, track 9.  I held the large heavy glass bowl under my arm, a present I had bought for my mother’s birthday, while people rushed by, their shoulders colliding with mine.  I angled sideways, fearing for the bowl, and headed for the track.

My wool hat began to itch. I reached up to the back of my head with a free hand to scratch and then pulled my skiing luggage to the platform. What a lot of work. I wasn’t used to this. With a car, you just toss it in the back…

As I arrived at Platform 9, panting, I froze in horror. My train was pulling away!  But I was sure I had left plenty of time. I pulled out my ticket, and felt sick. 17:00, it said, and Thursday, not Friday. Not only the wrong time, but also the wrong day!  I hadn’t even checked. Desperate, I made a run for the last car already disappearing down the platform, the bulky bowl almost slipping from under my arms. It was useless. I plopped my luggage down and sat on the ground, my head in my hands, feeling like an idiot.

Now what?  If I did not arrive in Salzburg on time, I would miss my mother’s birthday party and my parents would be disappointed.

As I sat there miserably, I noticed another train pulling into the platform from the corner of my eye: Another train to Salzburg was leaving in 20 minutes! Reprieve. My face lit up; I grabbed my cumbersome bag and pulled it to the other end of the station. Knowing that my ticket was for a different train, (and a day earlier!), I would have to fake it. Climbing into the car, I found a free cabin, stowed my luggage above me, and plopped myself, exhausted, down on the seat. I shook my head: Never again!

The conductor came by, looked at my ticket, and looked at my expression of frazzled despair… I opened my mouth to explain… but he cut me off.

“Keine Panik,” he said with a gesture of dismissal. No need to panic; the train wasn’t full. I could stay put.

Shutting my eyes I dozed off into a far away land, awaking only as the train pulled in to the Salzburg station.


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