Well, can't blame me for trying. The weather has been brutally hot - our home was 35C inside (that would be 95F) and that seemed cool compared to outside. When the phone rang with an invitation to come visit - even though that meant I would have to figure out the trains all by myself... of course, I said yes! Besides the fact that we had to cancel 2 family visits for various reasons. So, I packed the suitcase, the little cooler with snacks, water bottles, the computer (the modern day photo album)... and my son and I headed out the door. We made it there just fine. Had a great visit with my brother/sister-in-law and Omi. Boy are they ever thrilled at how well my son speaks German in such a short period of time, especially Omi - it is hard for grandparents when their grandchildren don't speak "their" language. And then headed home the next day - at the little train station we departed from there isn't an office - just a machine that you enter your information, put money into - and out spits a ticket. Usually I double check direcitons with the ticket agent, but that wasn't an option this time around. So - off we go - and got off at the SAME train station we switched trains at going - our ticket even said the exact same stations, just in reverse order. But, oops! We were supposed to stay on the train. Even in different languages I am very good at reading schedules, but this particular train had NO schedules on board. And it didn't even have anyone working on the train, that I could see. Usually someone comes along to check your ticket and you can ask just to double check, but some of the trains use the "honor" system and every once in a great while someone will board and check everyone's ticket - you better have one or there is a big fine! So I just read the ticket and really thought we had to get off. Well, no harm done - we had a chance to call DH on Skype and chat for a bit while sitting outside in the nice, cool mountain air and enjoy a mere 1 hour delay, enjoying our little picnic from our cooler bag. Never leave home without snacks and water!
I've got 2 things to note: First off - if you are going to get off at the wrong train station , it is much, much better to get off at a central point of transfer with many trains coming and going instead of a little tiny train station. We got off at a central point of transfer, which is why I really thought I was correct to get off. The other thing - it helps to have a destination to a large city. Because many trains by-pass all the small stops anyway. So, double check - got off at a big station and headed to a big station. The good news - with that winning formula we only had to wait 1 hour for another train - and the 2nd train was much more comfortable than the 1st train, so I was happy enough to spend the last leg of our trip (1 hour) in a comfy seat.
The other thing - always good to have some spare change on hand - because the 1st train didn't have bathrooms - we decided we better use them at the train station before getting on the next train (the 2nd train did have bathrooms though). And guess what - you have to pay 50 cents to get the doors to open. I put my 50 cents in and the doors - did NOT open. Nothing we did would open those doors. Well, along comes another person - puts 50 cents in and the doors open - and stay open for a bit of time so my son and I went right in after her. Boy was she giving me dirty looks, but really - I didn't want to pay 50 cents twice!