On the way to passport control, I saw the multifaith rooms. Since baggage reclaim might take a while, we might as well perform solat Subuh first. Headed to the room marked “moschee” (mosque). My oh my, it was such a lovely prayer room! The mimbar was nicely decorated with colorful mosaics. Every inch was clean and well maintained. At a corner near the entrance, there was a guestbook. Looking at the entries, without a doubt those who had been there before were very pleased with the facility.
Proceeded to clear our passports. Next, baggage reclaim. To my surprise, there were only three bags left unclaimed – two of them were ours. And it all happened in mere minutes while we were performing solat. Talk about German efficiency! Frankfurt airport immediately became my favourite European airport!
Lugged our bags to the basement and searched for DB train office. We already bought Eurail pass from their agent back home, so we didn’t have to buy tickets, just needed to buy reservations. Then we hopped on a train to Frankfurt am Main, the main train station. Our journey by rail across 5 countries in Europe officially began.
From Frankfurt am Main, we took ICE (German speed train) to Munich to get a connection to Salzburg. When it was time to board, I was shocked that coach number 39 – our coach – was not there! We ran from train’s head to its tail and back to the head (mind you it was really far), still we couldn’t find it.
I saw a conductor near the first class coach and asked about it. He was rather amused when he saw our ticket. He said that they usually had two trains for the route, but on that day they had to combine them into one, thus the missing coach. “Just go onboard and see if you can find an empty seat,” he said.
So we did. All the first class seats were already taken. No surprise there, considering that they had combined trains. I texted my friend Dora who lived in Germany. She told me not to worry. “Look at the LCD display on the top of the seat. If it’s blank, the seat is unreserved, you can sit there. If there’s a station’s name, that means that the seat is booked for that station, so get off before the owner gets onboard.”
And that was how the 3-hour journey went through – me jumping from seat to seat. When I couldn’t find an empty seat to jump on, I sat on my suitcase at the end of the coach near the door. It wasn’t my best train ride, yet it was definitely better than the ride from Milan to Rome a few years back. So comparatively, it wasn’t so bad after all. Plus I had Dora to keep me company on WhatsApp along the way.
Arrived at Munich at platform 23. We only had 13 minutes transit time and the train to Salzburg was at platform 12. So it was a mad dash from one platform to the other. Anyway, I found out that 13 minute was actually ample amount of time. We still had several minutes spared to regain our breath.
From Munich, we took ÖBB Railjet (Austrian speed train) to Salzburg. It was a smooth journey all the way. The conductor even praised us for filling up our Eurail pass really well. It was time to relax and enjoy the ride for real.
|On our way to the land of Sound of Music.|
Arrived at Salzburg at around 3 pm. Headed to our hotel, which was only a short walk from the train station. Checked in, freshened up and immediately headed out. As it was wintertime, the sun went down at 4 pm, and by 6 pm everywhere was dark.
|Took the bus from the main bus station to Alstadt (old town).|
|Dieya in Salzburg!|
|Pretty postcards. Gotta get one.|
|A fancy bridge across Salzach River.|
|A view of Alstadt at night.|
Our bodies were still getting adjusted to the cold weather, and we were pretty much tired and jet lagged, so it wasn’t a good idea to continue exploring the city. Had dinner at a nice Indian restaurant then headed back to the hotel to rest.
Couldn’t wait to really begin exploring Salzburg tomorrow!