Taking the train to Munich
Our plan for getting around the world never included trains, but in our last few weeks in Europe we have planned to meet many people in certain cities of fixed dates and sometimes it’s been impossible to make the distance any other way. With close to 15,000km under our belt by bicycle so far, we don’t feel too bad about the occasional train trip. This time we reluctantly left the pleasant cycle path by the Tauber river, dodged crowds of Japanese tourists in the cobblestoned, walled city of Rothenburg, and caught a train to Munich. We’ll meet Friedel’s uncle from Canada and her great aunt Gertrud – 90 years old! – in the city tomorrow. We gazed enviously at the cyclists from the train window: it was a sunny day with just a few fluffy clouds hanging in the blue sky, perfect for biking. The landscape of golden fields and towns on hilltops looked beautiful. Travelling by train with loaded touring bikes isn’t easy either. We found this trip and our train journey last week towards Frankfurt more tiring than cycling the whole day. Lugging our bikes up and down long flights of stairs is heavy work and more often than not we end up with old trains that require lifting our bikes several feet up and into the door. Today we were also pushed for time. We had to change twice and each time we had just 5 minutes to get off one train, switch platforms and onto the next train. If our fellow passengers weren’t so helpful and the train staff so willing to hold trains, we’d never have made it! In this way, the German train system is definitely superior to Japan’s network. We’re sure the always-punctual Japanese trains wouldn’t wait for two bulky bicycles to make their way to the right platform. We arrived in Munich in the early afternoon, managed one last exercise-session getting our bikes onto the local transport, and made our way to the campground in the west of the city, conveniently located near to where Friedel’s great-aunt lives. Now it’s time for a mini family-reunion over the next few days, probably a few beers in this city famous for the Oktoberfest and a bit of rest before we tackle the Alps one last time on our way south to Italy.