Return Trip

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Sun 21 Sunday - sunny: We returned to Salzburg by way of two ICE's and an EC. We had a choice of 3 or 4 routes to the Berlin's main train station from the bus stop only 1/2 block from hotel. The first one to come along was a bus that took us on a final tour of the city to Alexanderplatz, where we caught an S-bahn that backtracked to the station.

We boarded a crowded ICE to N├╝rnberg, grabbing seats together and facing the right way, not a less comfortable table shared with others. The only problem was I forgot to check the electronic reservation display at the seat; and we were displaced almost imediately at next stop, Berlin Sudkreutz, and had to split up. I found a seat at table with 3 others, not as comfortable. A elderly lady across the aisle talked nonstop to a silent companion. It sounded loud, perhaps because we were in a quiet car. The AC and WC were out of order (a printed paper "Klimaanlage defekt" was sign posted). Staff distributed free mineral water.

At Leipzig we headed to the next car and copted the only double being vacated. But to my dismay, we departed backwards to head west. We had traded the hot, quiet car for a cooler one with a noisy toddler. We never seemed to pick up speed for the ride across the Herz Mountains. At Nurmburg we transferred to another ICE that went directly to Munich - the one we were on continued to Munich via Augsburg but would arrive after our train to Salzburg left Munich. At Munich the Dortmund - Graz EC, which called in Salzburg, was waiting for us.

At Salzburg, a trudge up to the overhead walkway and 2 1/2 blocks brought us to Haus Lechner, a nice Privatzimmer in the Schallmoos neighborhood. We were too tired to go out to eat; so we satisfied ourselves with rations picked up earlier.

In general, I was disappointed with the ICE. Way back in 1994 we had made a short turn in one from Munich to Augsburg and back; and I remember compartments and mostly business men. This time it was more like the economy section of a trans-Atlantic flight. There were electronic signs at the end of each car indicating the speed. From Berlin to Leipzig 200 kph (120 m/h), about the speed of standard European trains, from Leipzig to Nurmburg 110 (66), and Ingolstadt to Munich 200 (120). Only from Nurmburg to Ingostadt did it run at what I would call high speed (295 km/hr). I did see signs indicating they were upgrading the track from Ingolstadt to Munich for high speed.
Very nice Haus Lechner convenient to the Salzburg train station. The room opened onto our own private patio.
The return flight departing Salzburg at 2:30PM and arriving at 10:10PM in Chicago was uneventful but tiring nevertheless. Remind me never to change planes in Frankfurt or Toronto. When we arrived at the Toronto gate I grabbed one of the many wheel chairs sitting around for the long dash to our next flights. I don't think I could have made it carrying our luggage and walking at Jeanine's pace. The wheel chair seemed to give us special privileges going thought Canadian and America Immigration and security.

Since we had pre-cleared Immigration at Toronto, getting out of Chicago Ohare was simple. We called our motel, Ohare Inn and Suites and were relieved to see the van about 15 minutes later.
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