My research indicated that there would be so many simple options to get from Munich to Salzburg that this is one of the few pieces of this trip I haven’t arranged in advance. (Along with train travel in Sweden, but that’s another story.)
When I ask at the info desk I am told that the bus to Salzburg doesn’t leave for many more hours and that the train doesn’t go there (which I should have questioned), but that there is a shuttle. The shuttle is considerably more expensive than the bus, but we also will get there four hours earlier and will save me the need to sort out a train transfer while suffering jet-lag.
At the shuttle desk they first say no, there are no shuttles this morning then – after an animated phone call in a language I do not speak (that did seem to be German either) – tell us yes, but we must hurry and direct us to the far end of the airport to a counter where basically no one speaks more than a few words of English. I figure out that yes, there will be a shuttle to Salzburg (there is another pair waiting for it) and the driver will collect my payment. It should be here any moment. (A mantra that is repeated every time I or one of the others asks.)
After more than an hour and half of waiting I decide to run to the restroom. . . when I return a few moments later Dad is sitting by himself – the other couple is nowhere to be seen.
Apparently the agent forgot to tell the driver that he had two more passengers and the other pair (already late for a meeting and irritated) must not have said anything either (I hope the show they were working on is a flop). When I asked the agent when the next shuttle would be, he shrugs: “no shuttle.”
Once I found him, the railroad ticket agent was charming, helpful, and spoke beautiful English. He booked us on the next train to Munich, from which we would transfer to a train for Salzburg.
The train arrived on schedule 20 minutes later and we were on our way.
However, the transfer at Munich isn’t as easy as I hoped. There are two different trains listed for Salzburg, neither of which have an arrival time that precisely matches my ticket. I can’t figure out which one is ours, so we ended up traipsing back and forth (up and down the stairs since the elevator is out) as I try to figure out which track we need. Finally an exasperated agent shows me how to read the ticket and directs me to the right track.
It is a relief to know that at the end of this ride all I need to do is find a taxi!
For his part, my father admits he was kind of relieved that Delta hadn’t made the luggage transfer because it would have been really exhausting dragging it through the airport and then back and forth through the train station.
As tour leader, I am NOT off to a great start.