Crossing the boarder was again a non event, before I knew it I was seeing German flags. I guess this is one of the nice things about the EU. I sort of wish they did passport control still for us non EU people sometimes, I like the whole getting stamps. Today I would end up crossing national boarders 3 times in total: France->Germany, Germany->Switzerland, Switzerland->Germany.
Once in Offenburg I went to the office and asked about the scenic Black Forest Line train. The nice thing about the German rail system compared to everywhere else is they only do reservations for hotel trains, so there is no huge line to buy ticket reservations like in France and to a greater extent Spain. In Portugal the high speed trains needing reservations cost a whole lot(over 100 euros to Porto) and the people were poorer, so it was never an issue to get a reservation as the train pulled into the station. In France though the TGV costs 20 euros to go from Paris to Nancy which is 2 hours, and TGVs go everywhere. Spain has no excuse, their ticket officers just suck at their job.
Anyways so with a print out of the times to Konstanz via the Black Forest Line, and times for Konstanz to Munich(Munchen in German), I got on the train practically shivering and watched the scenery go by.
The Black Forrest is called what is because the forrest is so dense that you cant see light through the canopy. The area is also sliced by valleys and rivers which makes for beautiful landscape. Most of the time rain was falling very heavily outside my window, so I sat behind a pillar so that at least part of my view wasn’t messed up by the rain streaks. It was a really pleasant way to spend the day, though very tired I had trouble staying awake, but I didn’t want to miss this sort of scenery which I was going so far out of my way to see. Two hours later saw me arriving in Konstanz on the banks of Lake Constance(or Konstanz). I had a look around town briefly with my 1hour layover. I wish the weather was better, the town seemed really pretty, especially with views of the lake, but the rain really puts a damper on that. If it was sunny and beautiful I probably would have tried to find a hotel and spend the night, instead I grabbed a bite to eat at a Kebab place and boarded my train to Winterthur where I would change to a train bound for Munich.
As the train was leaving I thought I would have a look on the map where I was headed thinking it must be south of Stuttgart. To my surprise it was on the outskirts on Zurich in Switzerland! Oh my. Again I find myself passing over a boarder and seeing the third different flag in a single day.
Arriving in Winterthur I figured I should find myself a place with internet and book a hotel in Munich because I wouldn’t be arriving until around 11pm.. I asked at the tourist office and she pointed me to a place a block away. The internet was free but I felt compelled to buy a drink, so I ordered a water. The woman sitting next to me was really friendly and helpful and we talked a bit after I had found a place and booked a room. The water turned out to be expensive… but not just that, the Swiss as it turns out aren’t on the Euro, but on the Swiss Franc… The waitress was kind enough to let me pay in Euros, but we had to figure out how much it cost in Euros, it turned out to be 3.8, I paid 4, and ran off to my train that was leaving in 10 minutes. I feel bad about that, I can claim ignorance, but ignorance isn’t a defense, only an excuse. In my own defense, I didn’t even know I would be in Switzerland today, I guess I can rack that up as another country I’ve been to, though only briefly. I’ve now been to 21 countries outside of the US (if you count Switzerland, Ireland and UK where I only stopped briefly), and I think 5 states in the US that I can remember. At any rate I’ve been more around the world than I’ve been around my own country. I made it in time for my train, and had a long 4 hour ride to Munich.