First Trip to Germany

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Soon we were off again to land in Luxembourg as planned. Here I had very little time to explore although I did get out into the European air for a few minutes. What I saw of this small country was calm and beautifully manicured lawns, trees and foliage. The travel agency person spoke very good English and said I should look for the train station in Munich and board the train to Schloss Elmau. She seemed to know what she was talking about. I was feeling more confident all the time.

Once in the Munich train station, I asked the ticket officer in German for directions. I could not understand one word of his reply and repeated my question. He finally only repeated the train gate number and departure time and wrote it down for me on a piece of paper. I believe it was 34 at nine o’clock. Later I found out the local language is not High German but a Schaebishe German which is a dialect of this language derived from the days when this was Bavarian country.

I did find Gate 34 and entered. There was a small train parked behind the barrier but dark and quiet. Was this the correct place? I had no one to ask so I waited. Finally the lights in the train came on and one or two people arrived and walked in. So did I. I selected a seat close to the door and sat down. It was a typical six seat arrangement where the two seats faced each other. Eventually more lights came on and compressors started to rumble underneath. We were getting ready to depart. Just before the jerky start happened, two late teen-age guys talking wildly and laughing, ran in and sat down in my booth opposite to me ignoring me completely. As soon as we juggered away, I asked these guys in German whether this train went to Schloss Elmau. Both burst out laughing as the other passengers turned their heads to see who in Heaven’s name was talking this strange accented High German. When finally everyone settled down one of the guys nodded yes. I was comforted. But I wanted more information. Did the train stop at Schloss Elmau? How would I know when and how to get off? I don’t think they understood my German but did understand my concern.

Then one of the guys started telling me a story. He first made sure I understood his language which by now I had figured out and then went on…and on… and on… The gist of his story was, and he made sure to tell me this was a story, not the truth, that there were fantastically wonderful castles in this woods. One in particular had gold plated fountains everywhere on the grounds, the likes of which I would never see anywhere else in the world. The streets were paved with gold and only gold plated carriages were allowed to travel these roads. People relaxed in gold chairs and chaises and sipped Schnaptz (liquor) from gilded glasses. They existed in a world of luxury and splendour like nowhere else one could compare.

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Ed Janzen is the editor and publisher of CANADIAN STORIES, a literary folk magazine that publishes short stories and poems from Canadian writers of every province of Canada. Story Quilt is an electronic magazine similar in content. Ed has written four memoirs. He also writes for the old car hobby and has a column in OLD AUTOS - a biweekly newspaper featuring mostly Canadians events and automotive history.
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