The Hiccups While Traveling
Before you embark on a trip, assume that not everything is going to go as planned. Your bag may be lost, your flight may be cancelled or a bus may not show up. I can say with assurance that on every trip I have been on, something has gone wrong. Luckily, none of these blunders put a damper on the trip and are now stories we laugh about or have even forgotten.
Traveling through Europe for 11 days with 7 guys on public transportation is almost a recipe for something to go wrong. Luckily for us, we only had a few hiccups on our trip and overall the trip was wildly successful. One of these hiccups was out of our control but came during our tour of Berchtesgaden. The most efficient and cheapest way to get to the mountain town from Salzburg is to take the bus. Finding the bus stop in Salzburg was somewhat of a nightmare but we somehow made it on time. On the way home, there was only one bus station in the middle of town so we figured we would have no qualms in getting back. That was until the bus did not show up.
Huddled in the freezing rain, we watched as bus after bus rolled up, hoping each one would be for Salzburg, yet it never arrived. We waited 10 minutes, 20 minutes 30 minutes but none ever came. Each person we came across was waiting for a different bus and after 20 minutes we were the only ones left. There wasn't even an attendant to ask in the bus station what we could do as the darkness was slowly approaching.
After about 45 minutes, we were tired, cold and had no options. We knew we didn't miss the bus because we had arrived early and we were positive this was the only station. At this point, it seemed like we either had to wait another 90 minutes for the next scheduled bus or possibly head back to Eagle's Nest tour office to ask for their advice. Then out of nowhere, an old school 1970's looking bus rolls up to the station with a sign for Salzburg on the front. I knew this not the bus we were looking for as every other bus including the one we rode there looked like a Chicago or NYC transit bus.
|Our eventual bus home.|
Regardless, I decided to ask the driver for help as we were out of options and needed to get back to Salzburg...and then he gave me the "I don't speak English" sign. Not only did he not speak English but he also looked a little disheveled with his crooked teeth, 1990's jumper and muddled hair-do. If someone where to tell me he lived in his log cabin alone talking to his dog, I wouldn't be the least bit surprised. So this was our situation, we had no other way to get back to Salzburg other than the crazy bus driver with his bus from the 70's.
|Our own personal bus.|
Well, we decided to proceed. He did not speak any English so we communicated as best we could. I pointed to Salzburg and pointed to the number of people we had. He then wrote 15 with the sign for a euro on a piece of paper and we had struck a deal. What normally would have cost 5 euros a piece was now costing 3 and we even had our own private bus to show for it. Granted we all feared the driver might take a sudden turn into the mountains, we were now on our way back to Salzburg.
|The eventual hero.|
So we were off, bouncing away (as shocks weren't even thought of when the bus was built) in the Austrian Alps on high alert to make sure the bus driver didn't take any sharp turns. About 10 minutes into the drive we saw a heavy traffic jam on the other side of the road and sure enough, the bus we were looking for was right there...only 1 hour delayed and ten minutes too late. After an uneventful 40 minutes, we were right back where we started the day, all accounted for and unscathed. Our crazy driver was even nice enough to let me pose for a few pictures in the driver seat.
|He was even nice enough to let me sit in the drivers seat for a pic.|
Things are going to go wrong when you travel and sometimes you need to roll with the punches. Had I been alone would I have ventured onto the old rickety bus, probably not. It all comes down to staying calm and using your best judgement. As long as you do that, any issue you come across will be a minor speed bump that you will most likely forget the next day.
Also, as Americans, we tend to forget that people do random acts of kindness just because and they aren't looking for anything in return or to take you home to their wood chipper. So when you do come across that hiccup in your travels, don't be afraid to ask the help of a stranger.
|The Mirabell gardens, right where we got dropped off.|
Also happens to be where the Sound of Music was filmed.