Published: August 15th 2010July 20th 2010
So, night train to Venice. Most night trains need reservations; in fact, I think all night trains do. This wasn’t a point lost on us, but due to the loosey-goosey nature of our trip, the possibility of a night train filling to capacity had not fully dawned on us. So if you’ve guessed that the Tuesday night train to Venice was fully booked, quit jumping ahead, it takes a lot of the fun out of telling the story. When we got to the English language ticket counter (how thoughtful, or pandering, I haven’t decided which) we were informed that there were no vacant seats on our preferred date, being that day. Being, as
aforementioned, loosey-goosey we were not terribly concerned and inquired as to whether the unavailability was due to German holidays; the ticket agent assured us he would have laughed haughtily at, and dismissed us had that been the case. For those of you guessing that there was still no availability for the next several days, quit it; there were three seats available for the next day :Þ. We booked two of them. Having family in München we were not very concerned with the prospect of spending the night. Using the handy (also known as a “mobile” or “cellular” telephone) Christoph lent us, we attempted to phone Anne and Ivan to see if we could stay with them for the evening. No answer. Leaving a message, we informed them of our troublesome (although we’re certain common) predicament and that we were using Christoph’s handy.
At the end of the call Dan proceeded to put the phone on standby, at least that’s what would have happened had he pressed the button on the top of his iPhone; the top button on the Nokia has an entirely different function. The phone powered down, making it useless, save as a paper weight. Thankfully this slight mishap was noticed as it happened and the phone was immediately powered back on. Another strange thing with this handy (that Dan discovered on an earlier occasion), if at any point the SIM card is removed it requires a PIN code to unlock it. Thankfully the SIM card had not been removed; however, it turns out that powering on of the phone is what initiates the need for a PIN code. Now, seeing as this isn’t the first time this sort of thing has occurred you’d expect us to have a plan to quickly rectify the situation. Well, if BP doesn’t need one, neither do we!!!! This, once again, rendered the handy to paper weight status; add to that that Anne will think we’re ignoring her if she got our message. Being that it was short notice we would have understood had Anne and Ivan not been able to take us.
We planned to make provisions for a worst case scenario. Packing a few essentials into our day packs we stored our main packs at the train station. Having stayed at a hostel in München on a previous occasion, Dan was confident that he could find it. We stopped at information quickly to get information on other hostels just in case. Along the way we stopped at a payphone to contact Christoph, no answer. We would have loved to call Anne, but we only had her number on the paper weight…er, handy. We also made the attempt at calling Gerhard and Hannelore, who we knew were at a party.
Having no luck contacting anyone we arrived at the hostel. When we inquired as to availability they told us about the one private room they had for 44€, each. We scoffed, and the desk attendant check at their other property; two beds, each in a different six bed dorm, at a much more reasonable price. Ashley seemed excited to finally have some time away from Dan. Being noncommittmental (may not be a word yet, but they’ve all got to start somewhere), when the attendant asked if we’d like to hold the rooms we politely declined; after all she would have needed our names!!!! Who knows what she could have done with that information! We requested directions to the other property, deciding to take our chances. Our ulterior motives to not reserving the spot was that we would still try to contact the family. We found only one payphone along the way (still no good luck) and made it to the hostel in approximately fifteen minutes. Surprise, surprise our luck stayed on the negative spectrum of the scale; there were, once again no reasonable rooms. The attendant here was kind enough to help us (in Canada) 411 Anne and Ivan. She gave us the telephone number, and the general area of the address; which confirmed for us the likelihood that is was the proper one, since we knew the area. Thankful for the help, we set out once again to find a payphone. This time they were all on the other side of the street. Instead of crossing the street, we arrived at the Hauptbahnhof (main train station) without having used another payphone.
Finally things started to go our way. In the bahnhof, on one of the gleis (platforms) we tried a payphone before resigning ourselves to sleeping in the bahnhof. Christoph answered!!! Oh how wonderful!!! He told us that he’d spoken with Anne. Just as Dan explained that we needed the PIN code for the SIM card the line cut out. Apparently for a long distance call we would have to keep feeding the phone. Well, what information we gleaned was good enough, Anne had spoken to Christoph about us; hopefully that meant she was home, had received our message, and wouldn’t mind some company.