A Long, Beautiful Train Ride from Austria to Munich
There was nothing easy about getting back to Munich Airport from Saalbach Hinterglemm. Herr Ritter graciously drove us to the bus stop in Hinterglemm so we didn’t have to schlepp suitcases four blocks. The bus to Zell am See was late today, and it was a good thing we scheduled enough time or we would have missed the train. The Joker Passes for free bus travel were no longer good but no worries. There was only a minimal fare for the 45-minute ride to Zell am See. The bus stops across the street from the Bahnhof (train station) where we waited for slow Train #1 to Worgl.
A last, sunny day on the train meant I ran from side to side taking photographs of the always gorgeous Austrian mountains, ski resorts, farms, and Tyrolian chalets.
Back in Worgl for Train #2, destination, Ostbahnhof Munich, the train was, thankfully, uncrowded today with plenty of seats. Interesting how as soon as we crossed the Austrian border, churches outside the train changed from the typical Austrian onion domes to more austere German-style roofs.
Off the train at Ostbahnhof, the last train (S Bahn) would arrive on the same platform! Hooray, no changing platforms today! How easy.
The S Bahn line to Munich Airport terminates underground. When you arrive at the airport, take escalators up to the main level with its abundance of restaurants, cafes, take-away, late minute tour operators offering great bargains and a McDonald’s. Not just any McDonald’s but a futuristic, beautiful McDonald’s. A fast stop to buy schnecken from a backery counter inside the Terminal before heading to the McDonald’s located between the two terminals for dinner.
Happily stuffed to the brim, we walked back into the terminal and waited outside an entrance for the Holiday Inn Express courtesy bus (the inevitable misconnect before flying back home to Chicago). I do my best to pick the cheapest hotel with a free courtesy bus for misconnects. Priority Club miles came in handy and gave us one, free night at the Holiday Inn Express, Schwaig. Free transport wasn’t included but with a free room, who are we to quibble especially when all Holiday Inn Express rates include huge, buffet breakfasts?
The United Airlines non-stop from Munich to Chicago had good news, bad news and good news, in that order. Good news – Lufthansa had just opened a new Senator Lounge in Munich Airport. Quite the place with its usual, great selection of food. (Not that we were hungry after snarfing down breakfast at Holiday Inn Express.)
Bad news – We had the same seats flying back to Chicago as we had flying to Munich on United Airlines 777. With a mental note to check if broken video on the outbound had been fixed, I did that before takeoff. Not only hadn’t it been fixed, both our seats had red stickers over the units stating, “malfunctioning video.” Completely pissed off, Steve jumped up to consult with flight crew. How could they not fix malfunctioning units on a plane that has been flying back and forth for over two weeks?
Good news – United upgraded us to Business Class. End of story. For 1K. Million Mile Flyers, status does equal privilege at times. Wiedersehen….