Thursday, May 29, 2008


I travelled overnight from Stockholm to Helsinki and spent Sunday being shown around the island fortress of Suomenlinna but will leave that until I finish my time in Finland next week. On Monday I travelled across the Gulf of Finland to the city of Tallinn in Estonia and after 2 nights there I have now returned to Helsinki.
I think Tallinn is the most authentic of the medieval old towns I have seen while in the Baltic Countries. I could post hundreds of pictures of the 0ld houses, narrow cobbled streets and walls with their turrets. A few will have to do. I paid to climb the tower of St Olafs and those who know my fear of heights will imagine my state after climbing over 250 steps mainly circular and then seeing the narrow plank I had to walk around on. The photos were a case of point and shoot without looking down.
But there were many such views without the same terror as the following seen from the higher area known as Toompea.
And this will have to suffice as I keep changing my mind as to which of the many photos of house fronts to post.
The Town Hall is th only surviving Gothic Town Hall in Northern Europe and was built between 1371 and 1404. It dominates the large city square.
I did not go into as many museums as elsewhere but the City Museum had the history of the city and showed the various crafts guilds. An elderly man insisted on explaining to me and a couple from Sweden the display of Soviet propaganda compared with the panels of showing what life was really like. At one stage he described how things began to open up (I think in the early 80's) with 3 ships per week between Helsinki and Tallinn while now there are 30 per day.
I went by tram a few kilometres out of the city to Kadriorg Park and the Palace The interiors had fine displays of art and porcelain.
Nearby I could walk along the seafront and look back at the port with the many ships now plying the Baltic.
It was by luck, on my final morning that I chose a outdoor cafe for coffee and found myself looking at a church I had not visited and realised it was the 13th century Church of the Holy Spirit mentioned to me by my blogging friend Doorman-Priest. It has some elaborate wood carving and painted interior. The 17th century baroque pulpit stood out
It is a city in which you just wander and keep finding another quaint view at which to marvel. These three buildings are known as the Three Sisters.
And this was a particularly pretty spring scene
Now off to Lapland and the Midnight Sun.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Stockholm Sojourn

I spent my last day in Riga in cold, dull conditions although things began to improve during the afternoon and I sailed down the river in sunshine.
I went to the markets which are in old aeroplane hangars and are huge although the guide books said I would see rows and rows of meat carcasses on hooks but instead it was rows and rows of refrigerated display cabinets with meat. These countries are fast catching up to the west. Despite the weather I took a river cruise for an hour , just 1 Lat or $A2.40 and soon took the captain's advice and took shelter in the downstairs cabin only going up for occasional photos. I was able to take a photo of the Regina Baltica which brought me to Stockholm that nightAfter lunch as the weather improved, I headed for the new town which has wide streets and upmarket shops. It is dominated by the Freedom Monument. Although built in 1935, it became the focus of the independence movement in the 80's and early 90's. The statue of Lenin, put up by the communists nearby has been removed. Soldiers guard the Monument.
Visited another Jewish Museum and the Russian Orthodox cathedral before wandering the parks and squares until it was time to drag my bags to the Ferry terminal.

On Tuesday morning I went up on deck to a beautiful sight. We glided for several hours in brilliant sunshine through the Stockholm Archipelago. it is certainly a wonderful way to approach the city and I am looking forward to passing through it again this evening on the way to Helsinki.
Later in the day, the weather was not so kind as there were several heavy showers and as I did not want to activate my 3 day museum pass until the next morning and my hotel room was not ready, I had to spent time in large shopping malls in the city. Despite this, I have been lucky as although Wednesday was threatening but no rain, Thursday and Friday have been beautiful blue sunny skies and today looks to be the same. However there is a nip in the air in the evenings which is strange when the sun does not set until 9.30 and rises just before 4.
Prices in Stockholm have been even higher than I imagined. A Big mac was 55Kronor, nearly $10 Australian. I used my Museum card a lot and visited many museums. Luckily most have explanations in English and English is widely understood in the city. None of the problems I had in Warsaw. The Coin musuem would have been better with more English but I did see the Australian note as the first polymer note in the world. I was disappointed the Royal apartments are closed for the year but filmed the changing of the guard. The Nobel Museum was very interesting and the Vassa Museum which displays an documents the raising of a 300 year oldwarship which sunk in the harbour on its maiden voyage was very worthwhile. On Friday I was shown around by Marleen an internet contact and some other friends and we spent a lot of time at the Skansen outdoor museum. We later went to Jan's house where her husband had cooked us a meal. Marleen is American, Jan, South African, Mark, Irish and Julie, Ukrainian. So we made up a United nations group, sadly no Swedes, although all the others have lived in Sweden for quite a while.
My other highlight was a visit to the KonzertHuis where the Nobel Prize awards are held in December. I , however, heard the Stockholm Philharmonic play Tchaikovsky's piano concerto number 2 and Rachmaninov's Symphony number 1 The pianist was the English, classical pianist John Lill. (I have just researched him and found he was born on the same day as me in the same year, that is where the piano talent went that day)

Photos below are of streets in Gamla Stan, the most historic part of Stockholm around the Palace and a cottage in the Skansen Open air, historic museum.
Now, off to Helsinki.

Wise Words

"The bishop is a teacher of the faith. This doesn't mean unthinkingly regurgitating formulae from the past," he said.

"Guarding and teaching the faith means bringing the depth of the church's inheritance to bear on today's questions.

"This can lead to the disclosure of aspects of Christian truth that have been forgotten or gone unexplored. The church is a place where things can happen for the first time."

From the sermon by Archbishop Aspinall of Brisbane, Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia as he conducted the consecration of Bishop Kaye Goldsworthy in Perth. Bishop Goldsworthy is the first woman to be consecrated a Bishop in Australia. Canon Barbara Darling will soon follow in Melbourne. 21 Bishops from Australia and New Zealand were present but not, of course, the Archbishop and his gang from Sydney. Their loss.

Monday, May 19, 2008

A Tale of Two Cities

I still have a day to spend in Riga but as I am sailing from here to Stockholm and am not sure of my internet connection in that city. I will post now and add any more exciting developments from my last day in Riga when I manage to comment on Stockholm.
Following Davis's comment on my last post regarding the sin of envy I am tempted to describe things like panicking as to whether one is really on the correct platform for the train to Lithuania, dragging a heavy bag for 15 minutes across cobblestones in Riga or the nightly need to choose a restaurant, choose a meal and stare at some inane tv program for 15 minutes suntil it arrives. However these are the things which experience tell me fade in one's memories and so should not be put into print.
My final long train journey across Europe left Warsaw at 7.20am and arrived in Vilnius at 6pm (5pm Warsaw time). I had done my homework and knew there was no refreshments on board so had bought fruit, biscuits, fruit juice and a thermos of coffee. I also knew that only some of the carriages went to Sestokai in Lithuania so made a mad dash with bags down the platform until I found one with Sestokai on the side. This was after the panic as I was not sure if the 1 on the timetable referred to the platform number or the section of the platform (there is a difference) Lots of relief when Sestokai came up on the indicator board. It is necessary to change from the Polish train at Sestokai for the final few hours into Vilnius. Once settled the journey was fairly uneventful across the plains. After a few hours I found that not only did I have the compartment to myself, but I was the only person in the entire carriage. However at Suwalwy, the last stop in Poland, a lot of people transferred from the carriages which were disconnected there and I heard an Aussie accent. Roger and Glenda from Brisbane had not done their homework but fortunately the conductor moved them before they were stranded. I spent the next few hours chatting with them, Glenda is also a teacher-librarian. We had to show our tickets before boarding the Lithuanian train and the conductor wrote notes on the back. However several times on the rest of the journey she came to check those tickets again and her notes. I do not know if she thought we might have climbed in through the window. Just getting up the steps into the carriage with ones bags was a major feat.
Arriving Vilnius I bought bus tickets and as advised boarded trolley bus number 5. I knew to validate my ticket which usually means putting it into a machine which stamps date and time on it. Very amusing to find you put it into a punch machine on the wall and literally punch holes in it. Roger(from Brisbane) had told me he was sick of old towns and churches so I do not know how he has coped with Vilnius and Riga. In Vilnius I must have entered more than a dozen churches and became confused as to which were Catholic and which were Russian Orthodox. Their interiors were very ornate. Most were being renovated on the outside which I guess is a good although not for my photography. The Vilnius cathedral is set in a large square. It's interior is belowOne of the more ornate churches was the baroque church of Sts Peter and St Paul.The only remaining gate to the city is called the Gates of Dawn built in the 16th Century and on top is the 18th Century chapel of the Blessed Mary which is a leading site for pilgrimage
Behind the cathedral they are rebuilding the Royal palace but the upper castle is on Gediminas Hill. the guide books showed a walk to the top but this was closed with instructions to use the new funicular. The top gave good views of the city.
My second day concentrated on the new city along Gediminas Avenue. Grand Duke Gediminas founded the city in the 1320's.
At the other end from the cathedral is the parliament which was a focus point of the stand for independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. The memorial in front depicts the barricades which were erected against the Soviet army at that time.
I spent well over an hour at the Museum of Genocide Victims which is located in a building originally built as a court house at the beginning of the 20th century but used by the Soviets (KGB) and the Nazis for interrogation, torture and execution. I think this is misnamed. The whole display is about Soviet times. I did not see more than a passing mention of the treatment of the Jews. Today I have been to the Museum of Occupation in Latvia which is much better displayed, does have a section about the Nazi treatment of Jews and admits many Latvians ignored or even facilitated the Jewish genocide. Unlike the museum in Vilnius, it is free.
The Vilnius Museum does lead down to the cellars, torture rooms and execution chamber.

My last afternoon in Vilnius saw me climbing the hill of Three Crosses which were in memory of three monks who were crucified on this spot. The original crosses were knocked down in the Soviet era and still lie below the rather impressive new ones. More good views of the old town and its many churches were gained from this spot.

I travelled by bus for four hours to Latvia and the city of Riga. My hotel is located within the old city, hence the cobble stones for my bag. It is very picturesque and located beside the Daugava River. I have finally found a Sunday in which I have remained in one town and there is an Anglican church so I attended St Saviour's for the Eucharist. Was surprised when, with a dozen people in the pews ( a few more came later, typical Anglicans), another dozen young ladies came out and sat in the front. They stood and sang beautifully in (I presume Latvian).
However when the hymn was announced they were silent and the priest was the only voice clearly audible. I learnt they were visiting and not the usual choir. They also sang during the offertory, communion and finally at the end. I think they did not understand much of what was happening and felt a bit sorry for them. I did like that we all went to the front, received communion from the lay helpers and then a blessing from the priest before all returning to our seats together. A bit difficult if there are 100 or more in the congregation. The priest shook my hand but did not ask where I came from. I went down to the crypt for coffee and spoke to an American couple from Boston, he is on a Fulbright scholarship. Was surprised at the number of Latvian speakers present.
Continuing my wandering in the old town, I went up the tower of the Church of St Peter for a very good view of the old town.
The tower of St Peters is in the next photo and the House of Blackheads is on the right.The Cathedral is very impressive, Evangelical Lutheran and apparently they were about to start a service in English in the chapel. It has one of the largest organs in the world. I toured the House of Blackheads, a horrible name for a very ornate building which was destroyed during the war and completely flattened by the Soviets but rebuilt in 2001. There is a museum of archaeological finds in the foundations and beautiful rooms upstairs.
As mentioned I went to the Museum of Occupation in Latvia which is well presented wit hthe story, photos and items from 20th century history. To be brief, the Baltic countries were under the Russian Empire, became independent at the end of the first world war but were occupied by the Soviets with German agreement in 1940. The first terrible executions and deportations were carried out until the Germans marched against Russia in 1940. Although the Germans mainly attacked the Jews, many Latvians were deported as war workers to Germany. At the end of the war in 1945, their expectations of freedom were dashed as the Soviets took control again and deportations began to Russia. However there was a partisan army in the forests up until the mid 50's always hoping the west would come to their aid. Things slightly improved after the death of Stalin in 1953 and then the fight for independence really began with the arrival of Gorbachev but was not achieved until the time of Yeltsin.
At one stage 2 million people joined hands from Tallinn through Riga to Vilnius in protest at Soviet occupation.
During the German occupation, propaganda depicted the hated Soviets as Jews which provides some explanation though not an excuse for the fact that few Latvians assisted them during the Holocaust. However the Museum does honour the few Latvians who sheltered Jews, most being executed as a result. There are very few Jewish people in the Baltic countries today.

Tomorrow I will concentrate on the new town and perhaps a river cruise before boarding the ship in the evening to Stockholm.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Trains Across Europe Part 2

To continue, I caught the Berlin- Warsaw express which takes a little over 6 hours to travel the distance. Unfortunately my journey was on Sunday which is one of the busiest times on European railways and the train was quite crowded even in 1st class. Reservations are compulsory so finding a seat was not the problem but I was surprised to find half the carriage full of about 12-13 year olds apparently returning home. It is a bit much to expect that age to sit quietly for so long but did become tiring as could be seen on the faces of the other passengers after any particularly noisy episode. But I was lucky to find myself for the first half of the trip sitting opposite two New Zealand girls who were travelling to Poznan. Amazing to find they had both studied at Dunedin University and one still lives there. As most of my readers will know, I have plans to move to that city whenever I can arrange to fix up and sell my present home.

I would not recommend Warsaw as a place to put high on your need to visit list. I went to Krakow in 2000 and it is a much nicer and more interesting city. Of course Warsaw was obliterated by the end of the 2nd World War so one cannot expect a lot. While looking at "old" buildings, I was always conscious that they had been completely rebuilt.
The main area where I stayed has wide squares and boulevards full of traffic and pedestrian tunnels (no escalators, a problem with luggage) and is dominated by the Communist built Palace of Culture. this is now being challenged by modern high rise offices and hotels. I spent the first morning in the old town (14th & 15th centuries) then in the new town (17th & 18th centuries which, I guess, makes the area in which I stayed (post 1945) the very new town.
The photo is of the Mermaid Monument in the Market Square of the Old Town which has been the symbol of the city since 1938
There were some beautiful buildings and ornate churches and I toured the Royal Castle, blown up by the Germans in 1944 but rebuilt in 1988. The Marble room is particularly ornate but beyond my camera when flash is not allowed. The photo below is of the Throne Room.
After a lunch of fruit and buns in the park, I went to the Ghetto area made memorable to me by the film 'The Pianist'. The whole area is marked by granite monuments or headstones carved in Polish and Yiddish but the largest monument is for the Ghetto heroes who decided to fight to an honourable death.
Nearby is a moving memorial depicting Willi Brandt, the post war German Chancellor kneeling before the Ghetto Memorial.
Also there is a memorial at Umschlagplatz Square where the Jews were loaded into goods wagons to be transferred to Auschwitz and Treblinka. Called the Monument to the Three Hundred Thousand it is a white marble wall covered with names and symbolising both the Wailing Wall and the wall which once surrounded the Ghetto. Photos were difficult as a group of American students were having a lesson sitting in the middle of it.

A few things made my time in Warsaw frustrating. My studies of German at school, although an awful long time ago do make travelling in German speaking countries comparatively easy. Now I was forced to ask for English menus and make wild guesses at the meaning of signs. Especially frustrating when I waited at a bus stop and someone came along and pointed at a sign and all those waiting with me looked annoyed and wandered off. I guessed it said 'No buses today' or something similar.
However my main frustration was with the Thomas Cook Guide book. While it had some good descriptions, its maps were hopeless and finding places a major task. Most annoying was lack of practical information. So on Tuesday I went to the highly recommended Museum of the Warsaw Uprising only to find it is closed on Tuesdays and I was to leave on Wednesday at 7am . My feelings were to throw the guidebook in the Vistula River but that would be pollution. Thankfully I usually use Lonely Planet guides. They have their occasional errors as well but are a million times better than Thomas Cook.

Instead I went to the National Museum (Art Gallery). English directions were lacking but I did see some impressive church altar pieces, tryptychs etc from the middle ages and interesting Polish art including Matejko. Somehow I missed the other European art mentioned in the guide book. I was amused here and at the Royal Castle at the number of stern black uniformed women employed to watch carefully as you move around each room. At one time I guess there was a shift change and the march of these women down the corridors reminded one of prison warders.

I spent the afternoon (following the bus stop fiasco) wandering through the Lazienkowski Gardens which had some beautiful water scenes and buildings including the Palace on the Water.
and a monument to Frederyk Chopin.
Even this monument was built in 1926, destroyed during the war and rebuilt in 1958. Probably the story of poor Warsaw.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Trains Across Europe Part 1

Finally I have access to wifi in my hotel in Vilnius so can catch up with relating my travels. As I am also sending this blog to friends via email some on poor connections, I will keep it to Berlin and follow with Warsaw tomorrow.
It has been a story of travelling by train which have become progressively slower. It began by leaving Munich last Thursday on an InterCity Express (ICE) train which reached speeds of 220km/hr but mainly stayed around 120 km as we wandered through some valleys and some castles could be seen on the adjacent hills. After leaving Leipzig we were on the North German plain and reached the higher speeds mentioned.
I spent 2 days in Berlin in 2000 so did not need to visit the usual places such as the Reichstag and Checkpoint Charlie. I chose to spend one day in the parks and palaces of Potsdam which cover 500 hectares. I could have easily spent 2 days there. First I went and bought a ticket to the most famous palace of Sans Souci built by Frederick the Great between 1745 and 1747. As its name indicates (Without care) it was to be his place of relaxation away from Berlin in the summer months. As it is a World heritage site, the numbers entering each day are limited and are taken through in groups of about 20 each with our own audiophone to hear a description in our own language. It has been described as a mini Versailles which would be accurate. Fortunately the Communist government maintained the palace while destroying or neglecting other historic buildings in the region. Some other palaces are now being restored and I visited the New (Neues) Palace built in 1760's which is actually much larger and took longer to visit. The rest of the day was spent wandering among the extensive gardens and fountains and some of the smaller buildings such as the Chinese House and the Windmill.
In the evening, I took my Berlin hosts (friends of my ex-student Rodney) to see The Magic Flute. However this was a very different performance set in an underground railway station which is yet to be commissioned. The serpent chasing Tamino at the beginning is made up from a machine on a the railway track. Papageno is dressed as a punk and the baddies are railway ticket inspectors. I gather there were references to the Queen of the Night as Angela (Merkel, German Chancellor) I enjoyed the music although mostly did not know the reason for the audience laughter and gather the singers were not really the best in Germany but as Uli said "It was different".
The second day my emphasis was on the Jewish story as I spent the morning in the striking Jewish Museum which does not just describe the holocaust but the whole Jewish experience in Germany from the Middle Ages. In the afternoon I went to the Holocaust memorial and then took a photo of the Brandenburg gate which had been covered with scaffolding on my earlier visit.
Sunday morning I went to the nearby Wall memorial. I was staying in the old eastern sector just 5 mins from where part of the wall has been maintained as a memorial. It is amazing to think that it is less than 20 years since the wall fell in 1989 and my criss crossing of the city would have been impossible in those days. The vibrant Potsdamer place with theatres, restaurants etc. was a border wasteland in those days and under construction in 2000.
Just after midday I boarded the Berlin-Warsaw express for the next installment of train journeys across Europe.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Bavaria Beckoned

My final time in the Alps has been spent in the town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen. The town park is beautiful in Spring. I had visited for the day in 1974 and spent a few hours there in 2000 and these samplings created a dream to stay several days. Perhaps the town itself was a bit disappointing after my time spent at Hallstatt and Appenzell which are not yet as spoilt by tourists. However the surrounding snow covered mountains and houses with painted pictures are still worth the visit. My feet are telling me they want to go home but my eyes want to keep going to see more and more. The first afternoon I just spent in the square with apple strudel and hot chocolate but the next day I headed for the Partnachklamm Gorge. This is a narrow gorge filled with rushing water and the path often tunnels into the cliff in order to get through.
I then climbed above the gorge to return by the top path and found a farm house with a cafe attached. Could not resist a coffee in these surroundings. Back into town and after eating some fruit in the park (I have to make up for the strudel, sausages and beer which are undoing any good achieved from all the walking), I headed for a cable car which goes up Wank Berg or Mountain (Don't laugh). Great views of the town and across to the highest German peak, the Zugspitze which was on my itinerary for the next day.
To get up the Zugspitze (2962 metres) you go by a rack railway which was built in 1930 and for the last 4 and half kilometres travels up in a tunnel under the mountain. A cable car is used to reach the final summit.
A view of the Eibsee from the summit. The round trip should involve a quick trip back down in another very high cable car but it was closed for maintenance so I had to return by the train.
After lunch I again set off walking mainly at the valley level to a lake called Riessersee and my legs were glad that I caught a bus back to town and my hotel.
Today I have returned to Munich and spent the afternoon in the Englischer Garten, the largest city park in Europe, 5km long and, no, I did not walk the full length but spent some time sitting and listening to a typical German band. Some people were sunbaking completely naked. I would have turned blue as the wind was a bit brisk for my liking. Finally I spent a little more than an hour at the Neue Pinakothek which has paintings and sculpture from 18th and 19th centuries. I have just returned from dinner with my host Rodney and must now prepare to travel north to Berlin.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Swiss Sojourn

I have just returned to Munich from 5 nights in Switzerland.
On Monday, German rail efficiency let me down and the train was running 12 minutes late so I missed my 9 minute connection at Ulm. However there was another train in 50 minutes, unlike Australia where it might be 1 day (or as in Queensland last year, 2 trains per week). I was advised to visit the cathedral in Ulm which has the highest steeple in the world but as I had my bag. I was content to look at this steeple from the station. I went onto Friedrickshafen on the shores of lake Constance or as the Germans call it Bodensee. I did make use of the lockers there and wandered around the town. Across the sea, the Swiss Alps could be seen but it was a very hazy day, in fact quite hot and an icecream was enjoyed. Having retrieved my bag, I crossed the Lake by ferry into Switzerland and caught another train to the city of St Gallen arriving as it began to rain
I stayed there two nights and used the full day to travel by train to the Rhine Falls. Fortunately the overnight rain cleared and the sun began to appear as I arrived at the Falls.These falls are not large by American standards at only 23 metres high but they do carry 600cu metres per sec and so are quite impressive to an Australian. I travelled in a small boat out to the rock you can see in the centre where they let you off to climb some stairs to the tops with water rushing past on all sides. Unfortunately a group of school children were on my boat so we were forced to wait on the ladder for room at the top. However it was an exciting experience. I walked down river before catching the train onto Schaffhausen and then onto Stein Am Rhein, a town with beautiful medieval housesI also went through the Benedictine Abbey of St George, founded in the 11th century but completely rebuilt in the 15th. The sun was now completely out and there was a good view of the Rhine from the windows.
I was offered a pensioner price here, the advantage of grey hair.
Wednesday morning I spent in St Gallen, paying my respects to both the Evangelische Kirche (which seemed to mention Zwingli a lot, a person I do not remember favourably from my Reformation history studies) and the Catholic Cathedral with beautiful ornate ceilings.
Then to the highlight of St Gallen the Abbey library. This library is the oldest library in Switzerland, and it is one of the earliest and most important monastic libraries in the world. Its collection of books shows the development of European culture and documents the cultural achievments of the Abbey of St. Gallen from the eighth century to the dissolution of the monastery in 1805. You wear felt slippers over your shoes to protect the floor and some of the oldest books are on display. Unfortunately photos are not allowed.

Leaving St Gallen, I travelled by the narrow gauge Appenzeller railway into the alpine valleys of Appenzell where I stayed at a hotel in a place called Wasserauen (867 metres). This was a real find, a beautiful room, comparatively cheap and as I stayed 3 nights I was given an Appenzeller card which allowed unlimited rides on the trains and buses and most importantly a free ride up and down on each of the area's cable cars. The hotel where I stayed is in the centre of the photo, the railway hotel on the left.
I travelled up each of the cars, the first on Thursday the Ebenalp (1640 metres) was right nearby but the weather was a bit cloudy and my plans to walk around at the top were thwarted by snow, there was sago snow falling while I was there. I did obtain some views when the clouds lifted temporarily. As the weather was changeable I decided to travel by a number of trains, one a rack railway, and buses to the country of Liechtenstein where I stayed all of 30 minutes. There is not much to see there and being May day the post office was closed so could not buy any of the stamps for which it is famous but another country I can claim to have visited.
Friday had much better weather and I went up the Kronberg (1663 metres) and Hoher Kasten(1795 metres) cable cars.(I am fairly sure that Liechtenstein is in the centre of this photo)
I also found time that day to hike up 300 metres to a lake called Seealpsee and then on Saturday half way up the steep hillside near the hotel to an alpine meadow on the way to the Ebenalp, probably another 300 metres so hopefully I am keeping fit.
Saturday afternoon I returned to Munich. The train passes through Austria for about 10 minutes. I travelled the same route in 1974 and there were border guards and the train doors were locked while passing through Austria. Now the police came through as we entered Austria and the European Union but did no more than look at the cover of my passport.