Sometimes when reflecting on travels I am reminded of the strangest moments and equally the kindness of the strangers.
When I was first travelling solo in 2014, the train I was taking from Bologna to Munich was delayed after a tree had fallen over the tracks. Because it was a Sunday (never travel on a Sunday!!) nobody was coming to fix it. After a lot of fast-speaking German over a loud-speaker and a phone in my hand which was completely useless in the Australia Alps, I was stranded.
Before this I was speaking with a lovely student at Munich University after they saw the title of a poetry book sitting by my side on the train. We had started talking and I told them about my travels.
When the train had stopped and we were asked to leave in Innsbruck… and here I should add that I packed clothes for Australian summer which is not so compatible with the climate of the Alps… the kind stranger lent me their phone to call the friends waiting in Munich and find my way there. We both found functioning public transport, after most of the train travellers went back into Italy, and we were on our way through the mountains with more conversation to share.
This was such a wonderful experience and really opened my eyes to travellers when they are lost or in need. Simply sharing a set of directions or taking the time to look up a map can be the world of help and I have since done this when I know the area we are in. And I just love that all of this was triggered by a book of poetry by my side in some very beautiful (and cold!) mountains in Austria. Thank you Wordsworth and Coleridge – both for the poetry and the conversation starter!
Travels in Austria between Italy and Germany, July 2016