We had two very interesting and diverse experiences in Innsbruck…I’ll hit them as they happened (the return trip next week)…

So we’re on our way to Venice from Germany, and pull into the Innsbruck train station in the early afternoon.  It’s a very pretty station with inlaid floors, lots of open space and floor-to-ceiling windows that look out on to a very quaint, old world street.  August went to go purchase our tickets to continue into Italy, and I hunkered down with our nine million bags (okay, there weren’t that many, but by then it sure seemed like it!).  So I’m standing there amidst our suitcases and backpacks, chilling and enjoying the beautiful day, when I happen to spy a duffel bag that is clearly not ours, sitting at the edge of our pile.  Now keep in mind this was back in ’95, and we’d been briefed extensively on terrorism and such before we departed the Azores.  Obviously this wasn’t the norm, and here I am, no real idea where August is, stuck in the middle of a train station with a decision to make.

I looked around, and at the street entrance are four Austrian cops, and honey, lemme tell you, they’re dressed for BEAR.  Full riot gear, Uzis and German Shepherds the size of small ponies.  After going through the checkpoint from Germany to Austria, I knew this was the norm for them rather than the exception, so it didn’t worry overmuch.  Plus, with this strange bag sitting at my feet, it was kinda reassuring.

So I decide that I’ll give it two minutes, and then I’ll move all of our crap over by the doors.  Those two minutes pass, and I do what I’d planned, making several trips until all of our stuff is piled on the inside of the doors, and leaving this duffel sitting all by it’s lonesome in the middle of the terminal.  Then I looked at my watch and thought…two more minutes and I’m moving everything outside and telling the cops…

About a minute and a half goes by and I’m prepping to yank everything and get out of blast range *g*, when a kid comes up and grabs the duffel, opens it and pokes around inside.  From where I’m standing I can see that it’s obviously filled with clothes and crap, so all of my terrorist fears were for naught.  I obviously looked like a safe American tourist, and he figured he’d unload his bag with me while he bought his ticket.  Damned kid!!  Scared the living crap out of me!

Nowadays I wouldn’t have even waited the coupla minutes…I would’ve gone straight to the cops, but that was before Khobar Towers, so even though we’d been warned, it struck more of a cautious note, rather than the kind of “oh shit” fear I would’ve felt in this day and age.  Ah, innocence!!  Anyway, after that our trip to Venice was unremarkable (except for the ticket agent basically announcing to everyone that August was military as he tried to buy his ticket…another no-no), but it was definitely a topic of conversation that night as we had “real” Italian pizza and a bottle of wine!!

Next week…our night and day in Hell aboard the Rome-Innsbruck-Venice-Germany train…

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