I spent Friday night and Saturday in Switzerland, staying with my partner Wolf. He lives in Goldach on the lake Bodensee. As usual, I went by train.
My favourite route is through Lindau. You go from Munich via Buchloe, Kaufbeuern, Kempten, Immenstadt, Oberstaufen and see the entire beautiful Allgäu. I always enjoy it very much. And while I travel, I can read a little bit and prepare for various topics.
Unfortunately, it is not possible for me to buy a ticket all the way to Goldach in Munich. You can neither do it on the internet, nor at the counter. To be sure, you can buy a ticket to St. Margrethen, but not to the small villages such Rorschach or – well – Goldach. The same was again true last week.
Mind your, I can easily print the time schedule to Goldach via Lindau in Germany. First, you take the Alex to Lindau. Consequently, I buy a “Bayern Ticket”. It is valid as far as Lindau, where I have to change anyway.
Normally, the change of trains to the Bregenz S-Bahn or even directly to St. Margrethen takes a little more than 20 minutes. That means I usually have enough time to purchase my ticket for the way from Lindau to Goldach in Lindau.
This time, however, my schedule says I only have five minutes. And since a German train is never on time, this will be tight. Of course, I was right. Although my Alex was on time all the rest of the way, it had to sit in front of a red signal for five minutes just before Lindau Central Station.
And (of course) we arrive late in Lindau. The connecting train to Bregenz/St. Magrethen is waiting, but the voice coming through the loudspeaker advises us to hurry. However, I have no ticket for continuing my travel. Nor can you buy a ticket in Austrian trains.
Consequently, I must make up my mind real quick.
Alternative 1: board without valid ticket.
The risk of being caught is not very high. The train ticket is about 10 Euros, as far as I know, the penalty is 40 Euros. The risk of getting caught is actually even lower than 10 %. Following game theory, a lot can be said in favour of riding without a valid ticket.
Alternative 2: buy ticket.
If I buy a ticket, I will arrive forty minutes later. And additional inconveniences will follow: I have to inform my friend about my delayed arrival, because he told me he is going to meet me. Also, I have to change more often. And the stay in Lindau is rather long.
I remember the Döner Man at Lindau Railway Station. The Döner he sells is really tasty. Consequently, what I do is not go towards the Bregenz S-Bahn to St. Margrethen. Instead, I turn towards the Lindau Station concourse.
The first thing I do is buy my ticket to Goldach. I have to use an Austrian ticket machine. Because the German ticket machine cannot deliver. I pay 10.50 Euros for the short way from Lindau to Goldach.
For those of you who never go by train: Lindau, just like Salzburg used to be (Germany/Austria) or St. Margrethen (Austria/Switzerland) is a Border Station ; you will find the ticket machines for two railway companies.
Afterwards, I go to the Döner Man, wishing to buy a Döner. Since I now have plenty of time, I take a closer look at the prices. In Lindau, you get the “normal” Döner for 4 Euros. The tasty one with cheese is 4.50 Euros and the Dürüm Döner is five Euros!
Some way or other, I seem to remember totally different Döner prices. Even without thinking way back to times when we paid with the Deutsche Mark.
Now I offer a bet: five years from now, the normal Döner at Lindau Central Station will be 7.50 Euros or more. And the ticket from Lindau to Goldach will be at least twice the price of the Döner.
Who wants to bet against me?
(Translated by EG)
In the evening, we meet Barbara in St. Margarethen. All the Swiss trains on the display are on time. Only one train – the EC from Germany – is expected to be late. The loudspeaker just says: “Due to something that happened abroad, the train will be 10 minutes late”.
On the way back, something similar happened. We departed Switzerland and Lindau (!) on time, then had to wait for the second part of the train in Immenstadt. We changed trains in Buchloe – fortunately, the connection to Munich was also late. …