When Travel is a Bit Too Dangerous:
Touring Austria and Germany
by Rosemary E. Musachio  1997  

On a trip through Germany and Austria, Rosemary E. Musachio, Editor of "The Able Informer," found that travel and adventure often make strange bedfellows.

Have you ever noticed how the word "travel" is usually followed by "fun and adventure?" What a combination! These words blend together like orange juice and vodka.

Take, for example, when my two best friends and I took a trip to Germany and Austria a couple years ago. I guess the adventure part started even before we arrived in Germany.

After we landed at LaGuardia Airport in New York, we were supposed to take a connecting flight to Munich. Since the flight was in another terminal, the airline was supposed to take us over with a shuttle bus. Two hours later the bus arrived just in the nick of time so we could miss our flight. Out of the goodness of their hearts--which showed after an hour of arguing with airline officials--they allowed us to take another flight. We even rode first class!

As soon as we arrived in Munich, we encountered another adventure that many travelers experience: the airline misplaced our luggage, along with my wheelchair. Where in the world would I find a wheelchair rental place in Munich? Besides worrying about that, I also had to contend with my one friend's hysteria. You know the impression "acting like a chicken with its head cut off?" Well, that's how my friend looked like as he paced around the airport trying to ask officials what happened with our luggage and my wheelchair. Mind you, none of us spoke or understood German so that made our trip more of an adventure. My friend became so hysterical that he wanted to return home. My girlfriend reacted completely the opposite of him, being calm and optimistic about the whole thing. As for me, I was pretty calm. Well, ok, I thought our stuff was in Italy where my mom went on her trip.

 Our luggage and, most importantly, my wheelchair finally arrived on another flight two hours later. Now I figured we were ready for some fun since we had enough adventure to last the entire trip. NOT! As we were marveling at the gold decor of the Residence Museum, my wheelchair decided to have a little fun of its own by rolling down three steps with me in it. This time my male friend acted like two chickens with their heads cut off. He kept saying, "Oh my God. It's my fault." Meanwhile, I was worrying about his being upset, not about the fact that my chin bled like there was no tomorrow. Then I did what not many other American tourists do when they visit Germany: ride in an ambulance. Actually, the ambulance wasn't that bad since the paramedics were hunks.

Obviously, I was all right because we continued on to Austria. As soon as we passed the German-Austrian border, an uplifting feeling overcame me. Seeing all those awesome, majestic mountains with small quaint Bavarian houses scattered beneath them made me believe the adventurous part of our trip was behind us, leaving the way for only fun and serenity.

And that's exactly what happened--at least until we returned to the Munich airport. In Austria we visited more churches than the Pope. Some had beautiful gold wall engravings and gold altars; others had magnificent wall paintings of religious figures. I don't know if going to all those churches helped our souls any, but it sure did wonders for our understanding of religious contributions.

Since one of the Austrian cities we went to was Salzburg, my male friend had to take the "Sound of Music Tour." Even though he drove my girl friend and me crazy with his continuous singing of the movie's songs, the tour was a blast, especially because of our tour guide Leopold. Leopold wasn't your ordinary tour guide who only describes famous landmarks and sites. He also told us about all the dirt that went on behind "The Sound of Music," kind of like a male German version of Joan Rivers. By the way, according to Leopold, the real Marie Van Trapp was a dog compared to Julie Andrews.

Our days in Austria flew away and soon we were back in Munich. We had our share of fun but, unfortunately, not our share of adventure yet. After standing in line for an hour waiting for our luggage to be checked, the airline clerk told us our tickets were cancelled.

Remember when the airline officials in New York gave us first class seats? Well, those angels (cough) in New York must have wanted us to prolong our stay overseas permanently. Once again, however, we managed to nicely persuade them to put us on another flight. It's a pity they could only squeeze us into first class again.

We landed in New York! I thought our adventurous, fun trip was finally over. Well, at least the fun was over, but the adventure still continued. Because the weather was bad, our connecting flight to Cleveland was delayed seven hours, which wouldn't have been so bad if the airline had provided me with a wheelchair. But it didn't! Two hours later, however, it did give me a vertical stretcher which was just as comfortable as a bed of nails.

Next time I think I'll try something a little less adventurous like traveling down the Amazon River on a raft.

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