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21 June 2011 / leggypeggy

‘neath the streets of Boston

Remember the Kingston Trio song about the man caught forever on the Boston underground? The song is called Charlie on the MTA and the chorus is

Did he ever return,
No he never returned
And his fate is still unlearn’d
He may ride forever
‘neath the streets of Boston
He’s the man who never returned.

He needed an extra nickel in order to exit the train, and although his wife came to the station every day and handed him a sandwich as the train rumbled by, she never handed him a nickel. Hmm! Well, we won’t dwell on that.

German rail pass after a trip through the washing machine.

But I think of the song almost every time we travel on an inner city train or underground in Germany or Belgium? Why? Because about a third of the time, Poor John and I are riding without paying. I bought day passes religiously the first few days we were here, but no one ever checks. Then you get complacent. Our German rail pass works everywhere for the whole day when we travel between cities. Our Belgian rail pass was the same.

Apparently there are plainclothes inspectors who materialise from nowhere and want to see your ticket. If you don’t have one, it’s a 40-euro fine per person. We haven’t seen a single inspector…until today. We had just returned from Brussels to Berlin and were heading to Nollendorfplatz when a plainclothes inspector breezed through our carriage. Oh my gosh, thank goodness we were legal today! But he stopped just short of us when he caught his perpetrator—a very well-dressed woman who didn’t seem the least bit concerned. He bundled her off the train, the doors closed and off we went.

The pics here are of our German rail pass. Poor John got us a discount Deutsche Bahn (German Rail) birthday sale price of A$770 for the two of us for 10 days of travel anywhere in the country within 30 days. This is a rock bottom price (available only to non-residents of Europe) and unbelievable value. We have zigzagged all over Germany on this pass, and today’s single trip from Brussels back to Berlin alone would have cost almost A$600.

If you are wondering why the ticket looks so tatty, it’s not from overuse. It’s because Poor John forgot to take it out of his pocket before it had a trip through the washing machine. Fortunately, the conductors are amused.

One more ride left.


Leave a Comment
  1. Louise M Oliver / Jun 22 2011 7:33 am

    Hi Peggy,
    Now that’s the sort of ticket monitoring you want! Good on you. My sense of being legal and correct probably wouldn’t enable me to do it even if, as is the case with you and Poor John, I was almost completely confident that I wasn’t going to get caught. And how extraordinary that on the one day you had bought a ticket the conductor came through. Those rail passes are fantastic value. It costs $79.00 to travel from here to Sydney on the low rate but $129.00 during the school holidays.



  2. Sy S. NYC / Jun 22 2011 8:05 am

    I love the Eur-rail passes in Europe. Back in 1970 I had a three month pass and I think I paid $120. I went from Luxemburg to Spain, north to Norway Sweden, back to Paris (London) and then overland by rail to Istanbul Turkey
    (The orient express). Got to sleep on the trains to save some hotel costs….

    BTW, great that you have a descent DSLR Canon camera and lens…… and your good photography shows it.
    Make sure you sent photos to a website (Photo service company) or a friends location…. for back-ups. Since I love photography, losing your images can be a big loss on your great trip from Europe to Sydney.

    Sy S.


  3. jeanleesworld / Apr 16 2016 12:01 am

    Some day, when children are old enough to appreciate the journey, we hope to take them to Germany. I’m glad they accepted Poor John’s pass–I’m always leaving stuff in my pockets! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Apr 16 2016 12:51 am

      Germany is a very easy place to travel, so it will be a great place to take your children.

      Liked by 1 person

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