The next 6 hours are an emotional blur for me. I sat at the train station having no clue what to do next. Clearly I could barely manage myself, not to mention our 2 heavy suitcases. Everyone waiting at the station knew what had happened. This amazing family from San Diego immediatly stepped up & took charge. David & his wife Sigia convinced me that the only sane thing to do was go to Munich on the next train, as that was The Plan that Greg would know. They comforted me with the reminder that young, strong Pacille was with Greg & would help him in all regards, esp to realize that this is what I would do. Besides, what could I do basically stuck outside after everyone who knew the situation got on the Munich train w/o me?! I couldn't even stand up from the low bench! Of course, none of us had any phones to reach each other. A 17 yr old girl from Germany kept handing me Kleenex, and when the REAL train to Munich arrived, lugged both heavy suitcases into an empty cabin to sit with me while the American family with their 3 teenage kids sat next door. Immediatly they all convened in my cabin as the train pulled off & we started making plans. Sigia ran to get a train official (what are "train stewardess & stewards" called???) to come over. Wow! Not only didn't I have a ticket, I didn't even have a passport! And I was sitting in a 1st Class cabin! Thank God he spoke English well enough to totally grasp the situation. Tomas offered to use his cell phone to call some key stations along the way, including Munich & the station we just left Schwandof to give Greg the message ==> Cheryl is going to Laurie's apt in Munich! Tomas promised that all these stations would make loud-speaker announcements IN ENGLISH for Greg to come get this message! Meanwhile I learned that Greg's Mystery Train would end at a stop where my train was stopping next. Announcements would be made at that station at well. So when we reached that large train station, all My Heroes got off the train and RAN like crazy through the large station looking for the man they'd recognize as Greg. Christina, the 17 yr old German, came back sweating from all the running she did in the 10 min. stop. Meanwhile I was just praying they'd find Greg AND esp that they'd all get back on our train before it left!!
NO LUCK! No one saw Greg, though Christina heard the message for Greg twice during her search.
It was a long fretful train ride back to Munich. I had no idea how I'd get to Laurie's apt at all, esp with no money! David & Sigia stopped in with a plan: I would ride in their family's cab to drop off their family at their Munich hotel, then David would ride with me to Laurie's apt, carry my luggage, get me settled, & return to his family. Thank God that I knew my way to Laurie's apt AND that I was the one with the key! David assured me that Greg would eventually appear at Laurie's apt, even if it was the next day (OMG!) because he simply wouldn't know where else to go.
So with that plan in place, Tomas the Train Official appears with the news that Greg has been found! He had Pacille had gotten off at the very next stop from our separation... where there was no building or personnel at all... & waited for the next train back to Schwandof (where we separated), convinced that I would have waiting for him there. Fortunately when back in Schwandof he told an employee there about our problem & received the message we had sent to all nearby stations! So he & Pacille waited for the next train to Munich, confident that eventually we'd meet up.
Meanwhile My Heroes & I celebrated the good news. David's family could once again resume their plans w/o me, but knowing I had no money David gave me 10 Euro as I now could wait for Greg's train in Hauptbahnhof station in Munich w/o going to Laurie's apt after all. AND I could now afford a Diet Coke:)
And more good news! Tomas had arranged for someone to meet me in Munich with a wheelchair! OMG! My exhausted right leg could not have been happier. Hans was indeed waiting with a wheelchair. As I had a 2 hour wait for Greg's train, he wheeled me into a Help Room, when volunteers care for Problem People like me as well as homeless. Their hot tea & bread/butter sandwich could not have tasted better!
At the appointed time for Greg's arrival, another volunteer wheeled me to correct train platform to wait for Greg's train to empty. I can't describe the group hug when I saw Greg & Pasille coming down the ramp. It was beautiful!
We reached Laurie's apt yesterday, swapping all the details of the story. Pacille went on to Italy as planned. Too bad I won't ever see these dear people again, but be confident that I WILL absolutely return David's family his 10 Euro with a special pair of handmade earrings for Sigia. I wish I had addresses for the others...
Ok, I confess I am exhausted just thinking about all this again, but I hope this wasn't too boring to relive with me. I'm putting a little weight on my bum foot again & am getting more confident on crutches. Of course, crutches are a lot easier to manage in Laurie's apt, PLUS my ankle is beginning to handle weight w/o pain! Given my ankle's improvement, I AM ENTIRELY OPTIMISTIC THAT THE PRAGUE DOC'S PROGNOSIS WAS 'RIGHT ON.' So Greg & I still plan to leave in our rental car tomorrow to drive 10 of the 15 days planned for our road trip through Germany's lovely countryside. I believe my foot will be good as new after this driving trip. (Ok, fingers crossed!) Barring any further OMG events, I'll try to write a BRIEF recap when we return to Munich for a happy face-to-face with our little clan. We have not yet seen Laurie, Eric, or the 2 gremlins at all, as they've been in Italy the entire time since June 2.
Meanwhile I'm hoping for TRULY BORING travel, with a foot that returns to normal while driving. Thanks for hanging in there through this saga:)