Woke up a little after 05:00. Found an envelope that someone had pushed under the door. Turned out to be from a man who wrote that he worked for a Jazz record company, that he had been at the concert and wanted a few photos autographed that he had downloaded from the internet and printed out. I signed the photos and stuffed them into the self-addressed envelope he had provided. Then Zazen until 18:20, followed by a little breakfast at the hotel. At 07:30 we took a cab to the railway station where the train stood waiting and ready for boarding. The light was beautiful, with little pillow clouds covering the sky, and I wished I could spend the Morning walking around with my camera.
With a low hum the train started gliding through the Ausrian landscape, doing almost 140mph for some of the way. The train is the most civilized way to travel. I am glad I caught the travel agent’s mistake – at least I considered it a mistake. It seems that in this age of so many people booking their own travel, there are interesting changes happening in the travel-agent business. I imagine there are now only two classes of travel agents left:
1. Travel agents who work for corporations and for people with a certain amount of money available to them. These are agents who know geography well, who know the kinds of hotels that are in the best locations and offer better servies.
2. Travel agents who specialize in bottom-line travel planning. The absolutely cheapest fare from point A to point B. The least expensive hotels, often in out-of-the-way places.
I imagine that the market in between these two extremes has simply vanished, replaced by people making their own reservations via the internet, as we do most of the time. Doing it yourself works well, most of the time, but sometimes one needs the experience of an agent.
At the railway station in Munich we were might by Oliver. The city is crowded with Oktoberfest visitors. I was hoping to take a nap at the hotel, but it is naturally full and we might not be able to get into our rooms before 15:00.