Salzach riverIn my first post I talked about the challenges of dealing with my son’s food allergies, both during my family’s long-haul flight to Munich and once we reached the city.

Turns out the train ride from Munich to Salzburg would prove to be an even bigger challenge.

Why? Traveling short distances is in some ways more challenging with food-allergic kids. On our long-haul flight to Munich we were able to check  our bags, so we were relieved of that burden. But on the train to Salzburg we had to carry all our baggage (in addition to keeping track of our son).

Aside from the inconvenience of not really having a free hand, we had to deal with bags that are heavier than average, given the amount of food we have to pack to accommodate my son’s allergies. And since we tend to travel internationally for two to three weeks at a time with a sometimes moody 3-year-old, we pack significant quantities. Among the things we have in our bags:

  • 2 bags of rice cakes
  • 2-3 bags of chips and gluten-free crackers
  • 4-6 pouches of seaweed snacks
  • At least 2-3 packets of rice and quinoa
  • Up to 16 fruit pouches

How the train to Salzburg turned into a nightmare bus ride

Munich to Salzburg train

Given our overloaded suitcases, we hoped to have minimal issues during the actual journey. Unfortunately, that was far from the case as we took the train to Salzburg from Munich.

Normally, the train is a bit less than two hours, but our ride was significantly longer and less relaxing. When we got to the station, we learned we would have to get off at the last stop in Germany due to the refugee crisis. Austria was a central figure in the crisis and had detained refugees at the border, so no trains were allowed to cross in either direction. We would instead have to take a bus into Salzburg.

A bus. With lots of luggage. And a 3-year-old.

This turned into a nightmare.

We got off at the station, lugging our bags, and waited with about 100 people for about 45 minutes in the dark, at night, for a bus we weren’t even sure would come.

Finally, it did come. And of course, everyone fought to get on. With our heavy suitcases and sleepy child we were significantly more burdened than many of the other travelers, and I hate to report that no one even remotely tried to offer us any assistance or space as we tried to board the bus.

Luckily, we made it on, but had to contort ourselves to hold onto our luggage and son.

While standing.

About an hour later, we made it to the station in Salzburg and then had to figure out how to get a taxi. And eventually we did. Miraculously, that leg of the trip did not sour us on family travel. Though it came close.


Salzburg itself was well worth the visit. It is an incredibly beautiful city on the Salzach river that houses an old town area with famous attractions, such as the Mozart family home.

Perhaps what Salzburg is best known for is its “Sound of Music “tour, which was great. We  saw the beauty of the hills surrounding Salzburg (they truly are alive) and all of the famous sites of the movie. It’s actually a great way to acquaint yourself with the immediate areas outside of Salzburg proper, which are truly gorgeous.