Subject: Re: Border stories and trains
Hello Frances and Ziners,

I've been on that steam train a couple of years ago on a trip from Trieste to Ljubljana. It was very fun, as the steam engine had been carefully restored, the crew wore vintage uniforms, a brass band was placed in one of the cars and played traditional Mitteleuropa songs. Along the ride a speaker commented the focus points like old stone bridges, breathtaking (for the engine) steep rises, abandoned stations and historical places. When riding inside galleries, red hot sparks flew along the windows from the engine funnel, an unusual sight for us electric-train people. In Ljubljana we were treated to a guided tour of the local train museum and, after lunch, a walking tour of the city centre. A great way to spend a day.

As for borders, we Europeans are used to cross them a lot, just some of them are, or better were, more impressive than others. I remember seeing for the first time, when EU was still only an economical association, the border between Belgium and Netherlands: just two signs and a money exchange booth, no bars, no guards. I've also witnessed the changing in another border crossing not far from here, between Italy and Austria, where the motorway ended in a row of police booths dividing traffic into lanes. Thoroughly checks in the Eighties, then just a quick glance at your ID; next step was the removal of bars and absence of police in late Nineties, and now even the booths and lanes are gone and you just drive through without even noticing there was a border once. After all, the churches, the woods, the grazing cows on both sides are perfectly identical, so why should someone notice?

Bye Paolo Trieste, Italy