We stayed in the pretty north Austrian town of Gmund on holiday, remarkable because was split in two between Austria and Czechoslovakia after WWII. The other part of the town (now part of the Czech Republic) is called Czeske Velenice and was a mere 5 minute walk away across a now unmanned yet still imposing looking border post.
A little further on was the town’s (both portions) main railway station. Ceske Velenice inherited it as part of its allotted portion. Gmund’s station is tiny by comparison.
To my eye the station itself looks little changed from the communist era, though I’m sure the residents could put me right on that.
Having seen some stark contrasts between some of the towns and villages either side of the border, my husband had an interesting chat with one of the train drivers.
‘Are you happy?’ he asked. ‘Yes, I am’, was the smiled reply, ‘I don’t have the latest phone or car, but me and my family have a comfortable life. We don’t need the latest things to be happy with our friends and family’.
You might think that sounds a bit forced or rote, but hubby said his reply was spontaneous and genuine – remember I’m reporting his report of the conversation. In our world of must-haves and keeping up with the Joneses, it was food for thought.