>The Simplon Orient Express stops in Innsbruck, so I went down to the station to snap a few pictures of it.
(Here’s a quick look at a cabin, which a porter graciously allowed me to take from the window outside.)
As I was waiting on the platform (the train arrived 10 minutes late) I started thinking about the differences in security measured here and in America. If I remember correctly, only ticketed passengers were able to wait for an Amtrak train on the platform. After 9/11, the one or two times I took the train, I needed to provide a photo ID when I bought my ticket, and again to the conductor when he stamped my ticket. I was assigned a seat as well. Passengers were informed in the station and on the train that any deviation from the rules (moving to another seat, for example) would lead in our being ousted at the next stop and, I imagined, an interrogation and a free trip to Gitmo.
In Europe, anyone can wait on the platform, even people like me who just want to snap a few photos of the train. The porters were friendly, and happily posed smiling. No one asked me what business I had being there. I’m used to this freedom, and the contrast makes me wonder what “Land of the Free” really means. I don’t think it means what my government thinks it means.