Do you feel safe when using public transport? (I know many of my readers rarely or never do, so you may skip the first part of this post; it won't interest you.)
I am on one kind of train or other (local, regional or long-distance) almost every day, be it for work or my weekends at O.K.'s. Buses rarely feature, as I can easily cover the distances within my hometown on foot. But trains, and waiting at train stations of all sizes, at nearly all times of day or night, has been part of my life for "ever".
Personally, I have not experienced many situations when I felt unsafe. But I am cautious when, for instance, groups of drunk football fans gather on the platform, and keep out of their way as much as possible.
Also, Ludwigsburg train station is very crowded at certain times, and its stairs and tunnels are way too narrow for the masses of people having to go through. At such times, I keep my handbag very tight to my body (and ALWAYS closed, of course). Also, I dislike the feeling of being swept down the stairs in a mass of people pouring out of a commuter train; I keep my shoulders square, my head high and my step firm.
These small things have served me well. I have never fallen on the steps or stumbled on the platform, and my handbag or other things have never been stolen while travelling; nobody has ever threatened me directly.
But I know that many people - especially women - feel so unsafe about using public transport that they rather not use it at all.
Therefore, as part of my volunteer work, last Saturday (April 22) I had organised a talk with a police officer giving advice about safety and security. Maybe you remember that in my recent posts, I mentioned putting up posters and distributing leaflets - well, that was what it was about: Advertising the talk.
With everything we did to attract attention (social media, local newspapers, the posters and leaflets), attendance was still very small. Only about 12 people were there on Saturday morning - and half of us were family or "officals" from the town.
Never mind, it still was an interesting talk, and the police officer gave some good advice. She focused not only on possibly threatening situations but also on how to get up and down the stairs and on and off the trains safely, using a one-way system on the stairs and standing aside to let people get off before getting on the train - all those things that should be self-understood but more often than not are not observed.
Sunday, the 23rd of April, was again sunny and warm - much better than forecast. We slept in (the only time that entire week - I so needed that!) and had a late leisurely breakfast.
Leaving the house at 1:00 pm, we took a local train to the small town of Tamm, just two stops from Ludwigsburg. From there, we walked across the sunlit fields to the woods known as Rothenacker Wald.
I have said it before, but I never tire to say how beautiful the woods are this time of year, with the green leaves still small and tender enough to let plenty of sun through, and anemonae and other small flowers covering the ground. Birds sing, and the air smells of spring.
The route I had picked for us is one I have walked a few times in the past with my sister (see here and here), and once my Mum came along, too. O.K. had never been there, and so I introduced him to the views from Enzblick (Enz being the river in the valley, "Blick" meaning "view"), Leudelsbach (the small beck running at the bottom at the valley before it joins the river Enz) and the steep path leading up from the river to Schellenhof, a popular stopping place with a beer garden and restaurant.
That day, it was packed, and we did not stop for a shandy as we would have done otherwise. Instead, we walked back into Tamm and waited for the next train to Ludwigsburg. After 14.5 km under our feet, arriving home felt good. We ordered pizza and I made a salad to go with it. Eventually, O.K. had to leave and face the long drive home - I did not envy him!