My Refugee Experience

 An image similar to the one I saw in Vienna train station. (photo borrowed from demotix)

An image similar to the one I saw in Vienna train station. (photo borrowed from demotix)

At the end of September I took a trip to Europe. First stop Budapest, second stop Vienna and third (and last) stop, Munich.

By the time my friend and I arrived in Budapest the refugees had already moved onward towards Germany through Austria. It wasn't until our second leg of our vacation when we got off a train in Vienna that the news we hear and read about in the US started to become a reality.

Vienna's train station was filled with refugees, there was even designated refugee wifi in efforts to help the individuals with communication.

We only spent a few short days in Veinna before heading to our last destination, Munich.

We arrived back at the Vienna train station to start our journey. Teh scene of the train station had not changed. We boarded our train and as we got settled in we were informed that our train will stop service in Salzburg, Austria. Meaning it will NOT cross over the German boarder.

Why? Because the boarder was closed due to the influx of refugees. What was selfishly an adventure to us was a nightmare to many.

We had to change trains 90 minutes into our journey in order to ultimately reach Munich. As we crossed over the German boarder at that point our train was 100% full with passengers, 50% of them were Syrian refugees. Most could not speak english and those that could spoke broken english.

My friend and I met two boys who were 18 and 19, all they had were their backpacks and had been traveling for 7 days with hopes of getting to a northern European country. We also spoke to a family, mainly the father/husband since he was the one who could speak some english. Him and his family had been traveling for almost a month with the hopes of ultimately residing in Saudi Arabia.

Those were only two stories from one train filled with many more lives and many more stories.

Reading about something versus experiencing it is completely different. It is hard to describe the wave of emotions that came over me when I realized that these people are fighting for their lives, taking risks, having no clue if they'll make it through tomorrow or where they'll sleep was a sobering one. It isn't just a newstory. It is reality.

I was and still am to this day reminded of all the wonderful things to be grateful in life for and to keep life in perspective.

With love, Amanda Bo