Stuff you don’t want to hear as a visitor on a foreign train:
“Misuse of the lavatories will be punished!“
Further statements by the conductor made it clear his admonition was regarding violations of the smoking policy on board the train (i.e., No Smoking, not even while hiding in the WC.)
I will admit that I was a bit nervous before he clarified. One assumes one’s restroom behavior is similar to that of others, but, after all, it isn’t something easily brought up in conversation with one’s compartment mates whose native language and culture differs from one’s own.
Though the finer nuances of European international relations are beyond me, it seemed clear that the German conductor, upon taking over after the border crossing, was speaking specifically to Austrians on board.
I’m guessing he did so because Austria’s national attitude toward public smoking lags so far behind that of most modern states, but it might just be because the Germans are more strict about rule enforcement than the smaller nation sharing its language and a border to the south. Or maybe Germans just have a thing about bossing Austrians around?
As a tourist, I simply followed every rule as carefully as I could and took special care not to get up to any hijinks in the lavatories. One thing I definitely don’t want to experience of another culture is how they punish people on trains!