He assumed that most Germans would speak English, but found that many people spoke only their native tongue, including the ticket inspector on the train.
The ticket inspector punched the mans ticket, then chatted cordially for a bit, making gestures like a windmill.
The man simply nodded from time to time to show him that he was interested.
When the ticket inspector had gone, an American woman in the compartment leaned forward and asked if he spoke German.
“No,” he confessed to her.
“Well that explains it”, she said.
“Explains what?”, the man asked her.
She replied, “It explains why you didn’t bat an eyelid when he told you that you were on the wrong train”.
Image used under a Collective Commons License from https://www.pikrepo.com/ffraw/neuchwanstein-castle-germany