Hej Berlin

Today has been a long day.

I was up at half 9 to check out, and managed to just catch my 10:39 train from Praha-Holešovice to Berlin, via Dresden.

The scenery was incredible, and once I’d moved from my seat in first class (I hadn’t been paying attention when I got on) to a free second class seat, I spent a lot of the trip towards Dresden at the window.

There were a few issues with the train journey. Firstly, the dining car/restaurant service was atrocious. I stood for ages, waiting to be served, and then got told off by the waiter for standing in his way. So I moved to where I had been told to stand and waited. And waited. The shutters were only half way up, so I pushed it fully open to make the point that I was still waiting. The result was that the chef slammed his door on me. Another woman joined me, and when we asked when we would get served, the waiter turned around and yelled, “I have a full dining car. You are second class and will wait!”

So we left.

I eventually returned at 2pm, since I hadn’t eaten all day. I had hoped that try had changed shifts, since we were now in Germany, but I was out of luck. I spent about five minutes – speedy! – waiting to be served, then about fifteen minutes waiting for my ham and cheese sandwich to be made. It then cost me just under 5€. I wish I’d waited and just gone hungry.

The second problem was not as bad, but I couldn’t locate the plug socket anywhere in my section. My phone got down to 6% battery, before it died on me. This was only problematic since I was getting my dad to book me a hostel online, since I had no Internet and no hostel for the night.

I asked about the plug socket, and someone discovered them behind the curtains. A German man and I then shared a rant about the restaurant service, before returning to reading out respective books.

We arrived in Berlin Hauptbahnhof at last, and it was amazing. The station itself in incredible and monumental in size, all glass exterior. I headed outside, and could see the Reichstag from where I stood, so headed for it. I figured I could also find a map in the vicinity and figure out how I was to get to my hostel.

The Reichstag was overrun with tourists as expected, but it is a majestic building. I found a souvenir shop near, and found a map and guide book, coming to 11,60€, a far cry from the free map and 3€ guide book I had for Prague.

I took the U-bahn back to Hbf, and then the S-bahn (basically the overground service) to Westkreuz, which looked the closest on the map.

I was wrong.

I became completely lost, wandering for about half an hour, and then eventually gave up and located a bus stop that seemed to be going in the right direction. It did indeed take me practically to the hostel. Wunderbar!

At the hostel, I was shown around and then relaxed in the lounge with a cup of tea and my guidebook. I got chatting with two Australian brothers, and we shared travel tales. Add the even more travelled Matt, who’d just come recently from Macedonia, and was previously in Egypt, leaving the day before the troubles kicked off.

I went with them to the 24h Russian convenience store, where I bought my groceries and they bought beer, before heading our separate ways.

They are probably in a bar or club now, while I’m eating crisps and watching the US Open back at the hostel.

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