Friday, July 19, 2013

Planes, Trains and Auto-mobiles: A Final Adventure in Berlin

So as we're well into the final countdown it was only appropriate that one more adventure be had. Having done my fair share of travelling there was only one place that could round off this year: The bats*it crazy German Capital.

Now if you've been following my year abroad 1. you really need something better to do on the internet and 2. you'll know that when it comes to trains I haven't exactly had the best run, (with the exception of Italy). Well, dear reader, on the first weekend of July 2013 (Yes I know that was almost 2 weeks ago. Shut it.) I truly managed to outdo myself. Now with the prospect of a 12 hour journey ahead of us our initial thought for the most comfortable and trouble free expedition would be the train. Apparently we weren't the only ones who had this thought as the train was full. Very full. So full in fact that it resulted in our party of 7 travelling in 4 different ways. Yes you guessed it, plane, train, auto-mobile and bus. (In fact the working title for the sequel). It would appear that the short straw was pulled by those of us that decided to unwittingly put our faith one again in Deutsche Bahn, in the form of a 2 and a half hour delay in Offenburg. The reason we were given? 'A Police operation' and the subsequent lock down of the station Now I hadn't known about the existence of Offenberg before then and now, to be completely honest and at the risk of completely loosing my strong Offenberg based readership, I want it to burn.

Still we arrived. Eventually. So what to do in Berlin? Well after rounding up the group and feeding the Canadian out first port of call was the Reichstag or German Parliament building and after that the next 2 days were filled with the standard tourist spots throughout the city. Brandenburg Gate, Checkpoint Charlie, The Berlin Wall, the Canadian Embassy (don't ask), The East Side Gallery, the DDR museum which has been closed for 2 years, The T.V Tower, the Holocaust  memorial, the grounds of the Olympic Park which contained the most over compensating motorcyclist I have ever seen. All this adventuring was promptly followed by naps and cocktails. Both of which I'm sure you'll agree are very very important. Which leads me on the the Berliner style of enjoying their Saturday nights. Lets just say that's where the bats*it crazy aspect comes from. If you're wandering down the street at midnight don't be too surprised if you see a impromptu gig break out on every corner. Well I say gig. What I mean is Busker + copious amounts of drunk people - a sense of shame = attempt to make your way down the street. Also don't be surprised if the only reason you go home is because the sunrise is telling you to. Or if you go to a club you get in at 07:30 wondering what the hell happened. 

Now, remember how I explained the difficulties involved in getting there? Well lets just say that the journey home had me yearning for the simplicity involved in getting there.
Deutsche Bahn Pro Tip: for the love of God check and double check and why not triple check the validity of special offer tickets on various train types. If you don't you may or may not (you will) get thrown off the train in the middle of nowhere. Like nowhere. I mean it, you may end up in a place where it's only selling point is it's distance from other places (there was a sign). So having to be back to Konstanz for an exam the next day not getting back wasn't an option. Unfortunately Deutsche Bahn wanted us to really earn it. Having gotten various timetables for various routes home and most definitely giving the lady behind the desk in the station the busiest and most exciting day she's had in years.  We came up with a plan:
We get to Frankfurt. We get a car. We road-trip.

Again, life hates us. Having rang ahead it still managed to take the bulk of an hour to actually get into the car, but I think belting out Bohemian Rhapsody while rocking down the Autobahn in a BMW 1 series was worth it.

Having travelled to quite a few places throughout the year i firmly believe there was no better way to round of the travelling portion of my adventures than by going to the nations capital.
That said, though I'm pretty sure any posts from here on out will be soaked in tinged with sadness I still have a week of adventures and fun times ahead of me in Konstanz and I plan to make the most of every second.

(Final two pictures courtesy of Rhys even if he doesn't know it yet)

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