Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Day 5: Saturday August 10, 2013

Today provided what was surely the craziest day of the trip. And we knew it once the day ended. But the day started off fairly calm. We found a nice place for brunch late in the morning at a local German restaurant. It's the fifth day of the trip, and we've finally had our first real German meal. After eating, we picked our luggage up, having left it back at the hotel, and set off for the train station to leave Berlin. Once we got to the train station, things seemed pretty off. Our scheduled train, which had three layovers before arriving in Münster, was nowhere to be found. On the boards which have every train scheduled for the day, there was no record of our train anywhere. At first, we attributed it to our early arrival at the train station, and went to get drinks at Dunkin Donuts.
The train station in Berlin.
As our departure time crept closer, still with no record of our train, Oma and I went to investigate. After racing around the train station, we finally found someone at the information booth who spoke English. She told us that our train had been cancelled, but there was one leaving in just a half hour that was headed for the same destination. We naively thought all was settled, and boarded our train to the first layover, Hamburg.
Germany is full of fields of wind turbines.
We were pretty excited to be going to Hamburg, despite the short layover. It's one of the bigger cities in the country, and my grandfather had never been. As we got something to eat in the food court in the Hamburg train station, we heard chanting in the distance. A few seconds later, a group of about 15 people dressed in all black with bottles of vodka in their hands walked by screaming. One screamed "Heil Hitler." It was a pretty harrowing experience, a reminder that there really is antisemitism everywhere, even in the land that persecuted us worse than any other.
Boarding the train in Hamburg was pure chaos. Minutes before the train was scheduled to leave, they changed the track it was to leave from. We had to run to the train and in the mess that was the next few minutes, ended up sitting in first class, despite our tickets having us in second-class. And it's a good thing that we did.
Boy was this good to see. 
On the ride to our next layover, Uelzen, a man sitting near my grandparents figured out that we were headed for the wrong city. There is a big big difference between the Münster with the umlaut (two dots) and the Munster, without the dots. We wanted to be going to Münster in Westphalia, but made the wrong reservation and were on our way to Munster, which is nowhere near where we wanted to be going. Once we got to Uelzen, we bought tickets to head all the way back to Hamburg, and then make our way to the right Münster. Despite the craziness, we were in pretty high spirits, joking the whole way to the correct city. Originally, we were supposed to arrive in Münster at 7 PM. Instead, we got there a little after 1 AM on Sunday morning. When we finally got there, we were picked up by our friends in the city and went immediately to our hotel. For one in the morning, the city was pretty alive. The five of us, however, were not. What a day.

Beer of the day: A much-needed Hefeweizen at 2 in the morning

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