Snow, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
Trip Start Feb 04, 2012
23Trip End Ongoing
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Where I stayed
My wonderfully confused brain decided that 05.30am was a good time to get up today, I disagreed but after half an hour of trying and failing to get back to sleep I gave in and got ready for the day. Due to my early start was the first person to come down for breakfast and as a result I got to sit at a table next to the window and watch the snow fall. Did I mention it was SNOWING!! I love snow especially when it is floating through the sky. It is so soft and peaceful and lovely. Once I had consumed my usual breakfast I went back to my room, got all my things together, stripped my bed and checked out of the hostel. The lady at the desk informed me that to reach the main train station I had to cross the road and catch the 142 bus, of course as I mounted the steps of the bus I realised that I had no idea which stop to get off at or even what the station looked like. Fortunately for me I spotted another traveller with a suitcase and decided that I may as well follow him.
The stalking paid of as the mystery traveller knew exactly where he was going. The Berlin Hauptbahnhof was intimidating to put it lightly, it was an absolutely massive structure filled with shops, trains and signs in German. I made a beeline for the information desk and was told that ticket purchasing was 2 floors above me. I found the office pretty easily and spoke to a lovely German women who sold me a ticket to Dresden for 40 euro. The reason that I bought a ticket instead of using my eurail pass is that it is only valid for 15 days of travel within a 2 month period and I will be catching 18 trains. I am therefore selecting 3 of what I believe are the cheapest and easiest sections of my trip and buying tickets for them. Anyway back on track (ha ha) the woman informed me that my train would be departing from platform 13. Initially I had thought that I would be able to sit on the platform and read for an hour while I waited for the train to depart, I was wrong. The platform was barely undercover and freezing wind brought little flurries of snow through the entry, I returned downstairs to Dunkin Donuts, ordered a small coffee and sat and read my book until 10.30.
15 minutes seemed like a lot of time to walk the 2 minutes to the platform, however the world decided to mock my relaxation by making my train disappear. I felt a little twinge of anxiety as I realised that I had 10 minutes to find my train...surely there was a departure board somewhere. The board was found easily but it had no mention of Dresden on it leaving me 5 minutes to get to my correct platform. In desperation I ran back to 13 and yelled "sprechen sie englisch" to a crowd of people gathered there. One German guy piped up and I asked him if he knew where the Dresden train was departing from, he did, it had been moved to platform 11. With two minutes left I sprinted down the stairs and across the hall to 11, there was another small group of people standing around with luggage who confirmed that the Dresden train was leaving from the platform but it had been delayed by an hour. Not really the stressless introduction to European train travel which I had been hoping for.
Once on the train I relaxed and set about reading my book (A Game of Thrones) while the world raced by. The 2 hour train trip passed surprisingly quickly, I glanced up every now and again to look at the changing countryside. As we travelled further south the fine dusting of snow in Berlin turned into a proper white out and by the time we reached Dresden there was a thick layer of it everywhere. I decided that going to the ticket office while I was at the station to get my pass activated would save me a bit of time. Surprisingly it went very smoothly and I'll be able to just jump on a train on Saturday.
There was no way that I was going to willingly navigate through the blizzard to my hostel so I took a taxi through the city centre. Hofgarten 1824 was much less of a hostel and more of a hotel, my room is very clean and light but it is a hotel room with bunk beds in it. Luckily I am the only person here so far because I really don't think it'll work with multiple people in in. I couldn't see any way that I was going to be able to go and see anything this evening so I resigned myself to staying in my room with the exception of a little walk in the snow.