Tuesday, September 18, 2018

The Overnight Train, Part 2

(Weeks ago, I posted Part 1 of this saga, and never managed to get it together to complete the story. Here is Part 2. And here's the link to Part 1, so this has its proper context: http://redemma1991.blogspot.com/2018/08/sol-tuesday-overnight-train-part-1.html)

    After sleeping fitfully, we arrived in Szczecin at our scheduled time of 8:18, even though we’d left Krakow over an hour late. After finding some breakfast (yogurt granola fruit jam parfaits), we went to the assigned platform, which made it obvious that the train was originating in that station—its track was a dead-end. Maybe 20 people got on when it arrived, and I promptly dozed off. We had a two-hour trip to Berlin. 
   After about an hour Christie woke me to say that everyone had gotten off the train. I thought that meant we should also get off. We were at a platform in the middle of nowhere, but all the passengers were also there. After a while the train pulled out back in the direction it had come. We approached a young German woman we had spoken to before getting on the train to ask if she knew what was happening, and she said that another train was coming and going to the main Berlin station; our ticket was for the station in the former East Berlin.
   (in retrospect, I wonder if we were at the border between Poland and Germany, a border where there used to be passport control and other hindrances to travel, but with Poland joining the EU, that no longer matters.)
   We got on that train, not sure whether we would have to pay an extra charge, but the conductor said we were fine. And indeed this train did stop at Berlin Lichtenberg. I had previously e-mailed our Berlin hotel to ask if they could have a taxi meet us at Lichtenberg, and she’d said they couldn’t but there were always lots of taxis at the station. Guess what, there were no taxis at that station. A woman at a nearby kiosk said we could call for one, but our phones had no service outside the US.
    So, we eventually decided to buy S-bahn tickets for the length of our stay and take the S bahn to the main Berlin train station, where hopefully we could find taxis. (No S bahn went near our hotel.) After first getting on an S bahn in the wrong direction, and then getting on one that didn’t go all the way to our destination, eventually we found taxis! One of which took us to our hotel. Which was very nice indeed.

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