Sunday, January 6, 2013

Cobbles, trains & funky furniture

Up in the dark, breakfast at the hotel then off to the station.  Nuremberg is not well served by public transport between our hotel area and the main station at 7.45 on a Sunday morning so we decided to walk … it’s about half an hour with cases … not a difficult walk but quite noisy as we wheeled our bags over the cobbled streets … bet the neighbours loved us!

The train was due to go at 9 but we wanted to make really really sure we had plenty of time .. to find the platform and our booked seats … took a bit of time to decipher their numbering system for carriages & seats.  I’d booked 2 window seats so we got to watch the scenery speed by.

The train went via Bamberg & Leipzig through some really pretty countryside.  The weather was crappy – very low cloud & drizzle so we didn’t see as much as we might have on a good day but interesting none-the-less.  This is a pretty flat part of Germany and we passed lots of small towns which seemed to have been plonked in the middle of very gently rolling hills.  Other times we went through tiny little valleys which had a single row of houses on each side of the track then quite steep hills either side covered with birch trees – all without leaves now.

Quite suddenly we noticed a change in the houses, they seemed drabber and more boxy… and we realised we were now in the former East Germany.  Coming into Leipzig we passed heaps of  abandoned buildings, all with broken windows and covered in graffiti … seems bored teen-aged boys in the suburbs/outskirts of Leipzig are really no different to bored teen-aged boys in the suburbs/outskirts of Sydney! 

Berlin Hauptbahnhof (main train station) is HUGE! .. a massive multi-level construction of glass & steel.  The inter-city & country trains come in on what looks like the two bottom levels, and the city/suburban underground trains from the next level and finally the ‘S bahn’ or surface suburban trains o from ground level (or just below)  For the first time visitor it is massively confusing … lucky our resident translator had met us on the platform when our train arrived.

In need of food (I stupidly didn’t take snacks/nibbles with us) we headed for one of the many food court areas for something to eat.  Seems Hungry Jacks Whoppers in Berlin are not really that different to those at home.  I had a ham & cheese roll from a little bakery.. very good!

Back onto the train (U bahn – underground) to Alexanderplatz then a change to the ‘S bahn’ (above ground) to Rosenthaler Platz and a short walk got us here, to Zehdenicker Strasse and this fantastic apartment.  Bedroom, lounge (with sofabed for Lauren) Kitchen, bathroom (with washing machine – happily wizzing away now on a load of jeans) and a little balcony overlooking a central courtyard/garden.  Not sure when the building was built but the apartment is a funky mix of retro & modern and the lovely lady owner lives downstairs.  This will be home for the rest of the week.  It’s central, warm, the building has a lift, and for 50 euro /night there isn’t better value anywhere in Berlin.

Unpacked, first load of washing done & now hanging on a big ladder type towel heater in the bathroom to dry, second load in .. time to go look for some food!

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