Western Europe 2018 Trip – Part Four: Berlin

Following almost a week in the UK it was time to move onto Continental Europe, with the first stop being Berlin.

After waiting for my friend’s very late arriving connecting flight we headed to our accommodation, a spot of shopping along Kurfürstendamm and a late night walk around the Brandenburg Gate.

The following morning, I met up with another friend to explore Schloss Charlottenburg, where we found the “new wing” to be the best part of the tour.

The afternoon, was then spent doing a rapid tour through the Tiergarten, East Side Gallery, Alexanderplatz and the Mall of Berlin

Finally, after a packed day and a half, and a currywurst in hand, it was time to jump on the train to our next destination.

Central Europe Adventures 2016 – Part Twenty Three: Frankfurt

My final day in Germany began by being woken to the sound of Worms Cathedral’s bells tolling. After taking a shower in the freezing bathroom of my hotel room (it was more of a B&B) I carefully packed my suitcase and carry-on backpack for one final day of adventure and then the long journey back to Sydney.

Once I had finished breakfast I rugged up as it was a very cold morning and walked through the pedestrian mall of Worms back to the Worms’ Hauptbahnhof to catch a train to Frankfurt. As I walked I discovered a plaque noting the place where Luther had lived during the Diet of Worms.

To get to Frankfurt I had to catch a local service from Worms back to Mainz and then switch to a S-Bahn service. Although the local trains are “relatively” slow I had a good view of the vineyards that make the Rhine area so famous. I switched trains at Mainz’s Römisches Theater station, unfortunately the transfer time between the two trains was around 2 minutes so I did not have time to take a photo of the ruins of the Roman Theatre that the station is built beside.

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Central Europe Adventures 2016 – Part Twenty Two: Technik Museum Speyer

Central Europe Adventures 2016 – Part Twenty One: Speyer

Until the previous evening I hadn’t even heard of Speyer and discovering it turned out to be one of the highlights of my trip. After spending the morning exploring Worms I jumped on a train for the 35 minute journey to Speyer.

Arriving at Speyer I walked from the Hauptbahnhof along to the Altpörtel and Maximilianstraße, Speyer’s main street. Here the pastel coloured buildings of Speyer felt a lot more like “stereotypical” Germany than Worms or Mainz did. This may be due to it receiving much less damage during WWII than the other two cities.

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Central Europe Adventures 2016 – Part Twenty: Worms

Finding my way from Worms station to my hotel for the night should have been pretty simple. All I had to do was walk down one road and then turn once and walk down a second but somehow I still managed to get lost. It turned out that my hotel was above a restaurant that was closed over the winter. Once I had figured out how to get into the hotel I put my bags into my room and headed out again to find food for dinner.

Worms was a lot smaller than what I was expecting. Trying to find dinner turned out to be quite a challenge as many of the restaurants and pubs contained people openly smoking inside. In the end I just settled for a hot chocolate at a cafe, planned ideas for things to see the following day and then had an early night.

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Central Europe Adventures 2016 – Part Nineteen: The Rhine Valley and Mainz

My next destination after Aachen was Worms around three hours away. Getting to Worms required me to catch three different trains. So rather that trying to get there as fast as possible I gave myself the whole day to do some sightseeing along the way.

It was fortunate that I wasn’t in a hurry as my first train of the day from Aachen to Cologne was delayed by 25 minutes. Once I got to Cologne I changed trains for a slower IC train but one that would wind itself down the side of the Rhine Valley.

I have previously been down the Rhine Valley on my first visit to Germany but it is so spectacular that it is worth doing multiple times – next time I do it I hope to be on a boat, photos taken through a train window just don’t do it justice. For tourism reasons it is called the “Romantic Rhine” and with huge cliffs, many castles and beautiful villages it more than lives up to its name.

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Central Europe Adventures 2016 – Part Eighteen: Aachen and Liege

Departing Osnabrück in the rain I had to catch two trains to get to Aachen. I had hoped to stop for a few hours in Dusseldorf but given the wet weather I stayed on the train to Cologne and then switched for the local train to Aachen. The second train I caught was completely full of football fans and I had to stand for close to half the journey.

Once I arrived in Aachen I walked down the road to my hotel, the Ibis Hauptbahnhof, which ironically is further from the main station than the Ibis Marschiertor. After I had checked in I met up with a friend who was so excited to see me she literally knock me to the ground when running up to give me a hug. We then joined a larger group of students and had Flammkuchen for dinner (it’s rather similar to Pizza) and rounded off the night drinking a bottle of wine in the student dorms at the university.

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Central Europe Adventures 2016 – Part Seventeen: Osnabrück and Münster

After four nights in Berlin I caught the train across to Osnabrück where I have a good friend. Osnabrück is only three hours from Berlin but it felt like a very long way. About halfway through the journey I realised I had given my friend the wrong arrival time and he ended up waiting in the cold and damp of the station for an hour. Once we had dropped my bags at his place we headed out to a cafe for cake and a hot drink.

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Central Europe Adventures 2016 – Part Sixteen: An Additional Day in Berlin

On the morning that I was due to leave Berlin I decided to stay an extra day. Although I had been in Berlin for three nights, I had only spent one afternoon in Berlin proper as I had been ill almost all the rest of my time there.

I began the day by meeting up with a friend who had studied in Sydney for a number of years. We went for a walk along the runway of Tempelhof Feld – an airport that has now been turned into parkland – and the surrounding suburbs.

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Central Europe Adventures 2016 – Part Fifteen: Exploring Luther’s Wittenberg

I’ve wanted to travel to Wittenberg since traveling past it on my previous visit to Germany. I wanted to know how a man from such a small town could have such a large impact on world and church history and beliefs.

Although I was still not very well after coming down with food poisoning I took some medication and caught a train from Berlin to Wittenberg for the day trip.

I was immediately lost on arrival at Wittenberg train station as the train station is not in the centre of the town like I had expected it to be. To ensure that I was even more lost there was no signage or map at the station showing the way to the centre of town.

I decided that the best idea was to follow the three people in front of me along the road. This plan worked until we came to the first intersection where the three people all walked off in different directions.

At this point I found a street name that matched the small printed map of Wittenberg that I had and despite realising I was in the complete opposite end of the town to what I thought I was at least I knew that I was heading in the right direction (For the record: Lutherstadt Wittenberg and Lutherstadt Wittenberg Altstadt are two different train stations).

My first stop in Wittenberg was at the Lutherhaus museum. I spent almost two hours here as the museum has a great overview of all aspects of Luther’s life and relationships with his family, community and contemporaries.

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