09 June 2015

Getting there is half the fun

Now that the agony of travel is almost a week in the past, I can recall the trip with some tranquility. It started well, up at 5 to catch the 8.55 Eurostar, but we didn't take the school traffic into account when going by taxi. This view, stuck in traffic near King's Cross at 8.30, sums up my feelings of despair -
Indeed, check-in had closed by the time we got there: "my colleague in the ticket office will help you" said the staff member, and truly, she did - gave us a ticket on the next train, at no charge since our train hadn't actually left yet.

So we sat around and listened to a young man play the public piano, a solid stream of classical music, wonderful - and the piano was in reasonable tune, not like this one. And checked possible train times for connections, and admired the architecture, and decided not to worry -
A funny article in the on-board magazine, based on the book Haircuts of Hackney -
 After a quick purchase of tickets at Brussels and dash to the platform, we found ourselves in Cologne several hours earlier than we dared hope. Yet more station architecture to admire while waiting -
 Due to the efficiency of German railways on the one hand - train leaves on time, no matter what - and the vagaries of fate (connecting train arrives too late, leaving hundreds of people getting onto "our" train) the 16.48 to Berlin was jam packed, more people standing than sitting, it seemed. We had a jolly conversation with a man who had spent the past week walking along the Jacobsweg, the pilgrim route in Switzerland. He had done other parts of the route, the Compostella section, previously, and still had some miles of it waiting for next time. When it came time to leave the train he picked up his pilgrim's staff -
 Eventually seats became available, and we arrived only an hour later than expected. On arrival, we found a lovely bottle of wine in the fridge (a macabeo, new to me, delicious), and drank it with great and grateful pleasure -

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