Terra Nomad

Every day is like survival. You're my lover, not my rival.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Germany and Prague - Day 9

Monday, March 31 - Train to Dresden, Rental Car to Ingolstadt, Sleep in Ingolstadt

I had been fighting off a cough since the start of this trip, and Monday morning it kept me awake from 4am to 6am. I'd set my alarm for 7:30, but I fell back asleep until 8am. There was a train bound for Dresden due to leave the Holesovice station at 8:36 am, so I rushed to pack up the last of my stuff. I made it to the train in time and had to find an open seat since my ticket was a generic one with no seat assignment. Since this train was going back to Berlin, there were the same awesome views all the way to Dresden.

Once we got to Dresden, I knew I needed to disembark at Neustadt station to get on the S-Bahn route S2 to the airport. But I was anxious to get off the stuffy, crowded train and assumed there was plenty of transit between Haubtbahnof and Neustadt. There probably is, but I couldn't figure it out after I left the train at Haubtbahnof. I couldn't find any stops for the S2, nor could I find any routes at the station that said they went to Neustadt. I asked a few people but they didn't understand or didn't know where the S2 stopped.

Finally I walked around a tiny mall and found a stop for the S3. I got on it going the wrong direction first, but finally made it to Neustadt and got on an S2 to the airport.  The S3 had been a beautiful ride with views of museums that crossed over a river. The S2 went past some junkyards and lots of wooded areas. Once I made it to the airport, I rented a black VW Passat from Budget with automatic transmission. It didn't have a standard key, but instead you put a large fob into an ignition bay on the dashboard. No turning required, just push it in to start the engine.

After familiarizing myself with the car, it was time to drive on the German Autobahn! I exited the airport and got on the 4 to Chemnitz. Well, first I got on the 4 going the wrong direction and had to turn around to get to Chemnitz. Then I took the 72 and stopped at rest stop outside of Plaven. You have to pay 50 cents to use the bathroom, but you get it back if you buy something at the store there. The 9 then took me past Nuremburg and on to Ingolstadt, where I was staying for the night. The hotel was two quick turns off the Autobahn and I discovered that the Audi headquarters are in Ingolstadt. I ate dinner in the hotel's Italian restaurant: spaghetti with olive oil and garlic and then salmon.

Day Ten

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Friday, March 28, 2008

Germany and Prague - Day 6

Friday, March 28 - Train from Berlin to Prague, Sleep in Prague

I woke up at 8:30, packed and went downstairs to check out. I had purchased a train ticket from Deutsche Bahn on the Internet, but I was not sure if it gave me a car number and seat, so I asked at the front desk. It took them a few minutes and they had to ask several people, but they finally figured out that my car number was 260 and my seat was 56. I took the U-bahn to the Zoo station and got on the S-bahn to Berlin's Hauptbahnof, which is the largest crossing station in Europe. There I got snacks for the trip and went down to the lowest platform to wait for my train. It had started in Hamburg and was going all the way to Budapest, but I was only going to Prague. It was 2 and a half hours to Dresden and most of the scenery looked like very typical Midwestern American farmland.

From Dresden to Bad Schandau there were awesome views of the Elbe river and the bluffs and towns along its banks. The train was pretty empty until the first stop after the Czech border, in Decin Piper. There were lots of places along the tracks where there were houses built close to the tracks, but with a garden or cemetery between them. Once in the Czech republic, we continued along the river and the bluffs grew into mountains and there were more farms and vineyards.

Once we reached Prague, I got off at the first station, Holesovice and looked in vain for an ATM. I walked to my hostel and checked in, only to find I had a shared room and not a private one. I left my things there and went back to the train station. This time I found an ATM and took out a thousand crowns, or around 65 dollars. I got change at the McDonald's and was happy that they had curry sauce for my chicken nuggets, but it smelled too much like ketchup. I took the metro up to the Charles Bridge and walked across it, taking at least one picture of each statue as I went across. The sun slowly set as I walked across, so the pictures at the beginning show a much brighter sky then those towards the end. There are perfect views of both the Castle and Petrin hill from the bridge as well.

Day Seven

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Monday, March 24, 2008

Germany and Prague - Day 2

Monday, March 24 - Arrive in Munich, Sleep in Munich

Once on the plane, I watched Dan in Real Life, Juno and some of Enchanted. I had already seen all 3 of them. I got some sleep, but I am not sure how much. I turned on my Blackberry at about 1:30 am Minneapolis time. All the networks were turned off, I was just using it to listen to music.

We landed in Munich and I got through Passport Control in no time. It was about 9am in Munich, 3 am back home. At the airport, I got a one day transit pass and boarded the 9:20 S8 to Haubtbahnof (the main train station). At the Daglfing stop, the train just sat for 10 minutes. There was some kind of announcement in German, and then when we reached Ostbahnof (East train station), the marquee said "Nicht er..." and everyone got off. I got on the next train, an S7 which was also going to the Haubtbahnof.

Once we got to the Hb, I had to walk a few blocks to the hotel past some sex shops, casinos and a place called "Sarah Supermaket". I was too early to check in, so they had me leave my bag at the front and go up and have breakfast. This was where I discovered the joy of Bavarian breakfast. They had big pretzels hanging there, so I had two with cream cheese, as well as some cereal and juice. I started to lose the tired feeling I had from the crappy night sleep. I went down after breakfast and got my room.

I got into my room about 11:30am and ended up sleeping until 4:30pm. I woke up and watched some tv before leaving for the Hb again. I took the S-Bahn to Marienplatz and heard lots of church bells as soon as I came up from the station. On Marienplatz is both the New and Old town halls (Ratshaus), as well as the Frauenkirche, Peterskirche and a Glockenspiel. There were lots of tourists and shoppers wandering around, and many of them had dogs along. I wandered around and found the Hofbrauhaus, traditional home to the Oktoberfest. I took some pictures of it, but didn't go inside. Instead, I got some pizza and hopped on the S-Bahn back to the Hb. As I was watching a bit more CNN, I find out it is supposed to snow tomorrow and there could be delays at the Munich airport. Great.

Day 3

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Monday, March 17, 2008

Silhouette against evening sky

Silhouette against evening sky
Originally uploaded by lizjones112

Six days until I fly to Munich, 7 days until I get to Berlin, and 10 days until Prague...

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Friday, February 15, 2008

Germany and Prague

Deutschland Praha

In about 5 weeks I will be going back to Europe, this time visiting Germany and Prague.
I am flying into Munich, flying up to Berlin, taking the train down to Prague and then another train back over to Munich. I got a flight on Lufthansa from Munich to Berlin for about half the cost of a train ticket, and since the train is over 6 hours and the flight is just over 1 hour, I am saving time as well.

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