After staying the night in Osnabrück we continued our travel to Cologne, stopping off along the way in Wuppertal to ride the Schwebebahn.Read more
After failing to make it to Lübeck on our first day in Hamburg, we did a quick trip on our last day.
It rained the entire time we were in Lubeck, despite this we still walked around the city and even stumbled on a church (St. Petri Kirche) which is now a community centre after the Soviet government refused to allow churches to be restored after the second world war.Read more
We allocated three days to explore Hamburg and it’s surrounds.
On the train ride from Berlin, we had decided to take an immediate side trip to the nearby town of Lübeck. However, when we arrived at Hamburg’s Main Station all the departure boards for connecting trains were showing the words “Tiere Im Gleis”.
With the little bit of German I know I was left trying to figure out what “Animals on the Platform” meant, and both in a rush and not seeing any animals, we went to the nearest platform for a delayed train to Lübeck.
After sitting on this train, going nowhere, for 20 minutes, we managed to speak to someone in English and realised that the word “Gleis” isn’t just “Platform” but also “Track”, that is, there are animals on the track and the trains are not running, which also explained why our delayed train was not going anywhere either.Read more
Following almost a week in the UK it was time to move onto Continental Europe, with the first stop being Berlin.
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.
The Technik Museum Speyer was the biggest surprise of my trip. As stated in my previous post I had not heard about the town of Speyer until the previous evening and I went there on a whim. Visiting the museum was then a last minute decision as I had a few hours spare.
The museum is very large and has an amazing collection of planes, trains and automobiles from all areas of the globe. Seeing the Buran Space Shuttle alone would have satisfied me but also walking through a Boeing 747, Antonov 22 and German U-Boat made this museum the best I’ve ever been to – better than Kennedy Space Center.Read more
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.
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.
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.
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.