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.
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. We went for a walk along the runway of Tempelhof Feld – an airport that has now been turned into parkland – and the surrounding suburbs.Read more
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.
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.Read more
My visit to Berlin was filled with unneeded drama. Upon arrival from Dresden I decided to drop my bags at my hotel before spending the afternoon exploring Mitte. To get to my hotel I needed to catch an S-Bahn from Berlin’s Hauptbahnhof to Hackescher Markt. As I stepped off the escalator onto the S-Bahn platform I just missed a train, and then the next one pulled into the station so crush loaded that you couldn’t get a suitcase onboard. After waiting a very long time for a third train I made it to my hotel.Read more
The Militärhistorisches Museum der Bundeswehr (Bundeswehr Military History Museum) in Dresden contains a large number of military exhibits covering the modern history of Germany and has free admittance on Monday nights. I was fortunate enough to be visiting Dresden on a Monday, so after spending the day exploring Dresden’s old city and New Green Vault my friend and I caught a tram the few kilometers to the museum.Read more
After a week exploring Vienna, Bratislava, and Prague it was time to return to Germany. The train pulled out of Prague just as the sun was setting on a Sunday evening. To get to Dresden the train runs alongside the Vltava and the Elbe Rivers which was a very picturesque until it became too dark to see outside. Darkness completely descended around an hour north of Prague as we pulled into the Czech city of Ústí nad Labem. Despite the darkness this city looked fascinating to visit and is somewhere I would love to return to.Read more
Sundays in Germany are quite different to Sundays in Australia. No malls, supermarkets or convenience stores are open. At first this seems really old fashioned and boring but after a weeks you start to really appreciate how relaxing it is to have a day a week where you are essentially forced to take a day off.Read more
After two and a half days in Innsbruck I caught a train back to Munich, first for a business meeting and second to spend the weekend with friends.
After my meeting had finished I had a few hours to kill while waiting for my friends to finish work. The great thing about Munich is there are so many great roads, buildings and shops to get lost in around the central city. Once my friends had finished work we went to the Hackerhaus for dinner where I had a great Sauerbraten (pot roast). We then rounded out the evening at a small hipster bar.Read more
After spending a damp afternoon in Cologne it was time to head to my final destination in Germany.
I boarded a regional express train bound for Aachen at Cologne Hauptbahnhof with my local friend who was playing tour guide. Aachen is around an hour from Cologne and is in the extreme west of the country, very close to the borders of the Netherlands and Belgium.
After arriving in Aachen and dropping my bags at a hotel my friend gave me a quick tour around the city before both of us met up with another local friend for dinner. My friends were both particularly keen on showing me the naturally hot water in the centre of the town and complaining about the smell of sulfur near it. Of course coming from NZ the smell was pleasant and mild, but it did leave me wondering if there is little volcanic activity in Europe (and especially Germany) then why is there warm water here.
Köln (Cologne) is my second favourite city in Germany (after Munich). The only problem is the two times I have visited there I have been rained on.
I first visited Cologne on a sneaky afternoon visit when I was attending a conference in Koblenz two years ago. This visit didn’t have much more planning as I was just staying the night while travelling between cities where my friends live.
I arrived in Cologne in the early evening after starting the day in Osnabrück and visiting Wuppertal along the way. After getting lost trying to find my hotel (I really am an expert in getting lost – I was literally standing on the wrong corner of the building and then walked straight past the main entrance), I checked in and then went to attend to my first goal for Cologne: buying my mother some 4711 Eau de Cologne on the Glockengasse.
I then decided to sort out dinner. Eating alone when travelling is not the best experience. I prefer to find some easy fast food, but given the rain lots of places had closed early. After walking around most of the tourist area of the city I settled for a bakery near my hotel.