Having arrived now safely in Berlin, here is an account of the day.
1 p.m. Wednesday.
We are in transit through Germany. First class on this train comes with a quiet cabin for four. We’re the only ones here, so we have spread out. K is napping across two seats. I am at the window seat on the other side of the cabin, watching the countryside whip by as the sky gradually lightens from the rain we saw leaving The Netherlands.
Germany is green and healthy. Corn, not nearly as high here as back home, stands in small plots next to wheat fields. Green alternates with golden yellow. Little hedgerows set of expanses of land with houses on them. The train line is sided by tiny streams of water. Occasionally, off in the distance, a town is evident, marked almost always by a church steeple. Tall wind turbines are all about, but not in wind farms; rather, they pop up like sentries on the landscape, perhaps a kilometer or more apart. One thinks of Chinese watchtowers spaced in regular intervals on the Great Wall.
Hanover must be near. I just caught enough of the German-language announcement to understand that the train is not stopping at Hanover Hauptbanhof, but at another station where those disembarking must take an S-Bahn (trolley, or overland light rail) to the main station.
A poor American kid was terrifically lost in the cafe car today. He wanted a slice of pizza, and when he saw what the waiter pulled out of the freezer, he decided he didn’t want it. So . . . I hopped up and helped him order what he wanted, and while the pizza was in the super-oven, we chatted a bit. His father is an administrator at Pepperdine . . . they left California just after the school year ended . . . they are on a traditional grand tour with stops yet to go in Berlin and Prague and Vienna before Italy. I did my good deed for the day.
But this trip has been filled with good deeds. I did another one this morning. Witness:
And now, drama over, I shall relate a tiny story. Apparently the train is not stopping at Hanover because of an accident in Hanover that has caused the power lines (that power these electric trains) to fall. So we are taking a detour around Hanover, but not before a long, 30-minute stop outside of town. Suddenly the S-Bahn arrived from Hanover, and out emerged all of these excited Germans trying to figure out where they were going and how to get there. First Class was momentarily full until an announcement that a faster train was heading to Berlin at 2:18. And off they all went.
K and I have stayed on this train, since we are on a ticket type that requires us to be on a particular line at a particular time. From what I can tell, we will arrive Berlin late, but still arrive! The train is re-routing through a different city, and onto tracks that also carry freight trains instead of dedicated passenger lines. We are moving with less speed, that much is certain. [Update: we are going to be more than one hour late to Berlin. I’ve called our AirBnB host and told him of the delay.]
I’m switching now from trying to understand Dutch to trying to understand Deutsch. All will be well.
And the grand adventure continues!! #euroadventure2015