200mph/320kph GERMAN ICE TRAINS will run direct London to Frankfurt in three years' time, it was announced last week. I found out at the same time that Deutsche Bahn offer fares (one-way though ~ there had to be a catch!) from London to anywhere in Germany for under €50! The only (other) catch is you currently have to change trains at Brussels. A rail website gave two prospective rail routes to Berlin.
ROUTE 1: Eurostar London to Brussels Midi; Brussels to Cologne; Cologne to Berlin. Each journey taking about two hours.
ROUTE 2: Eurostar to Paris Nord in late afternoon; metro (or just walk 10 mins) to Gare de l'Est; night train direct to Berlin. If you don't get a berth and are willing to camp out in an ordinary seat the fare is under €30 one way!
I LOVE TRAINS anyhow, but it's the fact that you're hardly allowed any luggage on budget flights that really swung it for me.
I wanted to return home with a couple of year's worth of brilliant German books. That is, a weight-restriction-busting entire suitcase full of weighty tomes. Which you can't even keep with you on an aeroplane, and then if you kick off at the terminal because your luggage has basically been STOLEN, BA will prosecute and slap you with a lifetime ban (if you're Naomi Campbell)...
(A THIRD OPTION could be to fly, e.g. by Air Berlin ~ and buy a Kindle!)
SO I THOUGHT ~ if this is possible on one ticket; and most things are possible if you want them enough ~ it might be nice to overnight in Brussels, take a late night train to Cologne, spend the day there, moving on at night to Berlin arriving late at whatever room I've booked there (or park bench/space under a bridge (joke! I'm not into that kind of holiday any more. I "celebrated" new year 1991 going into 1992 with a crazed Japanese tourist, sleeping with homeless Berbers at Fez station. My Welcome to 1992 came at 6am when an angry station master started hitting my companions with a broom. He stopped what he was doing and looked aghast when he spotted my blond hair and pale face. In a way it was good he woke us up as I'd woken at five, convinced the poor old man next to me had died in the frosty night.)
Anyway, back to Berlin. I'm so excited. I'm going somewhere! At last!
Now I need my eyes and teeth seeing to. No cig-stained gnashers and new glasses or contact lenses. I'm not travelling Europe with my current intellectual scarecrow look.
Also I was looking into taking a night train to Budapest or Prague. (Budapest, I think. Everyone does Prague.)
I'm so excited! All these years of German and did you know, I've yet to set foot on German soil!
You'll all know when this happens as pictures of clean streets and exotic posts shall suddenly appear ...
In times past, I had always assumed this type of expedition would have to wait until I'd cleaned myself up enough to be OFF METHADONE.
I didn't realize, you see, that I'm allowed to travel with methadone ~ which they'd give in pills to prevent spillage tragedies. All I need do is provide proof of travel (ie a ticket) and enough notice and the druggieservice will give a certificate saying I'm entitled to hobnob across the EU with hardcore narcotics in my possession...
It's nearly 12 years since I went anywhere abroad. My feet are itching now, even more than that pussing wound on my leg!
***I JUST CHECKED AIR BERLIN's prices and was quoted €294.95 departing London Stanstead on September 28, returning from Berlin on October 7! Something tells me it's gonna be the train.***
Deutsche Bahn: bahn.de
Rail Booking: seat61.com
European Rail Ticket: raileurope.com
SNCB Europe: b-europe.com/Travel
British Rail Tickets: thetrainline.com
AN INTERRAIL (EURAIL) PASS valid for travel on 5 days out of 10 costs only £224!
It was Christmas eve in a war zone - I just about managed to rise this morning but shining is still a long way off. I don't know why. Maybe it's because I had my usual stress dream last night....
2 hours ago