"Blue Monday"

Trip Start May 25, 2013
Trip End Jun 23, 2013

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Flag of Germany  , Berlin,
Monday, June 17, 2013

Mondays make good days for travelling... Museums are usually closed and the weekenders have gone home.

But a 6.30am start with a snuffly nose? Sleep would have been better if not for the 8.29am train to Berlin, a five hour ride. We track the Vltava River out of Prague before joining with the Elbe and moving into Germany. Although it is also labelled with Czech livery, the train is more comfortable than the last from Budapest - better seats, larger tables, power outlets, drinkable coffee. We picnic on cheese and biscuits, fruit and fudge before an influx of passengers at Dresden reorganises our seating arrangements.

Phones chime as we move into range in Germany's telephone system. The change in the appearance of the countryside is also noticeable. The number of dilapidated buildings falls dramatically and the housing standard lifts. Saxony is picturesque with forested, rocky hills surrounding neat resort towns.

Transferring from the EC train to Berlin's suburban Underground then hotel proves to be a two hour challenge, thanks to the vast Berlin Hauptbahnhof, poor signage between the two train systems, one destination station closed for repairs, countless retracing of steps searching out lifts with heavy cases and a dicky Google map!

It's all surprisingly inefficient for Germany!

So a cool drink opposite our hotel goes down extremely well. Here me meet Christian and his daughter India. A friend of Walter's from many years ago, Christian and his family are hosting Gisela, Walter and Jan for the next few nights. Gayle and I have taken a hotel room in Central Berlin. Christian is an informed and animated pathologist with fascinating stories of his city and his family's past.

Gayle and I eat pasta at the restaurant next door after their departure, ambulate around the block past Checkpoint Charlie and medicate with chocolate to induce a good night's sleep!...

"Blue Monday" by Fats Domino
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