Thursday, July 1, 2010

Day 31 - Warsaw to Berlin

I was up and out of my hostel just after 5:30, and made my way to Warsaw Central train station. I was to depart from platform 3, which was down the escalators, at 6:35.

I found an entire compartment to myself on board the train, where I just sat, relaxed, and had the iPod out. The trip was very beautiful and scenic, and I was mesmerised along the way.

Upon arrival in Berlin, which was by far the biggest train station I've been to yet, and very European, I wasn't too sure which way to go. I had to ask around. But before that, I got myself some food, and activated my Eurail Global Pass. This was the first city I'd be using it in, as it wasn't valid in Poland. And it would be saving me a lot of money. Some of these point-to-point train tickets are a fortune and would be eating out of my budget had I not had the pass. I had the 15 day within 2 month pass.

I had to find my way to Charlottenburg, which was where my hostel was located. I asked at the information terminal and was told which platform to go to - this was a massive train station with trains coming in and going out in all different directions and at different levels of elevation.

I got my 2-day pass and departed for Charlottenburg, five stops away, and a ten minute walk to the hostel. Finding it was easy. I also hadn't had a hostel booked for Amsterdam - and I had trouble finding a spot available online. I was stressing out a little. I 'secured' one booking for the Hague, but then had an email sent to me saying that there's been a problem with overbooking, and I couldn't get the bed.

I shot two of my friends from the Netherlands a message. They are a gay couple living in The Hague, and I was planning to meet up with them during this trip. I told them that I was having trouble finding a place to stay, and luckily they were able to accommodate me - which brought the weight off my shoulders. But this encouraged me to look for future hostels much earlier in advance, so I already started looking for some in Paris and London - and was STILL having a hard time! For Paris, I actually had to book two different hostels over the three day period I intended to stay. One for one night, the other for two nights.

I went and did some sightseeing in Berlin to take my mind off Brussels, Paris and London. After all, the adventure is about the experiences you go through - but I know already from experience that not having a bed to stay in is a scary ordeal.

I hopped on a sightseeing bus, and I went up to the Upper Deck. It was en enjoyable ride around Berlin and all the sights, including the Brandenburg Gate and the Berlin Wall.

Shortly after this brief period of enjoyment, I went back to the central train station and found myself an internet cafe. I logged onto hostelworld and browsed for hostels in Amsterdam and Brussels. I booked one night in Amsterdam, for after I spent time with the two friends in the Hague, and also found two nights in Brussels. I had all the days covered up until London, so I was relieved.

This is peak season and I need to stay on top of this!

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