Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Eurotrip 2011 - Day 6 (6/22/2011) - To Hamburg

So when I checked my sim card balance this morning there was somewhere around €15 of credit remaing, which is far less than I had expected based on the information that I had been given the day before.  There was no way 2 phone calls and a text message could have used another €6 of credit if I was only charged €2 to use the Internet for each of 2 days.  Further reading of the brochure indicated that the Internet charge was 9 cents/minute.  So either the salesman tricked me, or there was a misunderstanding due to the language barrier.  Either way, I just had to deal with it.

Anyway, after breakfast Steffi took us to the Wetter train station to catch the 9:25 to Bochum, where we transferred to the IC to Hamburg.  Unfortunately, we did not heed Steffi's advice to reserve seats on the train (since the next day was a public holiday).  So we ended up not finding a free unreserved seat on the train in either first or second class.  We resorted to grabbing a couple of seats in a dining car and riding most of the way in them (we were not the only ones who did this - the dining car was pretty full with people that stayed there the whole time).  We sat across from a Austrian psychologist who worked in Germany but was on his was to Copenhagen, and conversed with him for the duration of the ride (Galen is great at talking it up with strangers).

In Hamburg we inquired about reserving seats for the ride to Berlin in 2 days, but the attendant didn't think we needed to (it costs €5.50 extra) if we were going in the morning or afternoon.  We then each bought an all-day Hamburg metro pass and used the hostel-provided directions to find the Instant Sleep Backpacker after taking the S-Bahn.  After arriving at the hostel, we waited a half hour until we could check in @ 3.  At this point we realized that they only accepted cash, so we walked to an ATM to get some (and I finally picked up a lock - combination locks are apparently impossible to find in The Netherlands and Germany, and I ended up settling for a 4x10 combo version instead of the typical Master lock).  During the check-in, the receptionist recommended a falafel joint (the Felafel Factory) to us, so we wandered over to find it and each grab a felafel wrap.  Then we wandered around the St. Pauli area and down to the Reeperbahn. It had begun to rain again by this time, so we stopped for a drink at a bar.  When the rain subsided a bit we walked to an S-Bahn station and took the train back toward the hostel.

Back at the hostel, we pretty much were lazy for the rest of the day.  Galen took a nap while I used the free wifi to plan some attractions to hit up in the remaining cities.  I should note here that Google Maps has the handy feature of being able to cache recent maps so that they can be used even when offline.  Sadly, though, the cache size seems to be fixed at 30 MB on my phone (Nexus S), and the cached area is not configurable.  Galen later joined in some planning activities, and we decided to not to go out on the town for the night - the rain had been off-and-on, and the short nights of sleep were starting to catch up.  And we were both coughing and sneezing.  But I spent a bunch of time catching up on my travelogue and pictures, so I was up until after 1:30.

Oh, and daylight lasts pretty long in Germany, and especially so in Hamburg.  The sky didn't get completely dark until after 11.

Some pictures from the whole trip:

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