Inter Railing in Europe: Czech Republic to Former Communist East Germany

Inter Railing in Europe: Czech Republic to Former Communist East Germany

I caught a train from Prague’s Kolesovice station and the final destination was Hannover in Germany (part of the former West Germany), therefore it was a 9 hour journey and I would need to change twice, which I was really looking forward to. One of the things I enjoy about travelling, is the variety of transport, locations, scenery, people and culture. This meant I would need to change at both Dresden and Leipzig. I would get around an hour or so at each location, which would give me opportunity to see these cities as well (though in the end a delay allowed me only 10minutes in Dresden where concrete buildings in East German grey shone down on me.

The day started pretty randomly. I met two guys at Kolesovice, who “looked English”, so I started talking to them. They were English, Matt and Joe, who had ended up by mistake in Prague, having lost their mate Lloyd somewhere in between Amsterdam, Berlin and a Czech/Austrian border control!! They had Lloyd’s bag, phone and passport so were trying in vain to get in touch with him. They managed it and although they stayed on the train, I got off at Dresden, an old industrial city in the former communist East Germany. I must thank Matt and Joe for my final beer in the Czech Republic, for which I owe them. I believe they bought it out of Lloyd’s money. I must also thank the Australian guy Bernie for some random chat on the train and the border control for giving me a nice Blue Train at Decin stamp. Another for the collection.

I then had a brief change from a normal looking train to one with two decks/levels, much more posh seats and a lot of empty seats. The first train we struggled to get a seat, this time, I could have sat anywhere. I listened to iPod, checked out the countryside, chatted to a Canadian guy and grabbed some kip, before the train docked in Leipzig, still in the former East Germany (GDR). Leipzig station was class, very big, very modern and a lot of nice shops, bars and restaurants. My mobile phone still hadnt been used in 6 weeks or so, so I had to ring my mate Rene from a coinbox, but to save money I didn’t bar. I tested mein Deutsch on a few ladies at the information desks and they understood me a bit and one of them kindly called Rene for me to let him know I would be late into Hannover. Enough time for a wee beer and a spicy pork burger with ketchup and mustard. Then I was off again, on a fine train to Hannover through what can only be described as amazing countryside. Here I was in Germany. Ich bin in Deutschland…

Cities Passed through – Prague, Decin, Dresden, Leipzig, Hannover.

Beers Tried – Budvar, Warsteiner.

Bars Visited – Leipzig Train Station Bar, Two different bars on the trains.

Transport Used – No expert on trains, but all three trains were different, the middle one with two levels was the best.

Nationalities Met – Czech, Canadian, English, German, Australian.

Strange Currencies – Czech Kronas and Euros.

Favourite Thing About The Train Journey – Grabbing two hours needed kip after partying up Prague.

Moving Moment – Just staring blankly out at the former East German countryside. Totally awe-inspiring. Only a fool would cease to be moved.

Key Song – The Doves – There Goes The Fear (There it goes…) “You’ll turn around and life’s passed you by”

FACT – The inner German border (German: Innerdeutsche Grenze or Deutsch-Deutsche Grenze, informal Zonengrenze) was an extensive system of fortifications that ran the entire 1381 km (858 mile) length of the border between East Germany (the German Democratic Republic, or GDR) and West Germany (the Federal Republic of Germany, or FRG). (Courtesy of Wikipedia)

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