Kein Oktoberfest :(

we didn’t go to oktoberfest. things might have gone better had there been someone at the ticket booths to help us out, but, being sunday, help was not to be found. when we finally got IN the station (you can buy tickets outside, but it sure as hell helps if you know what you’re doing) we found a machine that showed time tables. 6 minutes of speed reading and touch-screen pushing later, we had tickets to münich via other stops. we run to the platform, almost miss the train, but i get the door open and we find a spot to sit. then we realize: neither of us remembered in which cities we switch trains.

20 minutes later we still don’t know what’s going on and i suck it up and finally get a hold of someone at the Dt Bahn Auskunft (DB helpline), where i tell the lady on the other end that my german is bad, but i need help (like they only help people confident of their verbal skills or something). i tell her what’s up and she tells me the cities we stop in, then something about a train leaving at 9.38, which makes no sense to me because it’s only 15 after. thanks, bye.

Then we start to drive through the lesser stops of Karlsruhe, a considerably larger city south of Landau. I once again suck it up and go to the front of the train to the driver. Hello, driver, can I ask you a question? Yes? Good. I explain to him what’s going on, and are we on the right train. He says “leider nicht.” a.k.a. you screwed up (actually means “unfortunately not.” At least they can fake sympathy without making me feel like I’m 12). But yes, we can catch a train back to Neustadt from the main Karlsruhe station, but we could also catch a direct train to München. Nice. There is no ticket conductor, so no one was able to tell us before hand that our tickets were basically invalid since we were on the wrong train. Maybe because it’s Sunday?

So we get off at Karlsruhe, and look at the departures chart. The train behind us (the one we just got off of??) leaves for Neustadt at 9.36, and a train to Münich will leave only at 12.05. I tell a group of elderly British people what we’re trying to do (how is it that they understand the time table but we don’t?), and one of them says “Well, so you’re looking at one crap journey, or another crap journey!” I agree, although what I really wanted to say was “Quite quite!” We get back on the train, and even though I’m ready to go to Münich because I’ve been through quite enough shit for one day (for three days, actually :p), thank you very much, we have a problem. Kathy agrees to try to get to Münich if I’m confident that once we get to Neustadt, we’ll be able to get to Mannheim, and then to Münich. Of course I’m not confident, I got on the wrong damn train going in the wrong damn direction, and spent more money than I’d like to think about on a wasted ticket. Oh, and I can’t read train time tables correctly. There’s that, too.

We get off at Landau, I check the chart, and we had started on the wrong platform. There are two trains that leave at 8.38, one of them going south (the one we took), the other heading north (the one we wanted to take). We were off by one platform.

In the front of the station, where it was dead this morning, there has bloomed some kind of Sunday party, complete with stage, musicians and singers, food carts, and a merry-go-round. Turns out it was the DeutscheBahnFestival 2005 – a celebration of I don’t know what, but I was able to buy a good old Bratwurst mit Brötchen. We mocked the singers for a while, then headed back in the direction of the NetC@fe, which was, thankfully, open. There I was able to write e-mails canceling our hotel and hostel reservations for the weekend. I’m hoping they get through. Now it’s raining again and I’ve got a killer headache (my body’s way of retaliating against lack of beer for the weekend?), and my new teapot works like a dream. I plan on posting these officially tomorrow, where they can be enjoyed by all.

I also don't know why I switch back and forth between using capitals and not.


At 3:12 nachm., Blogger indoloony said...

And the adventure begins. It was mild ly exciting while trying to figure out trains in Japan a couple of summers ago. Aren't trains fun? But I thought it was one of the more expensive modes of transportation..



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