Hello friends and family. After many miles on many trains, we've finally arrived in AMSTERDAM, our final stop on Continental Europe before returning to London via ferry tomorrow.
To recap our trip thus far: We've hit five countries in six days: Denmark, Sweden, Poland, Germany and The Netherlands (Holland).
From Berlin, we checked out of our hostel and took an hour train ride to FRANKFURT ODER, a tiny border town with not much to it. A 15 minute walk away from the train station brings you to a bridge, where you get checked by German and Polish customs agents, who fill your passport with various stamps for the privelege of walking into the Polish town of SLUBICE: the land of cheap aplenty! Cigarettes for 13 euros a carton, if you're into that stuff. We paid $5 for lunch for two including a hotdog, hamburger, and two pints of Polish beer! Sadly there is not much else worth seeing, so we walked quickly back to train station and bought walk-up train tickets to HANNOVER. We originally were going to continue to a village called Glosgar but Mr. Crab has been feeling quite ill on this trip (fever, sore throat, sweats, you get the picture). But he's sticking to his motto: SUCK IT UP AND DRIVE ON.
In Hannover, we showed up and discovered there was a convention in town: an international sheet metal expo! Every hotel in town was booked solid. We found a room that was about 20 minutes by tram south of town for only 50 euros a night, a cute little room above a restaurant with a shower and loo at the end of the hall. THe rest of the hotelw as quite ritzy and we felt seriously under-dressed to walk down throught the restaurant where men and women in business suits mingled. Had dinner and drinks at yet another beerhouse: The Bavarium, a beerhall styled after an old Bavarian brew house.
On Thursday morning we took a quick hour train ride south to a cute village called GLOSLAR, our original intended destination we had read about in several tour guides. The town bills itself as one of the most beautiful cities in Germany, and was it ever. As Mrs. Crab described, it's how you imagine that all German villages should look: old cobblestone roads, timber houses with exposed wood beams, a giant church in the middle of a huge square filled with cafes, a partially walled city with remains of watchtowers and town gates and a babbling brook running through town. Mr. Crab feeling slightly better, we arrived just after noon and walked directly to a 500-year-old gasthaus (guesthouse) that we had read about in our Rough Guide Germany travelbook (mediocre travel guide, FYI. Rough indeed). "Habben zie Zimmer Frei?" Do you have a room free? YES! We splurged: 77 euros a night, our most expensive stay so far but we have a huge room covered floor to ceiling in wood and a huge bathroom in a beautiful B&B style house. The "frau of the haus" (woman of the house) was so trusting; she never asked for ID, money or anything. We dumped our stuff and just spent the afternoon just wandering from biergarten to brewhouse. Paid in the morning. WOuldn't it be nice if all the world could be this trusting and wonderful, as Mrs. Crab sais.
This morning we woke at 7am to grab an early traditional German breakfast, which, by the way, is almost always part of the hotel price. The usual fare consists of breads, rolls, cold cut meats and cheeses, jams and jellies, salad, coffee, juices, cereal and a hard boiled egg. Caught the 9am train back to Hannover, and then the 4-hour train journey to Amsterdam aboard the EuroCity train line, semi-fast trains that connect two major European cities. We met a chap from Costa Rica on board in the bar car; small world eh?
Now we're chilling in an Internet cafe in Amsterdam. Next blog will be from home in Londontown. Ciao!
The Two Crabs