We froze all night. Between the cold and the trains, and my general light sleeping with one ear open for passers by, mad men or serial killers and/or of course the caretaker rattling on the door, I didn’t get much sleep at all.
After laying in bed for a little while, trying not to move and keep warm, finally I’d had enough and got up. I went outside to reception, but still it was not open, so we packed up and left. (A win for us, we avoided paying rent on our first night).
We still had no plan, and very little food. We actually didn’t even know where we were. We knew we wanted to head to Berlin, so we punched that into the GPS and just headed that way.
Along motor way couldn’t read the signs, or what we were missing. This was going to make our grand plan for Europe a challenge. The plan was, a few key destinations, then whatever we find along the way. If we couldn’t find anything along the way because we couldn’t read or understand the signs, it was going to be both quick and boring (and we have 6 weeks of this).
We found a town and tried to do some more shopping, but again we couldn’t understand any of the brands or packaging. We spent most of the day going in circles and hated it.
I was so frustrated with the lack of progress, I was ready to go back to London (or Australia). I was not having any fun at all.
We went to Burger King at a roadhouse for lunch (another brand we recognised), but were frustrated to learn they don’t offer wifi.
After lunch we managed to find a shopping complex and purchased extra blankets and a kettle (we didn’t even have a kettle), then continued to move along towards Berlin.
We decided not to wait until dark to find a campground today, so about 2pm, (and still a very long way to Berlin), we once again put campgrounds into the GPS, picked the closest and went in search of it.
We drove along winding roads and through towns and villages but again we couldn’t find the dam camping ground. We finally gave in, and picked a tourist information spot. We went in but the volunteer only spoke German. She gave us some directions that I didn’t understand, but I nodded and smiled, and we headed out.
I’d had enough. I was over it. We’d been in Germany two days. We hadn’t managed to do a shop, we had hardly any food, we couldn’t speak with anyone. I was cold, hungry and tired. As much as people were trying to help us, (be it shopping or the kind lady at the Tourist Info site), it was all too hard.
For me, the adventure was over.
On the way to the tourist information centre, we passed a Holiday Inn. So I ignored the instructions to the camp ground and headed straight for it. To rub salt into my wounds – I couldn’t find that either, so we just got back in the highway and continued towards Berlin.
Along the way I spotted a hotel from the highway, took the exit and went straight in. It was a Park Inn, operated by Raddison. When I asked at the counter first “English” and the girl announced “yes”, then “do you have rooms” and she again said “yes”, I was a happy man.
I’d have paid $1000 a night for a room by this stage, though thankfully two rooms including breakfast for the four of us were just over $100 euro’s.
I still had no plan. But at least now I did have a bed, a warm shower, a restaurant down stairs, and wifi.
Finally, things were starting to come together (not really, I just felt comfort in retreating to my English speaking, Western venue).
We had a swim, a shower and a feed, checked my emails and went to bed. Perhaps Germany was not that bad after all. Tomorrow I’ll work out what to do next.