Sunday, August 14
Today was mostly a train travel day! We did go for a little walk with my mom after breakfast, partly because we wanted to take her glass to the glass recycling container—only to get yelled at for using it illegally on a Sunday! After we had completed this illicit mission to save the planet (my mom was undeterred), we took a short walk along one of the old city walls (one more route we hadn’t retraced in Osnabrück), and then packed up to leave for Hamburg. The goodbye with Imke was quick because we’ll see her again on Wednesday–but it was our very last day in Osnabrück, which I love so much.
We met Andrea and Peter at the train station at 11, grabbed some coffee, and ended up on various packed, delayed, and/or nonfunctional trains, until we finally got into Hamburg around 2:45. Some were mildly air conditioned, others not at all, and while we had seats together, sometimes we had to stand. The platform in Bremen for the train to Hamburg was more packed than I have ever seen a German train platform be, and the people trying to get on the train made only a single file path for people getting off, determined to be first to get on the train. “Drängeln!” Very strange behavior, but very German. (Presumably these are the same people who yell when you try to cross at a red light or recycle glass on a Sunday, so maybe all it takes is a law that prescribes standing back from the doors of a train exactly 1.2 meters to each side, and then everyone will follow the rules.
Summary: Sunday travel with the 9-Euro ticket obviously has its challenges! But I was ok with it—we were getting from A to B without a car, and it was a good deal, plus we were with friends, so there. By 3:15 pm, we had arrived at the main station and grabbed some groceries at the only 24/7 grocery store open on a Sunday, which was, again, packed. The subway right home was the last straw for Andrea, although much less crowded. By the time we were home, they had been on the road for six hours; for us it was only five. And yet, once we were home and had opened ALL the windows, Andrea said: “But traveling with you is STILL fun.” That said, when her mom asked whether she’d be back before the 9-Euro ticket expires on August 31, the answer was a resounding NO.
I had asked that we go out for dinner so no one would have to cook, and we ended up going to a nearby restaurant with Anatolian street food. Mark had a burger with ground meat prepared in a Turkish style (köfte), I had lamb kebabs, Andrea had falafel, and Peter had a veggie burger. The guys had these adorable little wire baskets full of fries, and Andrea and I had what seemed like enormous varieties of sides: three different salads/pickled vegetables, rice, bulgur, and I had some flatbread in addition.
Everything was delicious, and after having had only rolls on the train (and a little bit of ice cream at home just to cool off), this food totally hit the spot. But it also did motivate us to walk a bit more–almost 3 miles, mostly through green space, but also past a fantastically beautiful 1920s working families apartment building near the Dulsberg (between the neighborhoods of Barmbek and Wandsbek), one of the few that remained after the carpet bombing during World War II. One of the entrance doors happened to stand open, so we peeked in and got to see the gorgeous spiral staircase going up. Just gorgeous.