After arriving in Berlin-Tegel Airport, my friend picked me up. Actually, this time it was easy for me to leave the airport. It was such a cliche, but I couldn’t stop thinking about where the boundary between East and West Berlin had been. So, there were two city centres. Anyway, I went to the Brandenburger Tor and the ruins of the Berlin Wall.
BTW, I’d already been to East Germany in the summer of 1989. And three months later, the wall fell. *28-30/12/06
Berlin Hauptbahnhof was curiously modern. Actually, it doesn’t have the typical quaint atmosphere of European train stations. I arrived in Dresden just past noon. Most tourist spots were closed due to NYE, unfortunately. But obviously, I could view nice architecture from street level.
BTW, Most buildings were damaged in WWII, but they were rebuilt using original materials and methods. I thought that modernity isn’t always better. *31/12/06
I had to get a validation stamp for the European East Pass at the station before my train to Praha at 9:05. However, breakfast at the hotel started at 8:30. Right when I hadn’t enough time, there was a variety of dishes and everything looked so tasty. I ate until the very last minute and I went to the station. Although I had less than ten minutes to leave, it was a nightmare queue and I almost missed the train.
BTW, I was able to get a Czech entry stamp on the train. *1/1/07
There were many good places such as Vladislav Hall, Orloj, Dvorak Museum and Karlův Most. However, Saint Ludmila was the best. The neo-gothic church was simple and elegant. Furthermore, classic red trams circled around it, making the place so charming. Next, was Vaclavske Square. It was famous for the Velvet Revolution in 1989. Marta Kubisova sang ♪Modlitba pro Martu there. Her songs encouraged locals and they won freedom.
BTW, New Year’s fireworks made everyone happy. *2/1/07
Immigration officers woke me up when I was fast asleep on the night train. After a while, other officers disturbed me again. I’d forgotten the Polish check. Before dawn, I reached Krakow. After withdrawing Polish Zloty, I went to Oswiecim to visit Auschwitz. I also went around Krakow.
BTW, when I headed to Katowice to transfer to the night train, I got off at the wrong station. The train conductor pulled me inside after the train began to move. *3/1/07
If the conductor hadn’t understood me, I’d have probably missed the night train. It’s horrifying just thinking about it. Anyway, immigration officers woke me up twice, and I reached Bratislava before sunrise. Then I withdrew Slovak Koruna and waited until first light at McDonald’s near the Donau River. There were many humorous artworks in the city such as a man sticking his head out of a utility hole.
BTW, I reached my final destination, Budapest. *4/1/07
I messed up! I withdrew too much money, because Hungary Forints have a lot of zeros. I was one digit off. The city spread on both sides across the river. So I tended to compare Budapest with Prague. I explored the city by nice yellow tram. Especially, I enjoyed Budavari Labirintus. The spot is an underground maze. For a moment I thought I wouldn’t be able to get out. Goodbye Donau.
BTW, I planned to return to Europe in 2 months. *5/1/07