I spontaneously decided to visit a friend who lives in Hannover. The capital of Lower-Saxony is located about 160 kms south of Hamburg, clearly within reach of a quick getaway.
Due to ever rising costs and a potential crisis with Rasputin, I and everyone else in Germany received a welcoming present from the German government in form of a 9 euro ticket for ‘Die Deutsche Bahn’. Wow! I paid 9 euro on august 1st and was allowed to travel all across Germany on regional trains, as well as subways and city buses. The standout bullet trains were not included in this deal, but who cares. A daily subway ticket costs more than this ticket alone, it is a really good deal. I know that and so does everyone else. I expected a certain passenger increase on trains but was clearly unprepared for what’s to come.
In good german fashion, I was on Plattform 12 much earlier than the RE 36 to Hannover was due to arrive. It was busy already, but not too bad. My neighbors confirmed that this is the right place for the train to arrive, but it is running late by 20 minutes already. Fair enough, I thought, that’s not too bad. The Plattform increased dramatically in numbers meanwhile, to the point where I started to wonder. Ah, I see. The next train is going to Bremen from here, it felt like it’s on its way to Bombay. Maybe the chess world championships are held there this weekend, as I couldn’t fathom the amount of people. The stairs and elevators to the train tracks are blocked off, there’s no back or forward. Holy guacamole, I hope this is not my train. I have not seen scenes like this before as the train eventually came to a stop. Masses of people couldn’t get of the train as there was nowhere to go. Push and shove, in and out, it was an eye opener. My neighbor, who turned pale meanwhile, confirmed that this is not the train to Hannover. Thank fudge for that. More and more people appeared from nearby stairways to get on this train. Doors wouldn’t open anymore due to overpopulation, yet people in panic stage were forcing themselves in. It is a sheep ticket after all. Mhääa…
I don’t know how this train eventually was able to drive off. Many didn’t make it and lined up for the next train. Like a good sheep, I stood in line to ask the heavily animated train information man about what happened to the train to Hannover. It was late, ran too late and got scrapped of the tracks. The next one is due in 40 minutes but is 20 minutes late already. He couldn’t see the funny side about my question, wether the chess world championship is held in Bremen. But told me that train track services are held throughout the school holiday season and a popular subway line to Hamburg’s south is out of order. These scenes are on daily basis. Lucky you I thought, bet they didn’t tell you that when you applied for the job. At this stage, I wasn’t sure to wait for the next train or head back home. I was in need of caffeine. The sun came out as I called my friend in Hannover, who encouraged me to try again. Right then, so I will. Positive vibes.
At least, this time I was set on what’s to come. Helmet? Check! Shoulder pads? Check!
Cheerful attitude? Absolutely! Plattform 12 still looked like a pilgrimage, there was no way through. But there was a set of stairs from outside central station Hamburg, that lead to the front part of this Plattform, this is where I need to go. Swiftly like a sheepdog, I moved through masses of bodies and told them to move on or to move out. It worked like a clockwork orange and I even got a seat on this train. I was happy with my effort. Even better was the fact, that this train didn’t fill up as much as I thought. This is the train to Hannover after all. But we were 40 minutes late by the time we left Hamburg, which I didn’t really care about. But because of that, we waited another 30 minutes near a small town, due to train track works. I didn’t really care at this stage anymore, but passenger voices did, in good ol German fashion. Disgusting really. Why didn’t you spend some more money and took the bullet train I asked. Maybe you’re faster walking perhaps? It’s a 9 euro sheep ticket you idiot, what did you expect? We started rolling shortly after again as the train conductor announced that the train won’t steer all the way to Hannover main station. I started laughing out loud. This is the best comedy act I’ve seen in ages. All for 9 bucks! What a bargain. No one else agreed as sturdy eyes looked at me, hidden by masks. The negative energy was insane as they just wouldn’t stop whining. An overcrowded S-Bahn got us eventually to Hannover central station, all stops included. Hannover 96 won an astounding 4:0 against Magdeburg, as I shared a beer and my sheep ticket tale, 6 hours later than expected.
Next week I will take the sheep train to Holland, an expected 6 hour journey. Bring it on!