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Travelling from Berlin
As it happens, my fear of heights was not my only problem in catching my train.

I'd left myself an hour to get from my hotel to the station. In fact, the hotel desk had a button to call a taxi and one arrived within five minutes. And it was about 15 minutes to get to the station. (I find it slightly ironic that it is difficult to get to the new station by U-bahn. There is an underground station there, but the line only goes three stops, as far as the Brandenburg Gate, which is about five minutes walk away. It would take two changes of train to get there from the underground station right next to my hotel. However, Unter den Linden is one long roadwork where they are building a new line.)

I sat down to read for a bit on the ground floor with the seat facing away from the drop to the lower level. I then thought it would be a good idea to check my seat reservation. German stations have displays telling you where to stand for your allocated seat.

But when I checked my ticket, I discovered I'd failed to reserve a seat. I asked at the information counter near where I'd been sitting and they told me I didn't actually need one to board the train, but I could still buy one from the ticket office on the next floor up.

So I was able to ascend the escalator without too much difficulty and trundled my case along, as far away from the edge as I could, and entered the Reisezentrum, which at least was enclosed. It operated a ticket queueing system. I still had about 20 minutes to my train and my number was soon called. They could still sell me a reservation for €4.50.

The escalator to my platform was right next to the entrance to the ticket office, so I had no trouble going up another level. And there were no precipitous drops nearby. I still had ten minutes to spare.

I'd have been more impressed it they'd manage to re-program the over-seat display to show my reservation, but I had no trouble claiming my seat.

After I'd been travelling for an hour or so, I decided to get up and go to the loo. At the door to the carriage I met a young woman with two kids in tow who asked me a question in German. "Ich sprache nicht deutsch," I said. She said something in reply and turned round and went back the way she came. I've no idea what she'd asked, nor why my not speaking German meant she promptly left.


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