So there it was, finally happening. Midst of clouds, at 4am, all you think is about life and miracles that happened and gratefulness (or you can just watch a movie and sleep peacefully like everyone else). The first meal arrived(breakfast), as bland it could get and wondering how to eat what was given. I wasn’t used to getting jam or milk in a small packet(Yes, my learning began right there) with a really not so spongy bun. Anyways, time flew and I reached my first stop Qatar.Absolutely no clue what to do for the next 2 hours, I decided to call my parents and inform them where I was. But how? Looked around, asked people and finally reached a currency exchange, got some coins and went to telephone booth. After 25 minutes of trial and error (not even kidding) I managed to call my dad and informed him where I was in exactly 20 seconds.
Boarded the flight which connected to Frankfurt and off it went. Got breakfast for the third time in 6 hours due to time difference or I don’t know what! Started missing home food already because of tasteless, salt less food that had already begun (I miss home food so much!).
Reached Frankfurt at 2pm, and it was told to me that my flight ticket included the train fare to Chemnitz. Great! So it shouldn’t be that difficult right? Immigration – done. Entered Germany and first thing I did, called up mumma with the only 1 euro coin I had was given by a family friend before I left(Only with the purpose that I am able to call mumma and tell her I reached). Spoke for 40 seconds and line broke. Moved on to search for the information center, but no! How can it be that simple.
For all those who have been to Frankfurt airport, for the first time in life right after Bangalore airport, would surely understand this – It is like walking from one end of Cubbon park to another if you have to reach the train station which is apparently, right there at the airport. With 2 big suitcases, one small suitcase and ofcourse a laptop bag, it is not a pretty walk till that station because of a roller coaster ride which are the escalators (around 6 of them,up and down) and not forgetting the staircase which I climbed up and down to get each bag up there.
Anyhow, if I thought finally I reached the station, there was more waiting. The ticket machine! I am not aware of using any such machine ever before, never seen a machine giving tickets, change of money and so on by just entering few details! Impressed! So, this ticket was for any kind of trains in Germany and in order to reach Chemnitz, I had to change 2 trains(I thought sounds simple –let’s go to Chemnitz).
First was ICE (which is the fastest) up to Leipzig and my good luck was fort hat day, Leipzig route was detoured due to construction work. Okay, no problem, I’ll take the next station that connects to Chemnitz. Barely managed to catch the train, and as I entered, its like plane all over again. Amazingly beautiful, crazily fast and by far the best train I have been on. A restaurant on board was supposed to be a good thing because I could find water after all the running. I asked the person for water, he gives me 3 choices – for water! I looked at all 3 choices and looked like a panda having absolutely no clue what to do. I pointed at one of them(thinking it was still water), paid and left. First sip, and its sparkling water which can easily be understood as soda for all us Indians (awesome first purchase Charu, way to go).
Since there was so much luggage, I didn’t want to change train more than 2 times so decided to get down at a stop called Riesa. Got down. Unlike India, where the stations are awake all night, there was no one here and it was just 9pm! I looked around and happen to see 2 people standing far off, approached them and asked them which platform for next train. They didn’t have a clue what I spoke. There was telephone booth, with no handle (Yes, that’s how they protect their resources here at night). After about 45 minutes which seemed like an entire winter( it was too cold as per Indian standards), I saw 2 girls running towards a train. So I ran towards the train as well, asked „Chemnitz??“, they nodded, and just threw all luggage in and got on. That was the last train to Chemnitz for that night and if it wasn’t for the girls who ran, well, you know how would the first night for me would be (absolutely delightful!).
I reached Chemnitz about 11:30pm and I couldn’t have imagined a more deserted place than that. Got down. Looked around. No clue where to go next because I hadn’t got dorms allotted yet.
But as they say, God always helps you in disguise, my German buddy from the Paten Program of TU Chemnitz was walking towards me and that’s when I had a sigh of relief in 16 hours.