A few days before getting to my AirBnB I message my host to make sure the accommodations are still available and to re-introduce myself. I also ask them if there is a preferred method for my arrival. Some have offered pick-up services for an additional fee. I wanted to be courageous, and save money, when I got to France so I planned on using the public transportation to get to the home. Those planes changed when we arrived because it was pouring rain. I really wasn’t interested in figuring out how I was going to take the train, to the bus, and then a transfer to the subway while it was raining, so I hopped in a taxi.
I sent the same question to my host in Germany and they told me the taxi would be too expensive and gave me exact directions on which transportation to take. The routing app that I have been using provided me with four options, each having three or more transfers. Their directions were simple. I needed to take the train to the bus. Easy enough. The hard part was figuring out how to purchase the tickets. There were different amounts depending on how far we were traveling.
When we got off the plane in Germany we stopped to eat first and then found the train station. Our train was leaving in one minute so I was frantically trying to purchase our tickets. It was an hour and a half ride from the airport to the station we had to exit at. When we pulled up to our destination the ticket checkers came through. I was getting our luggage together and about to exit when I was stopped. I gave the woman my ticket and next thing I know I was surrounded by two other people. She was explaining to me that my ticket was only for Jayla. I showed her my receipt but that didn’t make any difference. I thought I had purchased a two separate tickets for us but apparently it only covered her fare. I was trying to tell them that we were at our stop and see if I could pay for the ticket difference there. The woman followed me off of the train and asked to see my passport, she also asked how long I would staying, and the address.
Her English was about as good as my Deutsch but she showed me that I had to pay 40 Euros on the spot. I was being fined! But, then she said, “It’s okay. Have fun in Germany.” All I could do was let out a sigh of relief and try my best to say ‘thank you,’ in Deutsch. The next step was finding the bus and again, going to the terminal and purchasing the tickets to ride. That didn’t work out so well either so we just walked over to the bus station and I started asking everyone that was there if they spoke English. The bus driver waved me over and I showed him the name of my stop and he pointed to Jayla and said, “1.80” and pointed to me and said, “2.20.”
When we got off the bus there were only two instructions. We had to turn left and turn right. The problem, the names of the streets are so long that they’re abbreviated and I didn’t know the abbreviation for ‘Leuchterstrasse.’ Then I heard someone walking behind me speaking English so I slowed down a bit and when he ended his call I turned around and begged for help. Not only did he point me in the right direction but he walked me to the train station and showed me how to read the map and understand the pricing.
My first day in Germany was awesome. Albeit long, the 2 hours it was supposed to take me took 5 but I made it and I didn’t have to take a taxi.