Germany 2019

   November - December 2019

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Venlo

Sunday November 3rd 2019

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I went to Germany for a month for work. The trip started with illness - for no apparent reason I began to feel sick and unsteady right as I left my house to set off. I was travelling overland - the idea of flying to Munich when I could easily get boats and trains just seemed too silly. So I was starting off with trains to Harwich for the overnight ferry to Hoek van Holland. A winter crossing of the North Sea while feeling ill seemed potentially unpleasant, but the ferries are massive and it was calm on board. I slept well and felt almost recovered the next day.

So I got trains from Hoek van Holland to Rotterdam, Breda, Eindhoven, Venlo, Stuttgart and finally Munich. I had a couple of hours between trains in Venlo, so I wandered around there.

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Englischer Garten

Sunday November 17th 2019

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I had a borrowed bike which was a little bit too small for me, so I didn't do any ambitious rides. But a few times I cycled into and around the Englischer Garten, which was always awesome. Nearly two decades ago I'd sat in here, broke, having travelled there right after my final undergraduate exams. It was strange to be back after so long.

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Bavarian winter

Saturday November 23rd 2019

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They sometimes get really savage cold in Munich. While I was there, it was pretty mild by their standards, still not cold enough to freeze the lakes in the Englischer Garten, but cold enough to make a poorly-prepared cyclist suffer with cold feet after a long ride.

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The Spot

Sunday November 24th 2019

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I stayed in a really nice apartment in suburban Munich. I was here to work on a coding project of considerable complexity, which I'd wanted to work on for a long time, and I enjoyed the chance to work on it free of all the normal distractions of daily life. So I didn't even see a lot of Munich, even working on the project most weekends in my desire to finish it off. Occasional views out of my window sustained me as I coded.

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Schwabing-West

Saturday November 30th 2019

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Where I was staying had a supermarket moments away, so life was very easy, with a five-minute cycle to work and a five-second walk to the shops. It made for a very pleasant contrast with London life and I had a lot more free time. The only thing I didn't like was that all shops in Bavaria are closed on Sundays. I think in principle, the idea of a legally-enforced day off for everyone is great. In practice, every Saturday I felt a deep sense of anxiety that I would want something on Sunday and not be able to get hold of it.

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Hannover

Sunday December 1st 2019

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My trip ended, strangely, as it began, with an illness that left me feeling sick and dizzy. Getting up at 4am did not help me to recover, and for a lot of the journey across Germany to the Netherlands, I slept.

Luckily, my journey involved slightly fewer transfers than it had on the way out. My first train was a fast and comfortable ICE to Hannover, where I had time between connections to quickly wander out into the town.

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Leaving Germany

Sunday December 1st 2019

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At dawn it had been crisp and clear. In the early afternoon, somewhere in Westphalia, the world was enshrouded in thick fog.

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Across the Netherlands

Sunday December 1st 2019

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The fog cleared as we headed west. As we crossed the Netherlands, the sun set. We passed Apeldoorn where I'd spent a great weekend two years previously.

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Amsterdam

Sunday December 1st 2019

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Another change of trains, another short wait for the next connection. I wandered out the front of Amsterdam, thinking about several great trips I've made there. But I just had time to take a couple of photographs before the train to Rotterdam left.

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Rotterdam

Sunday December 1st 2019

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I've passed through Rotterdam many times now, but never stayed there. Maybe I'll check it out properly some time. On this trip, it was just another gap between trains. I bought another snack at another Albert Heijn, then got the train to Hoek van Holland for the night boat back to Harwich.

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