Germany with a toddler

So, this is a departure from the norm I admit, and it’s sure gonna skew that Google map…but bear with me. When can you do something wacky and out-of-the-ordinary if not at Christmas? Or at least on the second day of January…

You may recall from my last proper post (not the wordpress report thing -that was just a special 50th post/end of year post) that we foolishly boarded an aircraft with our small child. Turns out that if you sit on one of those things long enough (a mere 55 minutes in this case – so about the same time it takes to get to Bethnal Green), you arrive in another country! And an actual other country. I know East London feels like one sometimes.

First job was to locate the bus that went to the train station from the airport. Kein problem! Or so I thought….Despite being called the “Airport Express” and despite that german efficiency, the bus only ran once every hour and a half. Luckily, “Kevin” (really must stop calling him that) had FINALLY fallen asleep, so Nathan and I had a coffee and waited. The bus took about 40 minutes to get to the station, with Roo still asleep, Nathan falling asleep and me attempting not to fall asleep and was a bit of a tour of scenic Dortmund. Next time, I think we may just get a taxi.

But excitement! For we were at the station! And stations mean what, Reuben? Yes, that’s right! Choo-choo Zugs! Just like the ones you’re waving in my face right now, in a misguided attempt to get Mummy to build your Chuggington interactive railway. Shh dear, Mummy’s blogging. And also can’t build that railway. Ask Daddy to do it.

Obviously, Roo was awake and lively again by the time we got to the Bahnhof. Once again, there was nowhere to sit (is this some kind of conspiracy?!), so I left Nathan with all the stuff and went to show Roo the German choo-choos. Just as exciting as English ones, apparantly. And they have numbers and stuff, which is always a winner. Luckily, we didn’t need tickets to get onto the platforms. Luckily, as we didn’t have any tickets. As we were at the machine, attempting to buy tickets two people approached us. Through my fairly rusty German, I discerned that these people both had tickets to sell us – one wanted a single person, the other was looking for two people to make up a group. Don’t ask me whyit seemed like a good idea to agree to this, but we went with the man looking for two people. Nine Euros each, and we’d meet him on the platform with the money just before the train went.

I know what you’re thinking – this is going to end horribly. Well, HA! It didn’t! He was an honest sort, and we all got to Gütersloh for the princely sum of 18 Euros. Shame on you for thinking the worst of him… Anyhow, we handed over the money shortly before we got on the train and had to sit with him all the way to Gütersloh but it’s OK, we didn’t have to make conversation or anything – he just read his paper. We are, after all, Londoners even when we’re abroad and you just don’t talk to strangers on public transport unless you absolutely have to.

I think I’ll leave our adventures in and around the garrison town of Gütersloh for another time. Let me leave you with a few tips on travelling on a double-decker Zug with your toddler. First off – double decker means steps going down as well as up. Getting a buggy on is never going to be easy. Secondly, the aisle is not quite wide enough to comfortably get a buggy down. Learn these two phrases – “Entschuldigung” (excuse me) and “es tut mir leid” (sorry). It won’t make the Germans stop glaring at you but it might make you feel better. Thirdly, your toddler will love being on a double-decker choo-choo and that makes up for everything else. Pretty much.

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