Antwerp – Breda – Eindhoven – Venlo – Breyell – Wuppertal – Hannover – Goslar – Wernigerode
Seven trains, a rail replacement bus, and three trips on the Schwebebahn. This was an epic day with a bucket list item well and truly ticked off. It also involved 15 hours on the move and as I type this at the end of the following day, I’m still not quite recovered!
I awoke to snow in Antwerp, nothing serious but with enough of a gale to need to wrap up. I had a pre-9am departure so headed straight for the station and grabbed breakfast there.
I always forget how badly tea is done over here. I asked for a breakfast tea (as per the menu) and thought I was doing well when I was asked if I wanted milk. What arrived was a cup of hot water and milk with a teabag on a disk at the side 😂
The snow got heavier was we moved into the countryside, and made the journey slow. The incredibly ambitious 3 minute connection that the Deutsche Bahn Navigator app had suggested was possible in Eindhoven simply didn’t happen. In fairness, the app told me it wasn’t going to happen 10 minutes before we arrived. Thanks.
After a pause for breath (and a second missed train, when a last minute platform change was announced only in Dutch and my attention was distracted) I was back on the move to Venlo, on the German border. On arrival there I was greeted by loads of people milling around and signs saying there were no trains. The station signs said the problem was over the border, but the printed sign on the station suggested that it was a strike. Everyone was herded onto a bus and eventually dropped a few hundred metres from the station in Breyell.
Eventually, about 2 hours later than planned, I arrived in Wuppertal. I’ve wanted to visit this place ever since I first read about it while I was doing web development work for Railtrail. The suspended railway is pretty much unique. The geography of this area means that it was all but impossible to build anywhere other than directly over a river that runs down the valley, so that’s what they did, over a century ago. It is a really busy commuter route, but also a popular tourist attraction. I wasn’t disappointed.
I made it to one end of the line and half way to the other end before having to head back for my train. It was a bit of a shame to not have time to do it all, but I certainly got a good feel for it.
From here it was a pretty routine run, with a couple of hours on the ICE then a couple of local trains to my destination of Wernigerode. After 45 minutes at my desk, I was more than ready to collapse into bed!