Train Ride from Mechelen, Belgium to Freiburg, Germany

Posted by Cassie, November 11th, 2009

Sunday, September 20, 2009

It was an adventure negotiating the trains with our bikes!  In Mechelen, we had to haul our bikes up three flights of stairs to get to the train platform.  Then, we had to get our loaded bikes on and off the train.  We managed it, but it took a bit of effort.  We changed trains twice: in Brussels and in Basel, Swizterland.  The trains were packed with people.  Fortunately, for our long stretch from Brussels to Basel, we boarded the train at the start of its route, so we were able to get good seats by the window.  Tons of people got on and off the train.  I have five different people sit next to me between Brussels and Basel.  The train ride went smoothly until we got to Basel.  We were confused by the train schedule since it had us get off at one station at Basel with “10 minuten interlopen”, and then board our next train at another station in Basel.  We saw a women who was getting off when we got to Basel, so we asked her about the train schedule.  She was really helpful, and we found out that we had to get off at the station in Basel, France to go through customs before entering the Basel, Switzerland station.  We had assumed that Switzerland was a part of the EU, but it is not a member of the EU.  Switzerland is in the middle of the Europe, but they are the only country that is not part of the EU.  All the neighboring countries are part of the EU.  We short layover in Basel, Switzerland station before boarding the train to Freiburg, but we couldn’t do anything while we were there. Everything was in Swiss francs, but we were not going to change our money to Swiss francs because we were only going to be in Switzerland for an hour.  We couldn’t even go to the bathroom at the train station because you had to pay in Swiss francs to use the bathroom.  It was so ridiculous!  We boarded our final train, and it was a short ride to Freiburg, Germany.  We arrived in Freiburg, but we had not figured out where to stay yet.  I found a good hostel listed in the guidebook, but we didn’t know how to get there from the train station.  Fortunately, they had an information kiosk next to the train station that had a computer with free Internet access, which was awesome!  We were able to look up directions to the hostel.  It was 11pm when we arrived in Freiburg, so it made more challenging to find the hostel late at night.  We were within blocks of where the hostel was, but then we couldn’t find the street that it was on.  We wandered around for a while, and then, we finally found the hostel.  This was the first time we had stayed in a hostel, so we didn’t know what to expect.  The hostel was really nice, and everyone was really friendly and helpful.  The place had a carefree, hippie atmosphere, and the man who was working there said to us, “Make yourselves at home here.”

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