After a thoroughly enjoyable break in Bamberg, it was time to move on to our next destination: Dresden. So, this morning we packed up one last time from our three-night river-side free-camp, and rode back into town.
When we reached the station, Tyler waited with the bikes while I went in to get tickets. The kind clerk spoke English quite well, and a few minutes later, our itinerary was all set. On bike friendly trains. With everything settled, we wheeled over to the nearby Chinese restaurant (which we've eaten at every day since we arrived) for one last delicious meal.
After our tasty lunch, we headed back to the station, purchased one last ice cream sundae, and waited at the platform for our train to arrive. Unlike our international train adventure, this short one was mostly uneventful.
About an hour in, the train attendant came to check tickets. After eying ours, he looked up frantically and motioned for us to get up. As the train slowed to a halt, he told us in very broken English to get off! After much miming we finally we understood we were on the wrong train.
We got off in some small town in the middle of nowhere, and I went to the station to figure things out. All the doors were locked shut, and the place was deserted save for one old, grey-bearded man sitting in a dark office. I tapped on the window and asked if he spoke English. He smiled, and motioned for me to come around to a side door.
Then, he led me into his dark, dingy office. I wondered if anyone besides him (and now me) had been there in years. A huge, retro-looking panel with lights blinking all over consumed most of the space. The man took care of a few knobs and dials, probably preventing several horrific train crashes, and then turned his attention to me.
I told him our situation while he smiled benevolently, hands clasped in front of his belly. He then explained that we had been on the wrong half of the train. The front half was heading to Dresden, and the back half, which we had been on, was going to detach and head somewhere else entirely. We were supposed to move up a few cars when the train had stopped. Whoops.
I thanked him and headed back outside to talk to Tyler. We had one hour to wait until the next train arrived, so we set up our walkstools in a small patch of shade and tried to keep cool.
When our train pulled up, the old man ran out of his office and came to instruct us which half to get on. This time without issue, we made it to Dresden at 9:15 PM. Thank goodness for late summer sunsets!
A short five kilometer ride later, we were rolling into a campsite just as the light was beginning to fade. The reception office was closed, but a man came out to greet us and told us to pitch our tent and stop by in the morning to take care of registering. And so we did just that.
Now we're all settled in Dresden, looking forward to another few days of nothing.