Around the World in 109 days
Um die Welt in 109 Tagen
When I left my home at Laakstr., Luenen, just before 7am, I had just
finished packing my luggage a few minutes before - as usual. And if I
should have forgotten something, at least I did not have to carry it
all the way around the globe. Anyway, I always say the most important
things to carry are passport, camera and tickets, everything else can
be bought on the road if necessary. I already had more luggage than I
had planned to carry, even though I just took the really necessary things,
but those sum up, too. In addition to that, my mum had prepared two bags
of provisions (for me not to starve on the long bus ride to Russia) but
this load was supposed to disappear in my stomach during the following
two days anyway.
The advantage of such a fast departure is that there is no time for long
farewells or to become nervous about what kind of trip I was going to leave
for. There was only a short "See you in the end of August!" and "Be careful!"
and I was gone. My dad drove me to Luenen central station where the first ride
of my journey should be provided by Deutsche Bahn. I paid 4.10 Euro for a 15
min ride which is probably one of the most expensive tickets on my tour -
considering the price per kilometer. Surprisingly, the local train was on
time (because it started in Luenen), so I arrived at Dortmund central bus
station (ZOB) around 7:30am.
Unfortunately, my bus was late though, which was not really funny to me
because I had no idea where exactly on the bus station it was going to
arrive nor did anyone answer the phone at the Russian bus travel agency
where I had booked the trip. (Actually, I had only made a reservation by
phone and had no written confirmation.) I was already thinking of alternative
ways to get to Kalmykia on time (to be there exactly during the 4-day validity
of my Russian visa), when the bus arrived at 9:10am, 40 min late.
Suddenly, a dozen people appeared who also went on that bus, and gone we were,
on Autobahn A2 direction East. The longest single ride (considering time, not
distance) of my round the world trip had begun. At 2pm we had a stop in
Braunschweig where other people went on the bus and we had to pay for the ride.
It was 150 Euro for 50 hours bus ride, not too expensive. More people joined
in Magdeburg and Berlin, and after that the seat next to me was not vacant
anymore and I had only half the space I had had before. On the other hand,
the friendly old lady next to me could translate the three drivers'
announcements to me, because Russian was the only language spoken in the
bus. I was the only passenger who was neither Russian nor Russian-born
German, a fact that surprised both my busmates and the official guys at
the borders. Why the hell does a German with no relation to Russia bear
a two-days long bus ride to Kalmykia? I did not mind but had the sleep I
had missed the previous night. Only half awake I realized when we crossed
the border to Poland around 7:45pm. Thanks to Poland's new membership in
the European Union the bus did not even have to stop at the border post.
I should have enjoyed this comfort more because the further I went East
the longer it took to cross borders.
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