Central WHAT Station??

In Art of Travel Spring 2016, Prague, Mishap by Angel

First things first, I’m a control freak when it comes to traveling. I hate stressing out about catching flights and luggage requirements, so I usually just travel with a giant backpack. I’d rather spend an hour doing nothing at the airport than running through security checks to my gates (which, I’m sad to admit, I had to do plenty of this semester). This weekend, I went to Berlin to meet up with my floormate and RA from freshmen year. They flew out in the morning, so I wandered Berlin alone until my bus at 13:00. I had scheduled everything perfectly, factored in time for transportation, and gave myself an extra 30 minutes to find the bus.

Berlin Central Station. That’s what I had input into all of my Google Map directions. However, after arriving at the station, I couldn’t find my bus. That was an understatement. I couldn’t find any buses. Starting to get nervous, I went to the Information Center. “Hi, where is Flixbus?” The worker, sounding slightly annoyed, responded, “That’s at the Central Bus Station. This is the Central Train Station, only trains.” And at that moment, one word flashed into my head; I’m sure you can figure out what word it was. I asked the worker for directions, gave her a nod of thanks, and as quickly as I could, rushed to the correct platform. To add to my nerves, I couldn’t confirm where I was going, because the Central Train Station didn’t have Wi-Fi (one would think that the central station of such a large city would have Wi-Fi). I was quite the sight, pacing up and down the platform, carrying a giant backpack, constantly glancing at the map and then at the clock.

12:45. The train finally pulls in. There’s no way I can make it to the bus station in 15 minutes… I thought to myself. I hoped I was wrong, maybe this train is express or something, but sadly, I was not. By the time the train pulls into the last stop, it’s around 13:05. The bus arrived late when I took it from Prague, maybe it’ll leave late again, I told myself. I kept making up excuses to assure myself that I would make it. 0.5 miles from Central Bus Station. Well, that was it, I’m definitely not making it then. Even if I ran, I would still miss it, taking note of the sheer fact that I did not exercise enough to be capable of sprinting half a mile, and especially not when I was carrying so much weight on my back.

I tried to get there as quickly as I could. But in the end, I didn’t make it. I wish I could say that I’m typing this on the 13:00 bus that I, by some miraculous occasion, was able to make it onto with five seconds to spare, or some dramatic story like that. But I’m not. I got to the station at 13:23 and had to walk to the bus company in defeat to purchase a new ticket. I bought a chocolate sundae from McDonald’s to try and make myself feel better, but it didn’t really help much.

And so here I am now, typing this on the 15:00 bus. On the bright side, the cost for buying a new bus ticket doesn’t require selling my liver on the black market, and the commute isn’t too long so I’ll be able to get home by 20:00. It’s just upsetting that even after all the precautionary measures I took to avoid something like this happening, it still happened.

Image source

  • Berlin Central Bus Station: Angel