I celebrated New Year’s Eve with hubby and another couple friend up in the mountains of the Northern part of Germany. We went to Brocken, around the area of the National Park Harz which is located Northeast of Germany.
Going up to the mountain, we took a real steam-train that really made hoot-hoots and belched smoke all through out the trip.
At first I thought, well, yeah… I’m getting on an old train, which is most probably filled with old folks who have nothing better to do on New Year’s Eve than hop on a train and get drunk during the trip all the way up to the mountains. Well, there were some but there were also guests in their mid 20’s to early 30’s. Yep, admittedly, I find these age bracket nowadays to be “young” *wink*.
The train was scheduled to Depart from the Quedlinburg train station at 17:00. From our hotel to the train station, we were informed would take us by foot roundabout 5 minutes. So, we took our time and left the hotel 15 minutes before 17:00.
It was raining and cold and the weather was actually really gloomy. What we did not expect though, was that the way to the train station would take actually 15 minutes. And considering the reputation of the Trains here in Germany during the last few months or some couple of years actually, it has been quite unreliable, most of the time late and well, sometimes due to strikes-don’t even arrive or depart at all.
Just to our luck, the Steam train master was neither on strike nor too sick to go to work that day. We were half-running half walking towards the Platform when the train started to move. We were like shouting, running and huff-puffing all the way to the other end of the platform saying we wanted to get on the blasted train as well.
Some bystanders were saying, it was not a normal train that goes to the next town that and we should not worry. There was a homeless guy who was so nice and said, “it’s okay, the next train going to the next town will arrive shortly”. Trying to appease us.. so sweet of him.. but really.. we wanted to be on THAT train!
It was apparently not so obvious to them that we actually really wanted to get on that steam train and not on a normal train that goes to next town.
The Train conductor noticed us though and asked the train master therefore to slow done until we all four could get on.
We can look for our designated Wagon and seats later, no big deal. We just needed to get on the darn train!
To make it short, we made it.. and of course, when we got on the train everybody was like clapping and shouting “congratulations” and we were like puffing, and huffing and trying to get out of our jackets because, yeah, despite the cold weather, we were sweating!!! Try running like 250 meters plus going down and up a tunnel to cross to the other side of the platform — in heavy winter Pulls and jackets– duh!!!!
Fast forward, guest estimate was at about a hundred in all. The train had 4 wagons which are all full except for two tables which normally occupies four persons, was empty. The whole trip to the top of the mountains took almost 7 hours. Including all the stops for the fireworks, then to get more coal and finally the Dinner in the tower of the Castle of Falkenstein. The food which was all inclusive with the ticket was more than enough and surprisingly was really good. Just the drinks we had to pay for, but the price for each bottle was also not so bad.
We reached the peak just close to midnight. The wind was biting and everything was frozen. Before getting off the train, I took a peak of the outside world whilst hearing the icy cry of the wind blowing. We got off the train, champagne bottles, glasses and camera at hand and walked around the area together with the rest of the troop. We walked around singing “Auld Lang Syne” with the other guests. After a few minutes we gathered back inside the train and had more drinks. Some went on to take pictures. Others decided to walk back down the slopes towards the city and some also stayed in the hotel at the peak.
Unfortunately, when we made the booking, hotel accommodations at the peak of the mountain was not an open option anymore. It was already fully booked since the January 2014. Apparently, our reservation which was finalized around March of 2014, was way too late. The hotel was already fully booked.