4//31 | Enschede

Today started with strange black tea and a fight with a website. I don’t know if anyone’s had the same experience, but RyanAir’s website seemed to hate me, almost like they didn’t want my money. It took me a while and a great deal of self control not to shout at my screen, and in the end I managed to complete my purchase two hours later fortified by a coffee and pastries.

Uh, Maia, you’re on a rail journey through Europe. What could you possibly need and airline for?

Thanks for asking! The night before we left, Grace and I were looking over the map Eurail sent with our passes trying to get a bit more of a feel for our route. We were naming places we really wanted to go and linking them together. The result was a bloated route we could never pull off in a single month. So I said hey, European airfare is cheap, let’s look at augmenting with a few flights. And that’s what we’ve done – we’re flying from Dusseldorf to Madrid, then Budapest to Paris and Paris to Dublin, where we fly back to the States.

By the time that was done we only had a few hours before our train and encumbered as we were with our luggage, decided to take care of some other planning-booking-money things that needed our attention before walking back to the train station.

The train to Dusseldorf was wholly uneventful and we arrived without consequence. It was dark, but a different sort of dark to Enschede. Dusseldorf had an edge, Grace and I agreed on that quite quickly. The hostel we were staying at was a fifteen-minute walk from the station, made slightly longer by Maps fucking up and telling me to go the wrong way. Turning around, Grace and I also agreed, was a dumb thing to do when you’re two girls who are obviously tourists, walking at night, so we let Maps reroute and kept going the way we started. Turning around feels like a very unsafe thing to do, like you’re putting a target on your back.

The hostel turned out to be more of a hotel, and the guy at the desk kindly let us have a room with a private bathroom free of charge. We went up to the third floor in the tiniest elevator I’ve ever been in, dumped our luggage, and headed for the local Lidl. Lidl, like Aldi, is one of those stores where you can’t help but exclaim over every price and perhaps but more than you need because everything is so cheap. Despite that and our intense hunger, we did pretty well and came away with three meals’ worth of food and two tiny bottles of wine for twenty euros.

A sad thing happened, though. We were looking at butter to go with our bread, and there were some little third-size sticks that looked perfect for our needs. So we grabbed a couple and go check out, pleased with our findings. We get back to the hotel and Grace eagerly tucked into the bread and unwrapped the butter.

“Eugh, I don’t know what this is, but it’s not butter. It smells disgusting.”

It did indeed smell disgusting. A quick Google translation later and we find we bought fresh baker’s yeast. It was a sad mistake.

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