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Published: September 29th 2015
Refugees at the Station
Muenster - Lyn went off to her appointment out of town, I walked in to town and roamed around getting disoriented with the old town layout, Once Lyn had returned we relaxed for a bit then discovered that the Mauritzhof had a happy hour which included food. It was so good we didn't need dinner and were able to go walking in the old town later just to gaze at the prettiness of it all with the lights on in the Prinziplamarkt and other places. An early night as we had a to catch an early train in the morning to Hamburg.
Hamburg - 7.58am train with a few changes along the way at Oberhausen and Bremen. Th e train was delayed 15 minutes but we had time in hand before Lyn ahd to get to her Education Fair in Hamburg so no worries. The train rocketed along until Hamburg, bustling, urgent, business-like hove into view. We got our first sight of refugees/migrants at the station - a small group of smelly men, women and children camped just outside the main concourse surrounded by police tape and guarded by police, in the sense that they were standing around looking official
Christof and Natascha, mine hosts, in absentia.
but not actually doing anything much else. The group numbered, probably 50, and a first aid tent had been set up along with what looked like a food tent and some sort of counselling/advice centre with Germans offering helpful support and advice. In the morning, we found out they were to be separated into smaller groups and trained off to other parts where they would be settled permanently.
However, we had things to do. Lyn had to get pout into the country for an appointment and I had to get to our airbnb to meet the owners, get a key, find out how it all worked. I taxied to 131 Humboldtstrasse in the suburbs about 4 km from the city centre and waited on the footpath for 20 minutes hoping I'd got the right place. I was early so the owners, Natascha and Christof, hadn't realised I'd arrived but she stuck her head out of the 3rd floor wind and saw my forlorn figure on the steps and came down to open the door. They were both trained nurses who had changed careers. He worked in radio and she was a an organiser for the German post- school voluntary
From the window of 131 Humboldtstrasse.
service, for which school leavers could opt to work for a year as a sort of growing up gap year. It use to be either compulsory military training or something community orientated but the compulsory bit has now gone.
Their place was like ..........um, a student flat but not in an Otago University way. It was slightly chaotic, decorated with alternative posters and stuff, furnished with whatever they could afford or find, the bed on a platform 6 inches above the floor, and very casual. It was on the third floor, no lift, was much bigger than a hotel room in that it was an apartment with a kitchen, living room, two bedrooms, a bathroom etc and much cheaper than a hotel room in Hamburg. It was clean and had everything we needed and they were very friendly as they tidied up and got ready to go on a camping holiday with their three year old daughter. I'd say it didn't quite fit the image in my head that I'd gained from the website photos but it was okay. I was given directions for trains and buses, a list of instructions for the usual house things and they were
Lyn returned a couple of hours later after a less than satisfactory appointment with a woman who couldn't even be stuffed with driving her to the local station to get a train back into Hamburg from 15kms out. Lyn had to ask another bloke who was there and had nothing to do with her if he would mind. She felt very intrepid as she then managed to work out the train and metro to find her way back to Hamburg and thence to the bnb. Will have to finish Hamburg later.
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