The Polish train trundles through the suburbs of old East Berlin past the ten-story Soviet-era apartment blocks on it's way home to its native country. The cityscape in these parts has a kind of utopian feel about it; residential blocks set in parkland with plenty of trees and green space, wide avenues, and localities selling this and that; people relaxing under the shade of a tree; kids playing in a play park. At least that's how it looks through the window of the train as we go by; I have no idea what it's like to live here, but from our experience staying in an Airbnb in one of these areas, I feel that life here might be alright.
We left Brussels and got the train from Midi station to Cologne and then all the way on to Berlin yesterday. The train was swish and amazing - putting Blighty trains to shame - even the food in the buffet car was pretty good. It was a shock to find that all the staff were suddenly German and we had to brush off a bit of the lingo. Just before we reach Cologne we were informed in a lengthy diatribe (in four languages: French, Dutch, German and English) that the train was going to terminate before our destination due to some problem and we'd have to swap trains. When we got to the station we discovered that the waiting train was full of people who promptly disembarked to get on our train whilst we got on theirs; so we swapped trains with them and ended up in the same seats. Oh and a tip about getting on a train without a reservation but with a large wheelie case: don't get on first; wait for everyone else to get on and get their seats and get on last and find a free seat. I expect you already knew that!