This past weekend some friends and I made a last minute decision to visit the Leipzig Book Fair. Leipzig is just a few hours south of Berlin and it’s a city few of us have spent much time in (despite it’s pretty hip reputation among the young & trendy). The book fair seemed as good an excuse as any, so with a bit of pushing and prodding we had a small group interested in going.

The plan was to buy a multi-person ticket good for up to 5 people, a “Happy Weekend Ticket” as the folks at bahn.de call it. It’s one of the most affordable ways for train travel in Germany so long as you can split the ticket among a group (or make fast friends with other travelers on the train platform). The ticket essentially gives you unlimited train travel on Germany’s regional trains for up to 5 persons during a single day. And all for just 42 euro!

Hauptbahnhof Berlin
Hauptbahnhof Berlin

Well, that was the plan: get to Leipzig. But as we all know, travel plans often don’t come to full fruition. Taking an early train on Saturday morning is hard enough, but we all managed to show up on time. (I only had to set 4 alarm clocks to wake up on time!) A quick breakfast in the Hauptbahnhof train station and we were soon waiting on the platform for our early departure. That was until we noticed the train was cancelled. CANCELLED. Unfortunately with our special ticket, alternative options were limited and while we could’ve caught a train in another hour, we opted instead to just simply go somewhere else. The ticket was only valid for the day anyways.

We were going on an adventure.

Sometimes the spontaneity of a travel decision is half the fun. Standing there in the (very cold) train station, we had a decision to make. Since we only had the day, did we give up and go home? Did we wait around for a different connection? Or do we throw all caution to the wind and head in the complete opposite direction? And to a town none of us really knew much about at that!

Obviously we went with option C.

After a bit of back-and-forth and a last-minute scramble to see which connections we could easily make for a day trip, we settled on taking a train up north. It would lead us to the Baltic Sea where we rightfully assumed we could, at the very least, enjoy a fish lunch. With no time to research our new destination, we hopped on a train and headed north. We’d figure out where to get off the train afterwards. Two-and-a-half hours later, at the stop in Schwerin, we decided to get off the train. The city seemed popular enough and actually, a quick WikiTravel search made it seem downright interesting! And though we may have missed the book fair we stumbled upon this in our new destination:

Schwerin Castle
Schwerin Schloss (castle)

Making our own travel adventure at the last minute? It was a success!

Have you ever made last-minute travel plans to a destination you knew very little about? What was your experience? This is something I definitely plan to do more of!

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