So, it's time to leave Berlin. It's another grey day, with a faint hint of drizzle in the air.
With a bit more light in the station than there was on the evening I arrived, there's a chance to grab a picture of its multi-level interior.
There aren't actually many angles which you can see all the levels from. This is one of them, though I don't think seeing it like this really conveys just how vast this place feels.
Up on the top level, you can see right across, through all the overhead power lines, to the Berliner Dom, the Rotes Rathaus and, of course, the Fernsehturm.
The ICE for Cologne arrives at just after 9:45. It's a long train at this point - actually two trains attached together. It'll be split in Hamm, one half going to Köln/Bonn Flughafen (airport) and the other going to Köln Hauptbahnhof.
A little girl gets on with her mother at Berlin Spandau. The girl cries; she doesn't want to leave Berlin. I know the feeling...
Past Hannover, things become more grey and it starts to rain. Then come the Weser and Wiehen hills, with mist rolling down from their summits.
Bearing in mind the death valley memory I mentioned on the outward journey, I can't help smiling when I see this piece of advice at Hagen Hauptbahnhof, advising people not to get out there:
Of course it's meant to indicate that you should get out of the other side of the train, but the sign actually just says 'please don't get out here'.
There's a tiny bit of time in Cologne to wander out of the station:
Then it's on to Brussels. I probably should have taken some pictures when I got there, but Bruxelles Midi really isn't a station that puts me in the mood for doing that sort of thing. The main concourse has low, dark coloured ceilings which just make it feel gloomy and oppressive.
It's dark when the Eurostar leaves at 17:59. "Mind the dangly bits, they might get in someone's face" says the voice of an elderly lady a few seats in front; I don't look to see what's going on.
I get given an electronic questionnaire to fill out during the trip, the man handing me a PDA and a stylus and telling me to use the stylus on the screen 'just like holding a dart'. As he seemed to be leaving people unsupervised with them, I wonder if he ever comes back to find someone has taken it too literally and impaled the PDA with the stylus; I suppose it would be as good an indicator as any of what the customer thought of the experience (or at least of his survey).
The train arrives at St Pancras just after 19:00 British time. The journey to Berlin has come full circle...ready to begin again another time...