Something blocks the GPS signal on the way out of Cologne; I suspect the thick cloud doesn't help. It's not until the train passes through Düsseldorf that the receiver locks on to the satellites again.
As the train stops in Hagen, I can't help thinking of the hotel I stayed in during the World Cup, in a place called Wasserloses Tal (waterless valley). Seeing the address, I'd assumed that Wasserloses Tal was one of these street names which has some kind of historical background which has been long since obscured by the course of urbanisation. Not so in Wasserloses Tal - it really was a dry, arid place. The crew nicknamed it Death Valley.
After the valleys come flatter landscapes again and the train passes into Lower Saxony. The area around Hannover is particularly familiar territory to me; I lived here for a while and can't help peering just a little more closely out the window to catch a better view of the rapidly darkening scenery.
The train pulls into Hannover at 17:28; an hour and a half to go until it arrives at Berlin Hauptbahnhof.