This spirit of improvisation suits travelling by road. On the railways, with tickets purchased in advance for reasons of economy, and hotels to be met, this is rather more difficult. I had given myself a day in Wuppertal, and had a late afternoon ICE train to Hamburg. The stay at the hotel in Wuppertal included free use of the VRR integrated local transport system - including the Schwebebahn, the reason I had come to Wuppertal. Having visited the Gardasee Eiscafe in the morning, I contemplated going to Gelsenkirchen to look for the house that used to be Alice's grandmothers' (used to be in a double sense: in the film, Alice's grandmother has moved, "A Italian woman lives there now", thus negating a closed resolution to the film). Gelsenkirchen is within the VRR area, but an hour away from Wuppertal. I looked at the possibility of travelling there from Vohwinkel (the last stop on the Schwebebahn, where the scene I described in 'The Phantom Ride' is shot); Vohwinkel S-Bahn station is a short walk away.
There was not enough time to get to Gelsenkirchen, find the house, and return to Wuppertal to collect my luggage, and catch my train to Hamburg. However, I knew that Gelsenkirchen was in the general direction of travel. Picking up my rucksack from the hotel, I went to the Reisezentrum at Wuppertal Hauptbahnhof, located in a temporary building due to the vast rebuilding work at Doppersburg. It was possible: my hotel ticket would get me to Gelsenkirchen for no extra charge, and I could have an hour and a half there before I would need to take a connecting train from Gelsenkirchen to Münster, where I could join the Hamburg train that I was booked on; the ticket to Münster was a mere €11.60.
Unfortunately, improvisation only gets one so far. Although I had printed a map showing a section of Gelsenkirchen from the station to the road where the house was (at least in the film; but again, Wenders has a particular fidelity to his locations, so there is no reason to believe this one is any different). In the film, they ask a passing driver, and he gives a name that appears in the subtitles as "Erdbrückenstrasse": with no such address in Gelsenkirchen, Erdbrüggenstrasse seemed a near-enough homophone. This I was unable to research any further online: Gelsenkirchen is untouched by Google StreetView. My map didn't have a scale on it, but I thought that the distance might be walked in half an hour. As in Wuppertal that morning, it was raining. I soon realised that the scale was deceptive and it would take me longer than anticipated. On one of the main roads, I took a look at a bus stop. There was a bus listed with the direction of Erdbrüggenstrasse. However, being a Sunday, there were only two buses an hour, and I had missed one by ten minutes, meaning the next was due in twenty minutes, at ten past four. My train to Münster was at 16:53. At this point I did realise that I would be unable to bring this improvised journey to its goal. I walked another few streets in the direction of Erdbrüggenstrasse; when I had emerged from Gelsenkirchen station, the town centre seemed completely unlike the semi-rural setting that Alice's grandmother's house appears to be surrounded by in the film. By the time I had walked for just over half an hour, the character of the streets had changed. I reached Bulmker Park, where the roads around it had modest villas behind hedges and screens of trees. At the far side was a footpath leading North, alongside a plot of typical German summer houses. Here I stopped, pausing in the park, with bare dripping trees and two young men smoking in a shelter overlooking the small lake. I turned around, and walked back to Gelsenkirchen station.