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Apparitions & inundations

Yet another trip with German Rail

“Noch eine Reise mit der Deutschen Bahn”

Between September 28 and October 11 (2011), I’ll be in Germany once again to catch up with a few friends, drink some beer, stuff my face with döner and bratwurst, and make some brand new photos.

Lily Leung wrote extensively about Eurail in her blog. This got me thinking about frequent trips I’ve taken with German rail company Deutsche Bahn

Berlin Central Station

Berlin Central Station (20091001).

After living in Germany for two years and leaving in 2003, I’ve since returned to the country one to two times each year. I’ve always used rail passes to travel within the country, and it can be much cheaper to buy passes before traveling and outside of Germany, than to purchase point-to-point fares inside the country.

Fortunately, obtaining rail passes has always been convenient with Rail Europe. In just about all cases, I know my travel dates, and on what days I need to get from one city to the next. For this trip, I took advantage of their “buy-4-get-5” promotion, and I promptly purchased a 5-day Germany pass. Recently, I learned about German Rail Pass which provides information about and ordering passes for rail travel within Germany.

In addition to cost savings, there are two other advantages to a rail pass: (1) you don’t have to wait in line (queue up) to buy your ticket from a counter or from a ticket-machine, and (2) you’re not tied to specific train schedules. On my iPod, I’ve been using the free DB Navigator app to get quick information about trains and departure times.

Departures board, Frankfurt Central Station

Departures board, Frankfurt Central Station (20091010).

With the departures board (above), you can look up and imagine where you’d like to go next. Most of the departures boards are now electronic displays, but as a regular Bahn user since 2002, I miss the “clickety-clack” sounds as older mechanical displays were being updated.

I love train stations – the hustle and bustle, the sounds of arriving trains, the loudspeakers announcing which trains are leaving and the platforms from which trains depart. What I like to do is head to one of the many Stehcafés (standing-only) in a station, order a coffee and pastry, stand back and watch people pass by on their daily rush. It’s a lot more fun when you’re not in a rush to catch a train.

Also, I find it convenient to stop in a magazine-/bookstore and check out their selection of English language books. I don’t see a large supply in Chile, and my visits to English-speaking countries are less frequent. While I can read some German, sometimes I just want to sink my teeth into a book where I don’t have to turn on my “internal translator.”

On my upcoming 14-day trip, I’m crossing the country in my ‘usual’ manic fashion with stops at the following stations:

Platform 5, Frankfurt Airport Station

Waiting on platform 5, Frankfurt Airport Station – 0018h, 20061205.

This website (in English and German) highlights all of the major train stations throughout the country. Each station is listed with services, and there are also station maps to download in PDF format.

I also love route maps. A separate Deutsche Bahn website provides PDF maps for IC/EC/ICE (InterCity, EuroCity, InterCity Express) routes, as well as regional routes within the various German states; the route information is available only in German.

Next post: Cross-country train, Berlin to Frankfurt am Main, March 2011.


No Connection, Unpaid, My Own Opinions Disclosure: No Connection, Unpaid, My Own Opinions. I have not received any compensation for writing this content and I have no material connection to the brands, topics and/or products that are mentioned herein (cmp.ly/0).

This post was published originally on Fotoeins Fotopress at fotoeins.com as http://wp.me/p1BIdT-ln.

23 Responses to “Yet another trip with German Rail”

  1. Lily

    Hi Henry,

    Really helpful overview of Germany rail travel. I haven’t been to half the stations you listed on your route, so now you’ve given me ideas for the rest of my Europe trip, especially since I’ve found the German trains (along with the Austrian ones) to be the easiest to travel on. I love that there are no reservations required, they’re fast, not full and on time.

    Have a great trip!

    – Lily

    Like

    Reply
    • fotoeins

      Hi, Lily!

      Thanks for reading and for your kind comments about my post. I think your comments about German Rail are generally true, but I’ll tell you that taking the same trains last December with snow blockage and delays throughout the country simultaneous with the Christmas rush was both illuminating and challenging. 🙂

      Have fun in Wien!

      Like

  2. Brad Holden

    This information is great, Henry! I wish I had known before I went to DE this summer 🙂

    On my trip from Frankfurt-am-Main to Berlin I ended up overhearing an amusing conversation (in English) about Berlin politics between a German businessman and a immigrant from French Guiana.

    Berlin sounds like a fascinating place to live, it was certainly a whole lot of fun to visit!

    Like

    Reply
    • fotoeins

      Brad, I’m sure you both can get back to Germany another time, and you’ll have all of the necessary information in hand. Thanks for stopping by and for your comments!

      Like

    • fotoeins

      Hi, Lori.

      Thanks for your comment!

      I hope you’ll be able to visit Germany soon. Please feel free to contact me, if you’ve any questions about traveling around the country. Also, if you don’t mind cooler conditions, December’s a great time to hang around the Christmas markets throughout the country; please check out my “Christmas in July” photo-series: https://fotoeins.com/category/christmas/

      Thanks again for stopping by!

      Like

  3. Nomadic Samuel

    Henry, that’s a hectic schedule! Train travel is by far my most preferred way of getting around. I’ve still yet to visit Europe though. It’s sounds like the pass is definitely the way to go!

    Like

    Reply
    • fotoeins

      Hi, Samuel. Your timing is impeccable (for which I’m grateful), as I’ll have a post up in the next day about saving money with a German Rail Pass, based on my own experiences with this pass. You’ve got a lot of options with getting rail pass(es) for Europe. Thanks for your comment, and for stopping by my blog!

      Like

    • fotoeins

      Hi, Julia. Thanks for reading and for your comment about Deutsche Bahn’s dot-com website in English!

      Like

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