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Posts tagged ‘German Rail’

Counting year 18 in Germany with an accent on Austria

Above: Vienna’s streetcar route 5, with a historical vehicle leaving Praterstern for Westbahnhof (Kurt Rasmussen, Wiki).

With two-country Eurail pass in hand, I’m in Germany for the 18th consecutive year. However, my emphasis throughout May will be in Austria. While my extended time in Austria is primarily divided among Innsbruck, Salzburg, and Vienna, I have multiple side-excursions, many of which will involve chasing good spring light and “(wide) pictures in the green.” I doubt I’ll adopt an Austrian accent to my spoken German, but stranger things have happened …

Noticeable below is no mention of Salzburg’s “The Sound of Music”, for which many Austrians have little awareness or knowledge as residents do not consider the film representative of people or country, and about which others online have already described. My interests in Austria lie elsewhere: they lie in my ability and advantage to speak German; the culture of bistros, cafés, and wine taverns; border crossings wiped out by Schengen; Jewish history; Jugendstil and Secession; salt mines; science; and urban art.

2018 is the European Year of Cultural Heritage and is also the year of Vienna Modernism, marking the 100th anniversary year of the deaths of Gustav Klimt, Koloman Moser, Egon Schiele, and Otto Wagner.

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Ehrwald Bahnhof, Kulmalukko, Wikipedia

$500+ savings with the Eurail AT-DE pass (2018)

Above/featured: Ehrwald station in Austria. 2014 photo by Kulmalukko (CC BY-SA 4.0).

I’m tuned to keeping alive a long-standing streak.

I’m in Germany for the 18th consecutive year this May. But, back “home” bookends the bulk of my time in Austria with key visits to Innsbruck, Salzburg, and Vienna.

I’ve purchased a 2nd-class Eurail Austria-Germany Pass (adult) with ten non-consecutive days of travel inside an interval of two months. With my preference for open-ended travel over advanced purchase of individual point-to-point tickets, I will save over 500 dollars. Here I describe:

  1. how flexibility with a rail pass provides significant savings, and
  2. how I validate and activate the rail pass when I arrive in Europe.

( Click here for more )

IHolocaustdenkmal, Berlin, Germany, fotoeins.com

International Holocaust Remembrance Day: observations from Germany

Primo Levi, Italian-Jewish author, chemist, and Auschwitz survivor, delivered a set of essays about life and survival in Nazi extermination camps in his 1986 book “The Drowned and the Saved”. Levi wrote:

… For us to speak with the young becomes even more difficult. We see it as a duty and, at the same time, as a risk: the risk of appearing anachronistic, of not being listened to. We must be listened to: above and beyond our personal experiences, we have collectively witnessed a fundamental, unexpected event, fundamental precisely because unexpected, not foreseen by anyone. It took place in the teeth of all forecasts; it happened in Europe; incredibly, it happened that an entire civilized people, just issued from the fervid cultural flowering of Weimar, followed a buffoon whose figure today inspires laughter, and yet Adolf Hitler was obeyed and his praises were sung right up to the catastrophe. It happened, therefore it can happen again: this is the core of what we have to say.

On 27 January 1945, Soviet Red Army troops liberated the Nazi concentration and extermination camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau in south-central Poland. Over 1 million men, women, and children were murdered.

The United Nations declared January 27 as International Holocaust Remembrance Day; the designation came during the 42nd plenary session of the United Stations when resolution 60/7 was passed on 1 November 2005.

Accepting and openly stating responsibility are critical first steps, but spending time, money, and effort to ensure the simple motto of “never again” is also an ongoing reality that isn’t solely up to the citizens of Germany. It’s a collective responsibility that we all should have to remain vigilant; that we all have to recognize and bolster actions which encourage and strengthen the universality of human rights, and reject the erosion and withdrawal of those rights.

I also believe responsible tourism includes paying appropriate respect at a memorial, especially the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin. It’s my view this important memorial is not (supposed to be) a playground.

And yet, there’s something to be said about freedom in the early 21st-century which allows people to laugh and frolic in the public space, an undulating sculpture of featureless massive grey cement blocks, a testimonial to the systematic murder of millions of people.

Naturally, you have the freedom to take selfies and play here. But it doesn’t mean I’m gonna laugh with you.

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Frankfurt am Main Hauptbahnhof, central station, Hauptbahnhof, Frankfurt am Main, Germany, fotoeins.com

$600 savings with the German Rail Pass this fall (2017)

Above: 6am at Frankfurt am Main Hauptbahnhof, 20 May 2016 (HL).

I’ve set foot inside Germany at least once each year since 2001. I’m “home” again for the 17th consecutive year with this autumn’s itinerary in the country’s central corridor, including Heidelberg, Konstanz, Ulm, Hannover, Kassel, Berlin, Würzburg, and Frankfurt am Main.

Thanks to their summer 20% promotion, I’ve purchased for €284 a 2nd-class German Rail Pass with ten days of travel inside one month. Compared to the advanced purchase of individual point-to-point tickets, I’m saving at least 50 dollars (Canadian), but with my preference for open-ended travel, my savings will exceed 600 dollars.

Below I describe:

  1. in detail how flexibility with the rail pass provides hundreds of dollars in savings, and
  2. how the rail pass is validated and activated.

( Click here for more )

Regional train heading west from Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Photo by Christian Allinger (CC BY 2.0).

Travel and saving with the German Rail Pass, Feb-Mar 2017

Above: Regional train heading west from Garmisch-Partenkirchen (Christian Allinger).

I’ve set foot inside Germany at least once each year since 2001. I’m back “home” for the 17th consecutive year with the following “mostly Bayerisch” itinerary:

  • München
  • Garmisch-Partenkirchen
  • Mittenwald
  • Reutte in Tirol (Österreich)
  • Oberstdorf
  • Augsburg
  • Heidelberg

Thanks to their springtime 20% promotion, I’ve secured a 2nd-class German Rail Pass for seven days of travel inside one month.

( Click here for more )

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