Neither a train nor a train station
In our first days we have focused only on reviews about hotels, cities and airlines. Today, we are introducing a new “category”: Trains. In our opinion, high speed trains are getting more and more important every year. On several routes driving by train is more convenient and faster than taking a plane. That’s why we start our “journey” into the train world with a special which will show you one thing at least: What does look convenient at first, must not be convenient in the end.
Last weekend I decided to travel to Stuttgart for a day trip. Sabrina was not interested in joining me (I was on my way to a soccer match, so no surprise at all), so I travelled alone. When I arrived at the train station, I had some spare time to check my mails. Surprisingly, I had a mail by the “Deutsche Bahn”. Translated, they wrote something like: “Be aware, you’ll miss your next train due to your first one being late”. Wow, what a start in the morning.
Anyway, I did not give up hope because the local train arrived in time. The first class was completely empty, so I was able to choose one of around 60 seats for me. The train was pretty comfortable, yet nothing special at all.
Running for my life
While driving, I got the information that there were construction works happening on a bridge we usually would have passed. Due to that, we had to take another route which takes around ten minutes more. I had a look at my itinerary again and had to giggle for a second. I had two minutes in Munich, just to jump from platform 24 to platform 18. In my free time I’m a passionate runner but that did sound like a real challenge. Just before we arrived, I walked to the front of the train in the inner-part of the train. Anyway, I had a bad feeling because the train arrived another two minutes later than expected. So I had crazy 0 minutes left to run 500 meters. Challenge accepted!
“And, it’s gone”
I left the train and started running (I know the train station in Munich like my own pocket) and saw my long-distance train on platform 18. “IT IS STILL HERE”, were the words jumping around in my head. I arrived at the train and wanted to press the “open door”-button and what happened? It did not work anymore, the train started to roll and left the train station.
I was like: “Really? How unlucky can you be?” Anyway, I was not the only guy who did not get this train, so I tried to help other passengers who are not used to travel by train as I am. After that, I went to the Lounge at the train station and got a nice little breakfast. After not getting this train, I was really happy that I booked first class. Otherwise, I would have needed to queue for 30 minutes at the information center. The same information (next train is coming in one hour) was given to me in the lounge in just seconds.
New train station, new surprise!
After working for an hour in the lounge, I stepped into the next ICE (Inter City Express) train to Stuttgart. It was a little dirty but pretty okay all in all. I’ll tell you more about this train in an extra review that I will release in the next days. When I arrived in Stuttgart, I was surprised once again. I was late and had to get my local traffic train as fast as possible. But what happened?
The train station was gone. Literally, the trains are stopping 500 meters before the place they are usually stopping and you have to take the way on foot. For our international audience: The train station is under construction till 2020 to better serve high-speed trains and make travelling more comfortable.
Welcome to the construction site
When I was back from the stadium (the game was a disaster, so don’t even ask…), I took some time to run around in the “train station”. It is pretty funny to see that there are only holes around you when you look through the construction fences. After that, I went to the Lounge (there is no First Class Lounge in Stuttgart though), had a drink and enjoyed the free internet. Later on, I boarded the TGV train to Munich (welcome to France! – another review will come about this). In Munich was the next surprise waiting for me. The local train, once again, was late. Overall, the experience was funny.
If you are an experienced traveler, you won’t have any problem with missing some trains. The staff at Deutsche Bahn usually is not that kind but you’ll come along with them. The First Class Lounges are very nice and make you pass the time really good. And keep in mind: If you are one hour late, you’ll get 25 percent of what you paid (for the one-way ticket) back. In my case, these are amazing eight euros!