I was running fast, I was searching for other options, I was hoping to get home this day. All went wrong last monday when I tried to get from Ingolstadt to my new hometown Frankfurt (Oder). Things got better when I finally boarded a train. Yet, it took another ten hours until I finally came home.
So, which chances did I have? There was a single long-distance train this evening: The ICE to Leipzig (that’s approximately 90 minutes from Berlin with a fast train). As I had a chance to make my appointments like that, I decided to take this opportunity and asked for a hotel voucher for the five or six hours in Leipzig.
As I know all the little paragraphs of the passenger rights in Germany, they were kind of annoyed and handed over the voucher after just minutes (Note: Learning laws by heart does help a lot!).
After my train to Leipzig (final departure 8:25 pm) left Ingolstadt, I looked on my initial schedule and had to giggle a little as the delay already cumulated to three hours before I even stepped into a train.
“Choose your hotel”, “we choose your hotel”
Even though the service in the train was very smooth this time and I had enough time to work and enjoy my time aboard (I still love the first class service of the Deutsche Bahn in long-distance trains), there was another moment of confusion. After I was told that I my choose a “fitting” hotel in Leipzig by myself, the employee in the train was of the opinion that he had to arrange a hotel for me.
As a first class passenger I hoped for something with at least four stars (that’s what the hotline told me as well) and got disappointed. After letting me wait for full two hours, I was told that they booked me a room at the “Centro Vier Jahreszeiten”. It’s never a good thing when you’ve never heard about a hotel. I initially googled and saw that they booked me a three star hotel located on a big street.
Better than expected
Even though the reviews of the hotel where not really good (3,5 out of 5 at Tripadvisor), it was kind of a positive surprise. After I arrived in Leipzig with 15 minutes delay, I reached the hotel in just five minutes at 00:30. There were two guys at the reception, one was not professional or helpful at all, the other one was a real blessing for the hotel. As there were more Deutsche Bahn guests stranded in Leipzig, it took around five minutes to get me a room.
They even changed some room numbers after having a closer look on the date in system. That’s most likely why I got kind of an upgrade in the end (first class seems to be worth something at least). My room was located on fifth floor (the highest) and was facing the back side of the hotel (very quiet). For an overnight stay of just five hours, it had everything I needed (apart from a toothbrush), so I immediately went to bed.
Weird feeling of getting up too early for breakfast
When I was younger, I usually skipped breakfast. Nowadays, I’m kind of a foodie in terms of breakfast, so I love to eat a lot in the morning, even when it is 5:30 am. So I hoped to grab some food after catching just four hours and something of sleep.
Well, next time I should accept that I am accommodated in a three star hotel. Breakfast was available starting at 6 in the morning, my train was leaving at 5:51.
Well, searching for other options, I grabbed a cappuccino and a breakfast piece of McDonald’s and went to my train. As the new day started more lucky (even though sunrise was still hours away), the train was in time and I even made my connection in Berlin. After just 14 hours in trains, train stations and train hotels, I finally made it.
Thank you Deutsche Bahn, once again a memorable experience!