Noilly Prattle: the trains don't run on time

Friday, January 11, 2013

the trains don't run on time

aboard ICE 690

      Sitting on ICE.

      ICE 690, that is. German high speed Inter City Express. A later ICE than we intended to be on.

     One always hopes for an uneventful journey—at least in the transportation department—you know, like, planes that don't crash on take off or are delayed “due to technical difficulties” like the engine fell off or some such minor irritation. Now, Germany, like Japan, is famous for organizational expertise—you can set your watch by the train schedules or so the spin would have you believe. Well, t'ain't necessarily so. We've had our first transportation adventure/drama and it's only day one of our arrival in Germany.

      It was too perfect. Got into Frankfurt Flughafen (Airport) only about an hour late. Our hotel, by design, sat astride the railroad tracks at the Frankfurt-am Main Flughafen railroad station. You just had to check out from the hotel at the reasonable hour of 10 a.m. and go down the escalator through this incredible glass-domed concourse to the platform for the 10:42 train. But, when we checked the arrival/departure board road buddy noticed a scrolling announcement that said: “ICE 770 has been cancelled”. Now, whoever heard of a train being cancelled? So, we went to Deutsche Bahn “DB Information” desk and the man said not to worry there would be a replacement. We assumed, of course, that the “replacement” would be another ICE train. Wouldn't you?

between trains at Frankfurt-am-Mail Hauptbanhof
      Well, 10 minutes after the scheduled departure time the “replacement” train arrived at the platform. It didn't look quite right to me, but we boarded anyway. But, road buddy and I discussed the slow speed of what appeared to be a local train and we started getting antsy and agonizing about what to do. The train soon pulled into an unexpected station—the Frankfurt-am-Main Hauptbanhof. Road buddy remembered that there was another ICE train from this main station that went directly to Berlin, so we decided to get off the train and change our ticket at the DB, ticket office.

this story on my MacBook Pro
      We struggled with our baggage off the train, reasonably calm under the circumstances, and, with an inquiry here and there, found the ticket office and explained our situation. The very efficient young lady had our ticket changed sans nonsense and in short order to ICE 690 upon which I am sitting and typing and, I'm happy to say, seeing a break in the clouds off in the distance of this rolling hills landscape rolling by the train window on my right. We expect to arrive in Berlin about an hour and twenty minutes later that we had expected.

breaking clouds - right center background

      We finally found and arrived at our rental apartment on Kantstrasse in Berlin. The landlady spoke almost no English so it was touch and go getting the necessaries out of the way through both fractured German and English. Finally everything got squared away and we did a little grocery shopping for some basics at the market across the street. Had some odds and ends to eat and some wine to drink before unpacking and settling down.

      First opera tomorrow evening at the Deutsche Oper—Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor.

     Ready for a good night's sleep.


Anonymous said...

I think that you are incredibly lucky to have that Road Buddy with you!!

xoxo Ronnie

Noilly Prattle said...

Oh yeah, always good to have somebody riding shotgun--even if it's to my head sometimes. ;-)

Anonymous said...

lol…good for her!