The title of this post is possibly a little unfair. After all, they did get us from Aachen to Berlin and back to Cologne safely, without the train breaking down or arriving without the requisite number of coaches. The train back to Cologne today was half an hour late, but what’s half an hour between friends? (No need to answer that)
I do have a few annoying little odds and ends to report. Although the 1st class seats on the ICE trains between Cologne and Berlin appear quite luxurious and are of a good size, something isn’t right about the footrest positioning – this seems to be designed for people with unusually long legs, and when I’ve tried to use one of the footrests I end up with muscle strain. Also, it can be hard to attract the attention of the staff who serve on board refreshments, and even when you do they have to memorize what you want and fetch it from the bistro coach instead of bringing a selection on a trolley as they do in the UK.
Still these are definitely minor details compared to the total fiasco that I experienced about this time last year. So it’s a B+ from me, and try and re-design the footrests for next time.
There may be a little more about transport around Berlin later.
I won’t say this is the final chance for DB as we have to travel back to Cologne with them in a few day’s time, but we’re getting close.
At the moment, as I write this on board what is admittedly a very smart and comfortable ICE train from Cologne to Berlin, I have to say it was on time leaving, the coach we were booked on is in fact part of the train, and the only small annoyance as we boarded was that 2 trains arrived at the same platform at the same time and we had to rush up the platform to find our coach while answering frantic queries in two languages from people looking for the train to the airport and/or Dusseldorf.
The first part of our journey, after Virgin’s attempt to spook us at Waverley, went very much according to plan Our Eurostar got to Brussels on time and we found the not-all-that-secret connections exit which got us to our Thalys train to Aachen in time. If only we hadn’t worn ourselves out walking from the station to our hotel (must have been more than 0.3 of a mile), we would have been fine!
Things to do in Aachen: my favourite things here are the Carolus Thermen (swimming pool with lovely warm water, grottos, indoor and outdoor pools, waterfalls, rapids etc, and the Centre Charlemagne, a very informative museum of the history of Aachen. Of course it’s also good to go into the cathedral but personally I learned more from the museum.
Aachen is supposed to be the city of Charlemagne and horses, but we never did work out the horses part of that.