Planes, no boats, but trains!

Old Oct 9th, 2022, 10:44 AM
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Planes, no boats, but trains!

It had been over three years since I'd seen my German penfriend and her husband, and knowing that this year it might be difficult for them to come to see me, the next best thing was for me to go to them. My initial idea had been to go by train via Paris [any excuse] but due to the threat of rail strikes in the UK that got knocked on the head, So then I started looking at the route I took three years ago, from Heathrow to Frankfurt, but there are no flights from my local airport Newquay to LHR any more, so I was rather flummoxed until a friend reminded me that there are now flights from Newquay to Dusseldorf. Ok they are only once a week and leave at stupid o'clock but the airport is only 30 mins away and a week with my friends would be great. But would they have me?

Phew. It turned out that I would be very welcome to stay for a week or so in early September [which happened to coincide with my birthday, one which in German is known as a "Schnappszahl" eg 33, 44, 55 etc which you traditionally celebrate with an appropriate number of shots of liquor of some type] so I started to book flights etc, and discovered that for only €10 each way, I could book an extra seat next to me, which I snapped up. The flights were pretty early which was ok going out as I live so close to the airport, but coming back it would mean an overnight in Dusseldorf as I would never be able to get a train there in time to catch the flight. But I could book a hotel near the airport for the night before and my train ticket online with Deutsche Bahn. Sorted. Going out was more problematic as if the flight was delayed I'd probably miss any train I booked, so I decided to wing it.

Turned out I was somewhat prophetic as about a month out, the flight times were changed to the middle of the day. That was fine for coming back as I would not be affected by any delays as I would just have a 30 minute drive home, but going out it meant that I probably wouldn't get there until 4pm and with a 3 Ĺ hour train ride I'd be arriving quite late. But my friends offered to pick me up at Mannheim which would cut the train journey to 3 hours - or so I thought.

Next - and we're off - or are we?
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Old Oct 9th, 2022, 11:20 AM
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Old Oct 9th, 2022, 11:53 AM
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The Schnappszahl part sounds more hazardous than the journey. Glad you made it!
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Old Oct 9th, 2022, 12:26 PM
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Sign me up for your journey, annhig.
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Old Oct 9th, 2022, 12:43 PM
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As someone with a Schnappszahl (which sounds terrifying btw) coming up I am signed up for the ride.
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Old Oct 9th, 2022, 01:19 PM
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On for the ride
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Old Oct 9th, 2022, 01:35 PM
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Signing on.
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Old Oct 9th, 2022, 02:25 PM
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Iím on board too.
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Old Oct 9th, 2022, 02:53 PM
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I’m buckled up!
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Old Oct 9th, 2022, 03:02 PM
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<<As someone with a Schnappszahl (which sounds terrifying btw) coming up I am signed up for the ride.>>

I was rather terrified too, Hets, though fortunately I knew that I could trust my friends not to get too carried away with the idea. As it turned out it might well have explained another event later on in my travels but that's pure speculation. Stoke- you're right, if carried out to the letter it could be downright dangerous!

Anyway nice to see you both - and Bilbo, Thursdaysd, John and Janeyre too of course. [oooh look, no Oxford comma - Ms Coffey would be pleased!]

Last edited by annhig; Oct 9th, 2022 at 03:04 PM.
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Old Oct 9th, 2022, 04:45 PM
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Though this wasn't my first post covid trip, it was the first where I was gong to be flying into an EU country after Brexit so I was a little apprehensive, however daft I knew that was really. Rumours have been circulating on the internet about certain countries requiring proof if you are going to visit friends and checking if you have enough money to support yourself. It seem pretty unlikely to me that anyone was going to be interested in my holiday plans but that didn't stop one or two "friends" trying to wind me me up about it. It turned out that the biggest problem to confront me was the traffic between me and the airport which turned a 30 minute trip into a 60 minute one, thanks to road works which are supposedly going to make travel in Cornwall easier. But not this year by the looks of it, and possibly next as well. Of course when I got to the airport it turned out that the flight was delayed, but I consoled myself with a beer and a sandwich and was pleasantly surprised when I got on the plane to find out that I had the whole row to myself. Result!

Hopeful of getting on the train asap I managed to get off the plane more or less at the front of the queue, but for the first time I can ever remember when we got to passport control there was no-one around to control them! So much for German efficiency [which my German trends assure me is a myth anyway]. Though they had the usual signs to separate the EU sheep from the non EU goats, the automatic machines weren't working either, so we all ended up in the same area, waiting for someone to turn up. Being utterly selfish I positioned myself in front of one of the passport windows and hey presto, once the immigration officer had wandered up and logged onto his computer I was first at the desk. And of course apart from examining the existing stamps in my passport and stamping it, he was completely uninterested in me. Next to the baggage reclaim which in the manner of many non UK airports instead of keeping incoming and outgoing passengers separate, took me through the middle of the airside part of the airport, before spewing me out into the concourse. Then onto the Skyrail to the station to do battle with the ticket machine. After somewhat random pressing of buttons I eventually got it to sell me a ticket and jumped on the first train to the Dusseldorf Hauptbahnhof where my Deutsche Bahn app told me I could get my train to Mannheim. Which was when the "fun" began.

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Old Oct 9th, 2022, 11:36 PM
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I certainly find it weird to get a stamp in my passport, it just feels so oldie worldie.
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Old Oct 10th, 2022, 01:07 AM
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Originally Posted by bilboburgler View Post
I certainly find it weird to get a stamp in my passport, it just feels so oldie worldie.
Wait until next year when (in theory if they actually get it working) you are scanned instead. Should add to the fun at Dover, St Pancras and other ferry ports.



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Old Oct 10th, 2022, 01:15 AM
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I like getting a stamp in my passport, lol.

Tagging along on your trip, annhig.

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Old Oct 10th, 2022, 04:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Adelaidean View Post
I like getting a stamp in my passport, lol.
Me too but it's long time since I got one.

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Old Oct 10th, 2022, 05:26 AM
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What fun! Reading along!

s
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Old Oct 10th, 2022, 09:43 AM
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Gare du Nord to St. Pancras a few weeks ago, my passport scanned just fine on the French side, then UK scanner said Seek Assistance. I got a real UK person and stamp a few yards further.
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Old Oct 10th, 2022, 03:48 PM
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Uh oh. Hope the "fun" to come wasn't too terrible.
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Old Oct 13th, 2022, 03:13 PM
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My trusty DB App told me that there was a train at 16/25 from Gleis 11 from Hamburg to Munich stopping at Mannheim so I hurried over there and at about the right time the train came in and I got on it. I hadn't had a chance to reserve a seat but though it was quite busy I found one quite easily and someone kindly helped me put my case on the luggage rack. It was an ICE train so very comfy and quiet. We were making good time so I messaged my friends who were meeting me at Mannheim to make sure that everything was ok their end which indeed it was and they would meet me off the train. However one of the features of an ICE train is that they have a display of the places where the train is going to stop and as we were going along it dawned on me that Mannheim wasn't one of them. Still my App said I was on the right train but as time went on i got more anxious, and there seemed to be no-one to ask. Eventually as we were about 5 mins out of Frankfurt a ticket inspector appeared and confirmed, as I had suspected, that I was on the wrong train. This one was indeed a train going from Hamburg to Munich via Dusseldorf and Frankfurt but after that it took a different route to Munich. However as luck would have it the right train would be coming into Frankfurt about 5 mins after this one and on the opposite platform so no need to chase around the station looking for it. Or so I thought.

So I gathered my things, grabbed my case and got off the train. And there was the other one coming into the station on the opposite platform. Perfect. Except that everyone was getting off. " Zug haeltet hier" - the train stops here. [never did find out why]. So now what was I going to do? The platform was heaving with people with exactly the same question as me, but I mangled to elbow my way through to nearby timetable which told me that there was a stopping train to Mannheim from Gleis 12 so off I trotted, down the steps to the underground tunnel only to find my way blocked off by building works. What? So I retraced my steps, found a notice board with departing trains on it, and found a stopping train to Mannheim leaving in about 5 mins from yet another platform. So I ran for it, leapt on, and found a seat. Nowhere to put my luggage but I didn't care - there was a vacant seat next to me.

Of course being a stopping train it was going to take a lot longer to get to Mannheim, but could I get through to my friends? WhatsApp, email, even text weren't working. Finally I got through on the phone and I managed to tell them the time and platform where I should be arriving - about 9pm I thought. "Yes, we'll be there" they assured me. So at 9pm there I stood on platform 10 at Mannheim station with no friends in view and no answer to my phone calls. ???? Eventually 10 mins or so they appeared from the other end of the platform [i never did find out what had happened to them in those 10 minutes!] and after a joyful reunion, we made for their car and began the drive to their home about 90 mins away. The traffic was bad but we did eventually arrive at their house and I quickly fell into bed. At times I had doubted that I would ever get there but finally there I was.

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Old Oct 13th, 2022, 05:44 PM
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Holy cow. That was crazy. Glad you eventually made it and I sure hope the rest of your trip was drama free.
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