I had a crazy scheme for last week’s trip to Germany. My last visit was to Dusseldorf and Cologne. I had work in next door Bonn this time around. I wanted to see something else of Germany besides its western edge. I flew into Munich and spent the day there. How do you get to Bonn if you are train geek? You take the ICE. I got a bit more of a train ride than I bargained for: it was a 5 1/2 hour ride.
The ICE is express service in Germany. Its cars are downright luxurious compared to even Amtrak’s Acela service. I love the snack trolleys that roll through European trains, selling really wonderful pastries (this is Germany – they are everywhere), coffee, and even dinner. I read yesterday that you can have Dogfish Head 60 Min. IPA on Amtrak now – is it a step back toward what American rail service used to feature – real regional foods? A glimpse at the First Class Menu on Amtrak is on par with a menu at Denny’s. I think I’d rather have the Grand Slam. Check out what American onboard dining used to be like on this Baltimore and Ohio menu from the Royal Blue Line at NYPL’s What’s on the Menu? project (see my post on the project here).
Taking the train in Germany is visually beautiful. You wind through mountains, past fairy tale towns and castles. The train is packed to the rim – the service is popular and necessary. Between Frankfurt and Cologne, the train picks up speed, reaching 253km (157 mph). A quick switch to the more utilitarian Regional service took me to Bonn, and their 19th century station.
It’s easier for me to travel internationally than it is in my own country.