Berlin – Nuernberg – Wien (Vienna)
Oddly, given that this is nearly a week into the trip, today was actually my first Interrail pass day. The starting point of this whole adventure had been a two month pass, purchased with no specific plan beyond that it was incredibly good value and I had a few hours to decide to buy it.
When time time to make travel plans finally arrived, I realised that going away for two months was a non-starter for lots of reasons. However , a series of roughly two week trips would work and I could potentially tag on a week in Ireland at the end. Given that the first week had several days where I was moving either very little or not at all it made sense to save the pass for when I really got value for money i.e. today.
I was at Berlin Hbf well before 9am to pick up a few snacks for the 8 hour journey. I’ve not done the hotel breakfast this morning. Lovely as they are, eating pastries, bread, ham and cheese that many days in a row is not doing me any good. An apple and a banana and an improbable English Breakfast tea from Costa (odd in itself, I know) saw me on my way.
I was relieve that the mobile phone pass behaved itself. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect so when a barcode was generated and the train crew were happy, I was able to relax a little.
It looks like the pass will be generated as a new barcode each day. The interesting small detail is that the time updates in the top right hand corner so you can’t really screenshot it and send it to someone else. (I’ve blocked out bits of the barcode and a few other details so that no-one even tries!)
I briefly felt sorry that I don’t drink coffee, as they were bringing fresh coffee around every hour or so (one of the joys of First Class.) The timings weren’t really right to try the restaurant car, but I’m told it is very good, and reasonably priced. Maybe later on in the trip…
Today was actually two roughly equal length trips with a change of trains in Nuernberg. ICE are really super trains, quiet, fast, comfortable (though it has to be said not quite as comfy as an HST for a journey of similar length) and a potentially long day went by without any drama at all. I had no problem at all finding a seat on the train from Berlin, but from Nuernberg, almost every seat was reserved. I had to wait until we’d left the station to grab one of the (many) seats that had not been used.
I was last in Vienna the day after Brexit, having taken a sleeper from Frankfurt. Probably the only city in mainland Europe that I’ve visited twice, and both times by rail. I was amused to notice that the station clock reads backwards from inside the concourse. Wonder how many people have been caught out by that over the years.
Having dropped my bags in the hotel, I headed into the city for a wander and to find some food. It took me a little while to get my bearing again, but it was nice to see, what is actually a rather lovely city. For the first time this year, I saw people eating outdoors. It is noticeably warmer here than even Berlin.
Tomorrow, I head for the mountains…