My father used to rhapsodize about the romance of train travel in days gone by . . . it used to be hard to relate to what he was saying. But now, I get it. Recently, I took a few train rides on Germany’s DB Bahn (Deutsche Bahn). I was happy to be hosted to experience it!
As a First Class ticket holder, my first stop was the DB Lounge. Just like airlines, DB Bahn has a quiet, relaxing place to wait for your train. In Frankfurt, the lounge has a private elevator that takes you right to your train platform — great if you have lots of luggage! Coffee and juice is complementary, as is the WiFi. Remember, unless you’ve got an international cell phone plan, WiFi is your best friend! You just set your phone to “airplane mode” and contact people through email and Skype.
In First Class, there are a variety of different seating arrangements, so you’ll want to pick what you prefer when you book your ticket. You’ll have options like whether you would like an aisle or window seat, face-to-face seating or row seating, or a seat with a fixed table. You can also request seating in areas with a high cell phone reception, or in a silent car. I sat at both an individual seat and in one of the glass-enclosed cars. Those definitely have lots of room, especially if it’s empty!
There are luggage lockers at the front of the train car, but also some shelves for oversized <ahem> luggage.
One of the pleasantries in First Class is being served meals at your seat. They do take credit cards. I ordered a soup and a cappuccino, which cost 13 Euros. The soup was a large bowl and there were several slices of nice oat bread served with it. While the menus are completely in German, they do have some pictures you can point to, if necessary. The chicken soup name had something like “hen” in it, so I figured it out from the cognates. It’s an organic soup with herbs, pepper, diced potatoes, peas, elbow macaroni noodles and white meat chicken. It’s good to replenish your electrolytes when doing hard travel!
Speaking of which, apparently — I learned this later on the website — you can ask the train conductor to arrange for a taxi and/or porter for you. That’s something to consider doing, as they don’t have the traditional “red cap” service you may have used in the US.
Towards the end of your journey, they pass out little bags of gummy bears.