4 May 2013

From London to Hannover by train

A quick break in Germany meant another excuse to relax on the trains while getting there.

Hannover emerged as the preferred destination after playing around with the superb Deutsch Bahn iPad app to find an interesting place within easy reach by train. I like to arrive early evening to give me time to explore the city a little while looking for somewhere to eat, and that puts a constraint on how far I can get on the first day.

Going by train means Eurostar and that means Paris or Brussels. This time is was Brussels.

I have been there a few times now but the station still confuses the hell out of me. I emerged confidently from the Eurostar terminal heading for my favourite cafe (the one with wi-fi) only to take a wrong turn immediately and having to go back on myself.

If getting lost is a tradition then so is taking a picture of the four coloured pillars by one of the entrances.

One a previous journey, to Berlin, I had missed the connection because the Eurostar was a few minutes late so I played safe this time and allowed myself an hour. Probably wise given the getting lost situation.

The hour between trains was plenty of time to find the correct place to go and to have a leisurely coffee, though the cafe's wi-fi was not working to Twitter and FourSquare missed out.

The next change was at Düsseldorf and that meant passing through one of my favourite stations, Cologne.

I hopped off the train when it stopped there to tale a few more pictures of the stupendous roof. I had lots of pictures of this already but a few more could not hurt.

Immediately after the impressive station is the equally impressive bridge across the Rhine and I took a few more pictures of this too as we rode smoothly past.

The fashion for putting padlocks on the bridge to show your love for somebody was new when I was first there around fifteen years ago and now the bridge is smothered in them and they look like they are meant to be there.

Düsseldorf station was a huge disappointment after Cologne, but I took a picture of it anyway.

Far better was the train to Hannover that was already in the station waiting for me.

I was travelling First Class, as I usually do in Europe, because it does not cost that much more and I think that the extra space and comfort is worth it.

This was my carriage. There were only three of us in it when we set off though we did collect a few more people along the way.

There was so much space between the rows of seats that I had to stretch to reach the foot-rest.

There were no freebies for being in First Class but I did get waiter service for my mug of coffee. I also got a mug that I would gladly have kept if I had not got plenty of mugs already, it would have meant carrying it around on holiday with me and the guard would have noticed.

I was grateful for the display telling me how fast we were going as I would never have guessed that we were travelling at speeds up to 200 km/h otherwise.

The journey was quick, easy and comfortable. And that is why I prefer to travel by train rather than fly. This way getting there is part of the holiday too.

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