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Frankfurt and beyond; sightseeing without a car

Frankfurt and beyond; sightseeing without a car

May 21st, 2011, 10:44 AM
  #1  
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Frankfurt and beyond; sightseeing without a car

I am a senior citizen who will be working in Frankfurt for a couple days. I'm travelling with a disabled adult son, so we will be avoiding situations with a lot of stairs. Any advice on our best options to do the following in 3 days, using Frankfurt as a base, and relying solely on public transportation?

- Rhine River cruise to see the castles
- Romantic Highway

Following the work in Frankfurt, we have lodging reservations in Paris and London, and also a Chunnel train reservation between the two cities, but need to work out the following:

- Best train schedule/route to Paris from Frankfurt
- Best mode of transportation and schedule from London to Frankfurt

I've searched the postings and see that the replys are most often by individuals with WONDERFUL experience and knowledge of the ins and outs of European travel, so have high hopes for some great information being posted. Thanks in advance.
oregonmiss is offline  
May 23rd, 2011, 09:22 AM
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More info on type of disability would be helpful (i.e: using crutches, wheelchair, etc, able to climb 10 steps as in many railway stations?) From Frankfurt, Bingen would be easily reached by train, then I believe your Rhein cruise could commence from there. However, there would be some walking in any suggestions that I might have.
Anyone else?
mokka4 is offline  
May 23rd, 2011, 10:57 AM
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There are several direct trains from Frankfurt to Paris (No train changes). Look at www.bahn.de for details. The romantic road would require that you rent a car or take a bus. The bus might not be doable with your son.
As Mokka4 stated, the Rhine cruise would involve some limited walking. And the best section of the Rhine to view castles is between Bingen and Koblenz. Be aware that any river cruise gets very boring if the weather is bad. Good luck...
Travelforbeer is offline  
May 23rd, 2011, 03:50 PM
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Mokka4 and Travelforbeer,

Thank you, both, for responding. My son has severe trembling, similar to Palsey victims. His balance is poor, and I have bad knees, so I'd like to avoid more than a single flight (12 - 14 steps) of stairs, and keep walking to 15 minutes, or so, at a stretch.

I mis-spoke. We will fly into Frankfurt, but be staying and working in Wiesbaden. Would we be able to catch the Rhine cruise from there, or would it be better to do from Frankfurt?

Also, I tried to book travel on the db bahn web site for our train from Wiesbaden to Paris. I was a bit overwhelmed by a huge drop-down list of Wiesbaden departure stations and quite a few in Paris, too. We will be staying at the Army Lodging in Wiesbaden, and very close the the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. Any suggestions regarding which stations I should choose for the train? Also, I'm not understanding the difference between "Standard" and "Savings" options. I'm guessing, from a search, that "Standard" is an open timeframe, while "Savings is a specific time. Also, didn't see an option to reserve seats. Any advice there?

Thanks again. I really appreciate it.
oregonmiss is offline  
May 23rd, 2011, 05:31 PM
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In paris you will arrive at the station the train goes to. Don;t pick a station - just pick the PARIS all caps option and it will show you all stations. From the station you will take a taxi to the hotel - so you don't really care what station it is.

I don;t know where you will be staying in Weisbaden - but I would start by searching from the hauptbanhof. The trip to Paris is about 5 hours - but all trains have at least one change. You will need to look into this carefully - since the RR will give you train changes that are only about 5 minutes - and I can;t imagine that you will be able to do a switch from one train to another that quickly hauling your luggage with you. In this case I think it worthwhile to go to a local travel agent to help you pick a train that will give you enough time to change trains comfortably while dealing with your luggage.
nytraveler is offline  
May 24th, 2011, 07:40 AM
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oregon:
You can still travel from Wiesbaden to Bingen (Rhein) in about an hour 15 mins with either one or two changes to catch the boat. There appears to be a usual 20 minute layover in Mainz to get to your correct track (I assume you will not have luggage for this daytrip).
You can either take a bus (station usually attached to or very close to RR) or train to Mainz whwere you change to the second regional train. It lists a 10 minute walk to the harbor (KD is the line) or 'Hafen' means harbor.
In Wiesbaden, check with your workplace to see what your best destination stop would be, to be closest to the Army lodgings.
Hauptbahnhof (Hbf) anywhere means main station.
Of course, you also know that when you check www.bahn.de for trip times, etc you can change the country from 'Deutschland' to 'USA' for english version?
I believe the savings price is offered only for a limited time, and for that specific train, while standard is the ongoing, usual cost of the journey from point to point, no specific train must be caught.
I don't know much about Paris, so can't help you there.
You can do a little research on Paris website perhaps to learn which train stop would get you closest to your hotel destination OR on Fodor's France forum. It seems like most of the trips ?terminate at Paris Est (maybe this is their main station?)
mokka4 is offline  
May 24th, 2011, 09:35 AM
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Additional info:
Don't know whether you will be purchasing a German Railpass, but if so, ships on the Koeln-Duesseldorfer Line( KD - your desired Rhine cruise) are covered in the price.
Ship schedules can be found at www.kdrhine.com under schedules.
For example, this regularly scheduled ship leaves Bingen daily at 9:30/10:30 and 11:30 am then resumes with a 14:30 (2:30 PM) trip...arrives St Goar (a nice little town) at 10:55/11:55/12:55 respectively, or if you stay on till Koblenz, it arrives there at 13:10/14:10/15:10 etc.
Bacharach is also a very nice town, but reached after less than an hour of cruising.
Naturally, you would most likely TRAIN it back to Wiesbaden after disembarking at some town or another to look about and catch a meal, in the interest of time.
So you will need to coordinate the trip to Bingen in order to leave enough time to get to the piers...
mokka4 is offline  
May 24th, 2011, 09:59 AM
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even better site (multiple languages/prices):
www.k-d.de/english.home
mokka4 is offline  
May 24th, 2011, 10:12 AM
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Have you tried http://www.budgeteuropetravel.com/ for help with your train travel? They were very helpful in obtaining reserved seats on several trains for an upcoming trip. And they clarified a lot of the abreviations in the train timetables.
Also, the walk from the Mainz Hauptbanhof to the Harbor is more than 10 minutes for someone in good health.
If you interface with people at Wiesbaden they should be able to give you all of the information you will need based on their travel experiences. Also, there is (anyway there used to be) a travel agency on base that provides a lot of travel information and help-
Travelforbeer is offline  
May 24th, 2011, 11:02 PM
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Ok, let me see if I can help you here. There is a direct train going from Wiesbaden Hauptbahnhof to Koblenz, every hour on the hour: 08:33, 09:33, 10:33, etc. This train takes 1.33 minutes to get to Koblenz and goes up the right hand side of the Rhine. You can get off of this train anyplace you like. If you want to take a boat, then you might want to get off at Rüdesheim or Assmanshausen. There is no reason to take multiple trains to get to Mainz, Bingen, ferries, etc. I would get an all day ticket for this, like a Happy Weekend ticket if you are going on Sat. or Sun. for 39 euro or a Quer Durch Deutschland ticket for 48 euro for weekdays, or you may be able to use a Rhineland Pfalz Laender ticket for 24 euro. These 3 tickets would be valid all day long on the Regional trains, and cover both of you.
I used the RMV website for this information.
http://www.rmv.de/en/

Since I don't know the exact dates of your travel plans, I checked on the Deutsche Bahn website for train schedules for 17 June. There are non-stop trains going from the Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof that take 3.50 hours. One at 09:00, one at 13:00. The one at 13:00 was on sale for 59 euro. I would check your dates and make your reservation soon. The S-bahn trip to Frankfurt will take you about 45 min. and you can check that schedule on the RMV site also.

Hope this helps!
Mainhattengirl is offline  
May 24th, 2011, 11:04 PM
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Forgot to add those schedules and times for the Deutsche Bahn were Frankfurt to Paris.
Mainhattengirl is offline  
May 27th, 2011, 08:45 PM
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Such wonderful advice, thank you, everyone! I used a company called "Best Travel", 800-441-9413, to obtain the last 2 available tickets on the ICE train to Paris. The agent (Byron) had a lot of experience with the trains, and the company specializes exclusively in European rail travel. For $20, we are all set.

I'll be following your advice regarding the KD line cruise and a return train to Frankfurt. Thank you for clarifying which towns would be good destinations to see the most scenic portions of the river and also be able to return to Frankfurt the same day. You are all great!
oregonmiss is offline  
May 27th, 2011, 10:26 PM
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Well, I thought I had it figured out, but ran into another question: The KD line schedule seems to indicate that on Sunday, June 19th, we can catch a boat departing from Wiesbaden, and arriving in Koblenz at 1410. Looking at the raileurope.com site, I see there is a 1748 train from Koblenz, with a change of trains in Mainz, and arrival in Wiesbaden at 1909. My concern is that there is only 18 minutes to change trains. Does anyone know if it would be difficult, given the disabilities, to switch trains in 18 minutes? If we miss the connection, could we just get on a later train? Also, is there any possible confusion on the station names for Mainz and Wiesbaden... I'd hate to get off at the wrong stop. Thanks again.
oregonmiss is offline  
May 28th, 2011, 04:04 AM
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>Looking at the raileurope.com site, I see there is a 1748 train from Koblenz, with a change of trains in Mainz, and arrival in Wiesbaden at 1909.

Do not use RailEurope for information like this - it is not reliable, and the prices they give are pulled out of their behind anyway.

>My concern is that there is only 18 minutes to change trains. Does anyone know if it would be difficult, given the disabilities, to switch trains in 18 minutes?

It is impossible to say this without knowing the tracks. If it is a same platform change, then 18 min is about 17 1/2 min too much even with disabilities. For an average adult not slowed down by e.g. luggage, kids in tow, or health problems, any change time of 18 min is about 10-12 min more than necessary.

>If we miss the connection, could we just get on a later train?

Of course - your tickets are not issued for a specific train.

>Also, is there any possible confusion on the station names for Mainz and Wiesbaden...

Just make sure that you change at the right station - Both Mainz and Wiesbaden have a few secondary stations besides the main one. In any German city, the main station is designated Hauptbahnhof (shortened HBf).
altamiro is offline  
May 28th, 2011, 12:41 PM
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There is a Regional train that leaves Koblenz every hour that goes directly to Wiesbaden, so no changes at all. If you use the Deutsche Bahn website, it will be easier for you to find schedules and trains. Just click on "local transport" only, and look for the trains that don't have any changes.

The train leaves at 17:54, 18:54, 19:54 and so on, or earlier if you prefer.

If you like, you could even get off of the boat at Braubach and get on the train there, instead taking the boat to Koblenz. The dock at Braubach is much closer to the train station than the one in Koblenz. This will save you some time and energy. It also stops at St Goarshausen too, which would be another good stop if the boat goes here.
Mainhattengirl is offline  
May 28th, 2011, 05:17 PM
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Good info! I did find the non-stop trains referenced by "mainhattengirl". I see the 2nd class tickests are only $34.24 for both of us, combined, and I'm assuming we can buy them at that rate on the day we arrive, rather than booking ahead (?) Or, are they likely to sell out? Our schedule has shifted and we will be travelling on Saturday, June 18th.

"altamiro", thank you for letting me know the tickets are good for multiple departure times, and also the caution about the rail europe web site, as I had been using it quite a bit.

A search of things to do in Koblenz and in Braubach makes it sound like there is much more to see and do in Koblenz. An old post on Fodor's mentioned a local sightseeing train that goes through the old city, and also mentioned a bus that runs to the train station from the boat dock. I'll be calling the tourist office there to see if I can match up the two, to get from the dock, do some sightseeing, have a quick dinner, then get to the train station to travel from Koblenz to Wiesbaden.

As always, any advice is greatly appreciated.
oregonmiss is offline  
May 28th, 2011, 07:59 PM
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You can buy a Happy Weekend Ticket for 41 euro. This will be valid for both of you, all day long, on all the regional trains. You can get this at the Wiesbaden train station.
Mainhattengirl is offline  
May 29th, 2011, 09:03 AM
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Mainhattengirl, thank you! I'll do that. You have been such a help.
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