Questions about train trip in Germany

May 24th, 2007, 09:00 AM
  #21  
 
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Robespierre has that exactly opposite. German Rail passes include S-bahns but no other local transport in the Verkehrsverbünde. Ländertickets include all transport (S-/U-bahn, streetcars, and buses) in MOST VV.

You are doing the right thing by comparing both options. I do this using a spreadsheet. You can see my method on my website, http://www.geocities.com/reise_deuts...Pass_comp.html. However, in this case it looks pretty cut and dried. I see you needing at most 6 Ländertickets for €165 (~$225) vs. two German Rail Twin passes for $692. That's a savings of over $465 by using the Ländertickets.

As for time vs. money: I, not having unlimited resources, feel that if I can save money on this trip, I can come back sooner. Looking at the schedule for the most probable railpass and Länderticket connections, I find a difference of about 4 extra hours for the four days of travel by regional trains. In this case, $465 is more than I would spend for four people for a day, so for four hours of extra train travel, I save enough for another day in Germany.

There are a few things you need to consider about you schedule and the Ländertickets. I will address those issues in a future posting.

And, PalenQ, according to the K-D website you get a 20% discount off of ship fares with a DB train tickets. The K-D site doesn't say anything about rail passes but I am sure they are valid.
Larryincolorado is offline  
May 24th, 2007, 09:36 AM
  #22  
 
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"German Rail passes include S-bahns but no other local transport in the Verkehrsverbünde."

Perhaps not officially, but in Bonn, Neanderthal, and Heidelberg, we showed our Twin Pass to the bus drivers, asked if it was valid, and they waved us aboard. The only time the pass didn't get us where we wanted to go was on the schwebebahn in Wuppertal.

But I have to guess you're right about the Länder-Tickets.

The free ride on K-D is here: tinyurl.com/yeper3
Robespierre is offline  
May 24th, 2007, 09:37 AM
  #23  
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Thanks to each of you for the very helpful information. I’m summarizing our planned use of the German railpass, plus asking a couple of additional questions.

German railpass (4 days)
Travel Day 1: Munich-Dachau-Nuremburg-Munich
Travel Day 2: Munich to Karlsruhe, or other southerly Rhine city
Travel Day 3: Karlsruhe (or other) to Cologne
Travel Day 4: Cologne to Belgium

Question 1: Will the German railpass stop at the German/Belgian border? Will the Eurostar pass serve as a ticket in Belgium, if we are within 24 hours of our departure from Brussels? I read something to that effect, but can’t find it now.

Question 2: We will be in Germany, Belgium (less than one day), and England. Is there any reason to get international youth cards for the kids (22 year old, 15 year old)?
texanne is offline  
May 24th, 2007, 09:50 AM
  #24  
 
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Okay - but Day 2 I'd go from Munich to Mainz. Lots of castle action in the vicinity, and an easy jumping-off point for a Rhine cruise from Ruedesheim (check out the Asbach factory shop).
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May 24th, 2007, 09:56 AM
  #25  
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Sorry, larryincolorado – I missed your post. I have a great fondness for spending less money, whenever possible. That’s why I’ve been so interested in the Happy Weekend and the Laender tickets.

My greatest concern (and this is true for the German railpass, as well) is that we will have complicated train connections. This is our first time traveling “unsupervised” in Europe – I went to Europe as part of a tour group when in high school, and my daughter and I went to Paris for a week with her middle school French class (her teacher was from Paris).

Could we simplify our arrangements and see a better part of the Rhine by going to some city other than Karlsruhe? I picked it for totally arbitrary reasons – I was fascinated by the castle and the majolica factory. If another “midpoint” between Munich and Cologne on the Rhine would be easier, that would be fine.
texanne is offline  
May 24th, 2007, 10:06 AM
  #26  
 
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> I picked it for totally arbitrary reasons – I was fascinated by the castle and the majolica factory.

Karlsruhe is nice, especially the palace (I am not sure you can call it castle) but there are, let's say more exciting places in the area. What about Heidelberg? not exactly on the Rhine but within 15 min by local train to Mannheim (on the Rhine, and on the train mainline along the Rhine).

If another “midpoint” between Munich and Cologne on the Rhine would be easier, that would be fine.
altamiro is offline  
May 24th, 2007, 11:19 AM
  #27  
 
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Heidelberg, one of the very few large German cities not decimated in WWII it seems, is a gem - far more interesting and comely than Karlsrhue, which i also found pleasant when i visited the nice Christmas market there two years ago. Heidelberg's immense castle dominates the old town huddled under it and bordering the Neckar River.
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May 24th, 2007, 11:27 AM
  #28  
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You're right, altamiro - palace, not castle.
I can't get excited about Heidelberg - not sure why. I'll look again, and also at Mainz (Asbach factory - cognac, or marzipan?).
Do you have hotels you would recommend in either place?
Thanks.
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May 24th, 2007, 11:33 AM
  #29  
 
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since you have specific things you'd like to see in nonplussing but pleasant towns like Karlsrhue and Mainz i'd definitely go there. It's the average tourist without some special interest who would go there and wonder Why?
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May 24th, 2007, 11:36 AM
  #30  
 
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www.Asbach.de in Rüdesheim manufactures brandy, chocolate, and brandy-filled chocolates.
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May 24th, 2007, 12:11 PM
  #31  
 
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> Karlsrhue

Karlsruhe
altamiro is offline  
May 24th, 2007, 12:15 PM
  #32  
 
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>I can't get excited about Heidelberg - not sure why

Just go on the Philosopher's walk and you will change your opinion

OTH, if you are prepared to spend even more time on the way, you might go to Freiburg. It is a beautiful small city, very vibrant, on the edge of the Black Forest. There is one daily direct RE train from Munich to Freiburg, passing some of the most beautiful landscapes in southern Germany - first the Upper Danube Valley, then the high Black Forest (Höllental).
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May 24th, 2007, 12:47 PM
  #33  
 
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highwall - you know i'm dyslexic so bitte some understanding please!
PalenQ is offline  
May 24th, 2007, 02:23 PM
  #34  
 
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As for the "train schedule sites" you have been having trouble with: I hope Rail Europe was not one of the ones you have been using. That site is not designed for giving schedule information; it is only designed for selling a limited selection of tickets, the higher priced ones, and those are the only schedules they show. You need to be using the Bahn site. Dukey gave a good link to it. I have some information about getting schedules from the Bahn site on my website.

As for train connections, relax. They are not very difficult if you are prepared.

One, know where (to what platform) you are going. You get this information on the Bahn website. You might also try to get it from the conductor, depending on his English.

Two, be ready to get off (be in the vestibule at the end of the car with your suitcases) when the train stops in the station.

These connections were designed to be made. If you are making a quick connection, there will probably be a herd going there too. Just stay with the herd.

As for going to Karlsruhe vs. Heidelberg, if you leave on the 9:50 RE from Munich, with either destination you will make the same change of trains in Ulm and in Stuttgart. The change in Ulm will be easy; you have 25 minutes. If you are going to Karlsruhe, you will have eight minutes in Stuttgart. That is not as bad as it sounds, because the platforms are next to each other. It is a "deadend" station, so you can either walk to the connecting platform at the end of the train platforms and go to the next one, or if you are not near the front of the train, there is also a connecting tunnel farther back. If you are going to Heidelberg, you have almost an hour for that connection.

The route to Karlsruhe has one more change, in Vaihingen, a suburb of Stuttgart. That is a very simple "cross platform" change. Your train comes in on one side of the platform. You get off, walk to the other side of the platform, wait a couple of minutes for the other train, and get on.

As for Karlsruhe to Köln, there is a direct train from Karlsruhe to Mainz. In Mainz you have almost 45 minutes for the connection. You can probably run into the station for a sandwich and still make that connection. You have 13 minutes for the connection in Koblenz. Your trains use the south and north ends of the same platform; you just walk to the other end. The train to Köln originates in Koblenz; it might even be sitting at the platform when you arrive from Mainz.

You really need to contact me off-line, at larryincolorado at hotmail . com. I can help you get your own schedules from the bahn and help you understand the train changes. I have some station plans I can send you for stations where you will be making train changes.
Larryincolorado is offline  
May 24th, 2007, 03:23 PM
  #35  
 
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As for transportation in Munich:
On the day you arrive, you need to purchase an "all zones partner day ticket" (Gesamtnetz Partner Tageskarte) for €18. You can purchase it at the DB or MVV ticket counter in the airport central area or from a ticket machine in the S-bahn station. It will allow you to ride any conveyances (S-/U-bahn, streetcars, buses) throughout the Munich transit district (MVV) for the entire day. If the ticket has a arrows with the words "Hier entwerten" on one end, you need to put that end into one of the time stamping machines in the station before you use it.

Virtually everything you want to see in Munich, including as far out as Nymphenburg, is in the inner zone. For the other day you need an innerzone partner day ticket (Innenraum Partner Tageskarte) for €9,00. Same conditions and stamping requirement as for the all zones ticket.

You can find a map of the S-/U-bahn system showing station names and tariff zones at http://www.mvv-muenchen.de/web4archi...nnetz_2007.pdf.
Larryincolorado is offline  
May 24th, 2007, 03:49 PM
  #36  
 
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If you will be in Cologne for most or all of 24 hours, you might make good use of a WelcomeCard - a combined all-mode transport ticket with some specials on museums and other sights. tinyurl.com/yw4j37

For dinner, I HIGHLY recommend www.gilden-brauhaus.de in northeast Cologne. Ride U-Bahn Linie 4 (Schlebusch) to Keupstraße, then walk north about 500m and watch for the Best Western on your left. Gilden is in the same building. (Try the sauerbraten. You will swoon.)

And last but not least, here's a Cologne transit map: tinyurl.com/32bhyx
Robespierre is offline  
May 24th, 2007, 08:04 PM
  #37  
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altamiro, Dukey, PalenQ, Robespierre, Larryincolorado -
I am overwhelmed by the very helpful information. Thank you all.

I need to absorb everything mentioned today, but will come back to let you know the final decision.

Larryincolorado - I tried to email you earlier this evening - I'll try again.

P.S. Robespierre - The Gilden Brauhaus definitely sounds worth a visit.
texanne is offline  
May 25th, 2007, 07:41 AM
  #38  
 
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For a trip from Karlsruhe to Köln all you really need is a €25 Rheinland-Pfalz-Ticket and €6,30 point-point tickets from Bonn to Köln. Look at the area of validity as shown on the map on the Rheinland-Pfalz website at http://www.der-takt.de/fileadmin/Bil...rp_ticket.html. Karlsruhe is a "border" station; it is outside of the state of Rheinland-Pfalz, but the Ticket is valid on several routes leading to and from the Hauptbahnhof in Karlsruhe, as well as from Ludwigshafen to Mannheim and from Mannheim to Karlsruhe on the right bank of the Rhein. So, you can purchase an RLP-Ticket in Karlsruhe, at a red/white/blue DB automat or in the Reise Zentrum, and start your journey from there.

Bonn is also a border station. With the RLP-Ticket you can travel all the way from Karlsruhe to Bonn. If you want to purchase point-point tickets from Bonn to Köln in Karlsruhe, they will be €6,30 per person from either the DB automat or from a ticket couner. For 4 people, €6,30 per person is €25,20, about €4 less than the Nordrhein-Westfalen's Schöner-Tag-Ticket for €29,50. However, if you plan on doing any traveling around in Köln, then get the Schöner-Tag-Ticket. Alternatively, if you were interested in a quick stop in Bonn, you could get off there and purchase a Verkehrsverbund-Rhein-Sieg (VRS) TagesTicket for €19. That would also cover your travel for four people to Köln and any travel within Köln for the rest of the day. If you do get off in Bonn, you can easily continue your journey on to Köln. On a weekday afternoon, there are trains to Köln about every 20 minutes.

So, four people can travel from Karlsruhe to Köln for as low as €25 plus €19, €44, IF you are willing to stop in Bonn.

Larryincolorado is offline  
May 25th, 2007, 08:03 AM
  #39  
 
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<And, PalenQ, according to the K-D website you get a 20% discount off of ship fares with a DB train tickets.>

larry by this i assume the Rhineland Lander thing gets 20% off - in other words is the Lander thing a DB ticket that would get 20% off the boats or not?

danke
PalenQ is offline  
May 25th, 2007, 08:40 AM
  #40  
 
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According to my translation, the answer is yes, the Rheinland-Pfalz-Ticket qualifies for the discount. I wrote to K-D two days ago with exactly that question,

"Man kann mit einer DB Fahrkarte ein 20% Rebaat bekommen . Ist ein Rheinland-Pfalz-Ticket inbegriffen".

This was their reply (in the original German, so you don't depend on my translation),

"bei Vorlage einer DB-Fahrkarte, egal welcher Tarif, erhalten Sie die Ermäßigung wenn Sie mit der DB anreisen."

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