Philip Newton (pne) wrote,
Philip Newton

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Home, sweet home!

Back from Saarbrücken.

I was worried that we might not make the connections due to trains delayed by snow, but everything went perfectly.

The first train, a local train (if you can call it that; we spent more time on it—about two-and-a-half hours—than on any other train today), was a bit late due to construction at one station. Stella asked the conductor how late we were and whether we'd get to Frankfurt on time, and he said that we were only a few minutes late and that we might well make up the time by Mainz, let alone Frankfurt, though of course he couldn't predict the future. (He did say that if there was a person injured or on the track, that might actually make us early since that would typically cause the train to proceed on a different course, without stopping, towards Frankfurt to avoid the spot.)

Afterwards, whenever he passed us when checking the tickets of people who had got on along the way, he'd reassure us that we were fine and we should catch our connection without a problem. And indeed, we got to Frankfurt on time, without even any delays due to the new points they were installing in Frankfurt (which, the conductor said, could cause an unpredictable delay of up to twenty minutes, though he'd always been lucky so far).

Caught the train from Frankfurt to Hanover and shared the "small children compartment" with two other children and their mothers.

I put that in quotes because we had expected a bit more; the compartment for small children ("Kleinkindabteil"; previously "Mutter-und-Kind-Abteil" or compartment for mothers and children) in ICs was typically four seats with a table between then and space to put some luggage, a stroller, or the top of a pram in the space where the remaining two seats would be in a regular six-seat compartment. And in the ICE "Sprinter" we took to Saarbrücken, it was four seats with a table and space for a pram, a wider corridor leading to it from the door, and a connecting space with another three seats and a small children's play area. That made us expect that the higher-class ICE trains would have a better small children compartment than the IC trains we were used to, but "blow cake", as the Germans say. ("Pustekuchen"; that is, nothing of the sort.)

The compartment in that ICE was, apparently, just a regular six-seat compartment with "Kleinkindabteil" on the reservation slips outside the door. The corridor outside was too narrow for a pram, there was no real space to store a pram in the entrance area, and the changing table was three carriages away. Buh?

But we had a decent time talking to the other mothers and playing around with each other's children. (Jenny was two and Marilena was thirteen months.)

Got to Hanover on time as well and found that our connecting train was to be a few minutes late, but that wasn't so bad; it was supposed to be twenty minutes later, from the same platform and our seats were even in the same carriage. So we just hung around the platform for twenty minutes or so until the train arrived.

Amy had fallen asleep by then, so Stella didn't take her into the compartment but decided to stay with the pram in the entrance area. I brought the luggage into the compartment where a mother with her daughter were sitting; they had travelled all the way from Nuremberg and had run into various problems so far which had made their first train journey less than enjoyable, unfortunately. After about half an hour, I traded places with Stella so that she could sit down, too.

Got to Hamburg all right, bought some milk and bread at a supermarket near the railway station and went home. Phew! Ordered some pizza since I felt like some; Stella made herself some chips.

Glad to be back again.

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