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Old Jul 17, 13, 4:50 pm   #1
 
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From Die Weltstadt mit Herz to to Mokum: A Journey by Train (w/ photos and video)

This is a trip report about a ride on the CityNightLine from Munich, "Die Weltstadt mit Herz" or "the City with Heart" to Amsterdam, also known as "Mokum," or "safe place" in Yiddish. This is also my first ever trip report, so bear with me! The background section of this TR is lengthy, and while I think it complements the report nicely, it is not necessary to read. If you'd simply like to read about the train trip itself, please scroll down to the Train Trip section in Post #2. Thanks!

Background:

It's mid-April 2012, and my friend and I are frantic. After deciding to study both science and language abroad in beautiful Germany and officially signing up for the Summer 2012 term (6/12 - 8/12), my friend and I were still trying to decide what to do both before and after the trip came to a close. We were flying around our dorm room trying to plan while he labored away on his engineering assignments and I pulled my hair out over the latest organic chemistry problem set.

We had already figured out what to do before the start of the trip: Fly into LHR, stay in London, take Eurostar to Paris, stay in Paris, fly RyanAir to Rome, stay in Rome for a few days, and meet up with the rest of the students in the program in Rome before going to Germany for the start of classes. However, we had totally neglected to plan out what we would be doing after. We both wanted to visit Amsterdam, but we were in a time crunch now and things were getting expensive.

A quick look on the BA website proved to be discouraging. Fares from MUC to AMS were through the roof. LH did not prove to be better. We briefly felt discouraged and wondered if we'd be able to make it to Amsterdam... Then, we got a clue! We were going to Europe, and Europe has an extensive network of trains. Putting off my assignment, I took to the internet and started to find out how to get from Munich to Amsterdam by train. There were countless options: Regional trains, ICE trains, busses, Regional-ICE-bus combos, you name it! However, one stuck out: CityNightLine. I first noticed it because it fit our schedule well - it left Munich late at night and got into Amsterdam early in the morning. My friend and I decided from the get-go that we wanted to do the end of the trip "in style," so we started researching the sleeper car option. Impressed by the amenities of the private compartment and the decently reasonable (actually pretty expensive for college kids, but still cheaper than flying Y), we booked our tickets through the Deutsche Bahn website and patted ourselves on the back before returning to our work.

Departure Day

Our study abroad trip, which was hosted by our University, originated in Nuremburg, then transited to Berlin for a week, and finally relocated to Brannenburg (~1h outside of Munich) for the remainder of the trip. On the very somber, cool, and misty Saturday morning of August 4, 2012, we bid goodbye to the other students we had been studying with for the past three months. There were handshakes, hugs, tears, phone numbers being exchanged, and the like. Although most of us would see each other again at the start of the fall semester back at our university, there were a few others who were graduating or from other universities who we would not see for a long time. Thus, things got very sentimental. We departed our quarters in Brannenburg and headed for the town's train station to catch the regional train. We took a series of trains to Munich Airport, where we bid our friends goodbye, and then took the train back to the Munich Haputbahnhof to explore Munich before our 22:47 departure.

Here, the mood elevated a bit. My friend and I got out and explored Munich, enjoying the many fine sights and beers along the way. We did obnoxiously touristy things and went off the beaten path, visiting the Hofbräuhaus and quaint beer gardens. We even went out of our way to buy chocolate and gummy bears (I really would fly back to MUC for these... for really cheap or with all the miles I've earned thanks to FT). To finish off our day, we trekked out to the Englischer Garten in order to grab dinner at the Chinesischer Term (Chinese Tower).



While eating at the Chinese Tower we encountered a lovely American couple visiting from Chicago. The husband, who worked in IT for UA, told us about their many trips to Europe and about the plans for their European family vacation this summer. We sat under the tower and talked for quite a long time, with almost nonstop conversation. We enjoyed the conversation so much that we got a little close for time therefore didn't get to experience the DB First Class lounge at Munich Haputbahnhof. But oh well, it was worth it!
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Old Jul 17, 13, 4:50 pm   #2
 
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Train Trip

Munich HBf - Amsterdam Centraal
Scheduled Departure Munich: 8/4/12 at 22:47
Actual Departure Munich: 8/4/12 at 22:55
Scheduled Arrival Amsterdam: 8/5/12 at 08:56
Actual Arrival Amsterdam: 8/5/12 at 10:15


It was a rush to get to Munich Hbf on time, but after successfully navigating Munich's wonderful transit system, we made it. We were not able to the DB First Class lounge, but I don't think we missed out on anything major (it's not like the train is departing out of LH's FCT or anything).

We ran and ran with our bags trying to locate our train car, which proved to turn into a marathon. When we finally found our car, we were greeted by a train attendant in German who showed us to our cabin (the attendant could speak both English and German well, but we wanted to test out or German skills so we kept up conversation in German as best as we could). She took our breakfast orders (more like, "would you like breakfast or not?" since there is not a choice of meals) and asked what time we would like to be woken up. She then offered us a choice of beverages (red and white wine I remember, can't remember if there were others) and bid us goodnight.

The cabin can had three births, but only two were down because just my friend and I were traveling. The beds were already set up when we boarded; we didn't have to call for service or anything like that. The beds were very comfortable, and I slept rather well. However, I do recommend that you use the safety netting to keep yourself from falling out of bed. The train came to a sudden stop at night and I rolled right out of bed! My friend and I had a good laugh about this... The cabin also had a WC complete with a small shower, which was very nice to have. While it's not like taking a shower in a luxurious freestanding shower, you still feel like you're living large when you're taking a shower on a train.

There was plenty of luggage storage in the space above the WC in our cabin, but we still had some trouble storing all of our baggage because we had such big suitcases. Oh I know, how American . This really turned out to be a bit of a fiasco.

After storing our luggage and chatting for about an hour, we turned out the lights and got some much-needed shut-eye. As I mentioned earlier, the train came to a sudden stop at night and I flew right out of bed, interrupting my deep sleep and sweet dreams. I found myself awake on the cold hard floor a bit disoriented. It really wasn't a big deal, though. I climbed right back into bed and went to sleep. I slept undisturbed until morning.

Now for some pictures and video... I apologize in advance for the picture and video quality not being top-notch. After all the beer I enjoyed in the Englisher Garten that afternoon, I wasn't thinking much about the quality of my photography/videography for the TR.


My berth was on the bottom. Yes, those are Pringles and Nutella snacks! We just about bought out the little convenience store at the Munich Hbf .


Better view of the cabin, but still not great. I'm standing at the door, so this might give you an idea of how big the cabin is.


View facing the heads of the berths. My berth had a little storage pocket and a reading light. You can see the fold-down cupholders for the red wine.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5UytK...ature=youtu.be
A quick video tour of our nice little compartment.


Another view of the berths with the ladder to the top berth.


Water closet (shower is to left).


Folded towels and drinking cups. You can see the showerhead to the left, which can be adjusted up and down. Kind of reminds me of the pics I see of EK F. Kind of, that is!


View of the train while disembarking at Amsterdam Centraal

Since our train was running about an hour late, our attendant let us sleep an extra hour before coming in to wake us. She then converted our beds back into seats and brought us breakfast. We took turns taking showers, and I had some trouble when I took mine because the train kept stopping suddenly. I guess I just have bad luck with trains having to stop like that . Breakfast really wasn't anything special, but it was a decent start to the day. I didn't take a picture of it. Picture the continental breakfast served on US domestic routes and you'll get the idea. We then got all of our luggage down from the storage space and prepared to disembark. We arrived into Amsterdam Centraal approximately one hour late, which the attendant apologized for. She bid us farewell and we set out for our hotel in Amsterdam, eagerly anticipating our last few days in Europe.
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Old Jul 18, 13, 12:57 am   #3
 
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Nice report, enjoyed reading it.

I also have taken this train from Paris to Berlin, and then from Berlin to Amsterdam. Its a nice train, especially travelling in first class
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Old Jul 18, 13, 4:29 am   #4
 
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Thank you for sharing your train TR very interesting, have never done a train trip in Europe, but have done many sleeper trips from London to Glasgow//Oban which is on the west coast of Scotland. My sleeper cabin never had a self contained shower area only a basin, so that certainly was a nice luxury you encountered. Thanks again
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Old Jul 18, 13, 2:15 pm   #5
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stickyfingers85 View Post
Nice report, enjoyed reading it.

I also have taken this train from Paris to Berlin, and then from Berlin to Amsterdam. Its a nice train, especially travelling in first class
Indeed it is! We took the CityNightLine from Italy on our way into Germany, but our experience was much different. We slept in the bicycle car because our professor had mistakenly booked our train tickets for the wrong date . So first class was a major treat! Have you had any experience with the DB first lounges? Did we miss anything?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BA5E View Post
Thank you for sharing your train TR very interesting, have never done a train trip in Europe, but have done many sleeper trips from London to Glasgow//Oban which is on the west coast of Scotland. My sleeper cabin never had a self contained shower area only a basin, so that certainly was a nice luxury you encountered. Thanks again
Thanks! Sleeper trains are fantastic because you really don't lose any time. The shower was really impressive. It even had a good supply of hot water! I'll definitely take a sleeper train again.
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