|We say goodbye to Berlin on one of these stylish ICE trains.|
The ICE is vastly more comfortable than any of the other trains we have used so far. It has large padded seats which recline slightly in an open saloon complete with power points and window blinds, the First Class facilities are even more exuberant. The train features a Board Restaurant selling meals and snacks- it looks a lot more modern than the Russian dining cars!
|The interior of the ICE is comfortable and modern-|
and quite unlike the Russian style sleepers!
|Admiring the German landscape before the weather finally descends!|
|We change trains at Köln (Cologne) leaving the |
conventional ICE behind, and joining a more
modern Siemens ICE 3 multiple unit.
There is a good level of English on the ICE trains with most staff having some language skills and most signage appearing in several languages. This does now however evade me from the (modern) age old problem: how do you lock the automatic door in the disabled toilet? There is a sign in English which tells me I should lock it, but no translation on a lock button of any instructions on how to achieve this objective. I eventually decide not to risk it and elect to walk through the train to find a toilet with a handle.
|The impressive Köln (Cologne) Hbf with a DB class 101|
'Traxx' loco beneath it's roof. On the nearby track is
an ICE 3, similar to that which we will leave the country on.
The Eurostar check in procedure is very simple and painless, even though we cannot use the electronic check in gates as our ticket was issued by DB (and a bargain at that being a super discounted ‘euro special’ for just €49). While I feel the Eurostar is beginning to look a little tired, something that will be addressed soon by a fleet refurbishment, it is most certainly the quickest and most comfortable way to cross the channel.
|The weather has very much turned for the worst by the |
time we board our Eurostar in Brussels.
Since its construction W H Barlow’s magnificent trainshed at St Pancras has welcomed many a weary passenger after their journey by rail. One wonders if he could ever have imagined that his station, refurbished fit for the 21st century could be the ending of a journey quite as remarkable as this.
|Two continents, nine countries, eight nights on trains, somewhere around ten thousand miles and many many memorable experiences later we have arrived back in London by Eurostar. The end of quite a phenomenal trip.|