Says it all about the German “can-do” approach to commerce. I’m here in Koblenz right now and ‘alles positiv’. Not sure that I agree with you about the food though! Microwaves rule.
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3 reviews of Deutsche Bahn UK in English
I've travelled with Deutsche Bahn many times. It's not as efficient as you might imagine.
Some of the time, it has been OK, although it has never really lived up to its brand promise. But delays and cancellations are all too common. And communication is defniitely not a strong point.
Last weekend, however, Deutsche Bahn proved that not only are they not all that efficient - they simply don't care.
I was on my way home to Ireland on short notice - my Dad had been taken into hospital and was given 50/50 odds of making it through the weekend.
My 06:52 high speed train from Freiburg to Frankfurt Airport was 15 minutes late. They waited until we were on the train to tell us that due to a "technical disruption", this train - which normally reaches speeds of around 300km/h - could only travel at 80km/h. Which meant I was going to miss my flight.
After searching in vain for a DB representative on the train who might be able to suggest an alternative route, I got off at the first stop - Offenburg. There was no one to be found there either.
My plane ticket had already cost an arm and a leg, so I couldn't buy another one. Finally I decided the only option was to get the train back to Freiburg and try to change my flight. There was one in 7 minutes. On the way to the platform, I met a guy in a DB uniform. Turned out he was the driver of the train to Freiburg. In a last ditch attempt, I asked him if he could help, and tried to explain the urgency. He simply wouldn't listen. He said I should try the info desk. I explained that there was nobody there. He told me I should wait. But if I waited, I'd miss the train to Freiburg - and the next one was in an hour. I asked if he could at least sign my ticket to show that I had been on the train to Frankfurt, so that I could get a refund. He didn't want to listen. "Ich kann nichts dafür," he said ("I can't do anything about it"), and walked away.
Five minutes later, I was on the way back to Freiburg in tears, terrified that something would happen with my Dad while I was trying to sort out the mess that DB had created for me. After all, if they had simply warned us that the train was going to be delayed, I wouldn't have stepped on it in the first place - I would have driven to Frankfurt by car.
I finally got to Dublin. And, thank the gods, my Dad is doing better. Which is of course the most important thing.
But frankly, I will do everything possible to avoid travelling with Deutsche Bahn again.
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I tried to get information for a train journey from London St Pancras International to Freiburg (Breisgau) at the beginning of March.
I got excellent timetable information in no time, but, alas, no information about the cost of a return ticket.
Do they at Deutsche Bahn UK expect travellers to book blindly without knowledge of the cost?
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Deutsche Bahn UK
Note! Call centre 08718 80 80 66 (8p per min.)
Have you ever thought about going to Germany? Wonderful Berlin, Hamburg (home of Qype and Xing), the pretty Rhineland, boisterous Bavaria, the magical Black Forest…
I have and it’s quite a spiffing place. I lived there for over 12 years in fact.
The natives are quite affable and jolly, many speak passable English, the food is good, many of the wines are severely potable and the cost and quality of life are really rather acceptable. The lavatories are generally very clean, they build good cars and have been very successful in exporting royal families throughout Europe. You can get away with eccentric behaviour as long as you remember not to mention the war, (as I was reminded by an eminent German Qype professor last week). I rather fancy that few people here in fact realise that the Germans are actually quite fond of us and I can certainly testify that their sense of humour is the closest you can get to ours, even although they are foreigners.
On a more serious note, German culture over the ages is something that you can spend a long time studying. Land of thinkers, poets, musicians and efficient machine builders.
The public transport system there is 'somewhat' better than here, ranging from a serious network of amazing high-speed trains to environmentally-friendly trams in most cities. Their various packages can cover anything from the whole country to a region or locality and often if not always include tram/bus tickets. The prices are staggeringly good value.
After St. Pancras had opened its portals last year I happened to be lurking in the Black Forest. One day in Freiburg, I nipped into the main station to go to the Deutsche Bahn information centre, where they are always very friendly and go to great trouble, insisting on digging out the best deal for you from their computer.
I asked for a ‘quote’ to St. Pancras. The guy needed to know when I intended to travel so I came clean and explained that I was just being nosey. How about a price for tomorrow? He typed, muttered, clicked and moused about and eventually came up with a price which was pretty good. He pointed that if you are over 60, you travel for half price on Eurostar.
Fascinated, I bore it all in mind and buggered off home by air via Switzerland as planned.
So: recently I was intending to find out doing this the other way round and going from here.
I needed a Eurostar ticket to Brussels, from where I wanted to go on the German ICE high speeder through to Duesseldorf and on further south. I called Eurostar who explained that this was not really on, but they could book me through to either Cologne or Aachen via Brussels (which was not what I wanted). However, they told me to contact another company called Eurotravel or similar, who could book me through to anywhere I bloody well felt like.
Fine, I called these guys who explained that they could do anything I wanted. Except book me on Eurostar. For that, I must contact Eurostar.
Bugger and damnation! Since the Deutsche Bahn in Deutschland had told me they could me get me from Germany in one fell swoop, I wondered whether they could get me to Germany as well. In a moment of inspiration, I Googled Deutsche Bahn UK and CRUNCH!
Calling the number, I asked whether they could book me from London right through to wherever I wanted to sodding well go in Germany and they said “Yes sir, of course!”
They searched for deals and came up with a package which took me from St. Pancras, delivering me in a relaxed mood at Duesseldorf at 15:00 the same day. 52 Euros, including 1st class travel on the amazing ICE trains from Brussels to Duesseldorf.
Check out their website…
Randolph, 29 October 2008:
6Kraska6, 30 October 2008:
What? An Englishman complaining food situation in Germany? Strange enough. Microwaves are ruling? You’re in the wrong places, definitely. Please try Qype to find better!
@chianti: Been touched by your friendly words about our people, country, wine and culture. (We apologize for the booking buero-catastrophy) – And, well, very thankful for not mentioning the war! Here’s to you, pal! The “german professor”
ChiantiClassico123, 30 October 2008:
Try and find a towel for your sun lounger. They make a lot in Germany. Industrial size and quality. ;-))
Ask if they have one that says “This parrot is not dead, it’s just resting”. You’d be surprised how many locals would understand that phrase.
Tulpenteufel, 9 November 2009:
I'm also very touchend by your warm words about the "Tedeschi".
I didn't quite catch the "Möhrchen"-joke because of my damaged school English. Anyway I'm happy that you enjoyed your travel by train and I would like to imitate that some day the other way round Ddorf>Pankratz.
But Deutsche Bahn refuses to show me precise tariffs online. It should be around 100 euro roundtrip according to their offer "London Spezial" but if you are clicking yourself through the Reisedaten and finally Preis
I got just "Gesamtpreis nicht ermittelbar". :-(
6Kraska6, 9 November 2009:
@tulip: No, dear, P arrot, not C arrot! And CC talks about a famous scetch of Monty Pythons: A customer (John Cleese) in a pet shop tries to get rid of a earlier bought parrot, which is obviously dead, but the shop keeper insists: "The parrot is not dead, he's just resting..."
Badbury, 25 April 2010:
Well, that really was a refined and profound article, Chianti. Are you in pay of the German Tourist Board by any chance?
And Tulpenteufel, I've got a joke for you, this one is by English comedian Milton Jones (must be read in a very slow and monotone fashion): The worst job I've ever had was forensic pathologist for the UN and I remember uncovering the mass grave of a 1000 snowmen. Fortunately it turned out to be a field full of carrots.
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