Day Two – Berlin to Budapest
Breakfast and Checkout in Berlin were done fast and efficient, very pleased by the staff of Intercity Hotel Berlin. So I went straight to Berlin Hauptbahnhof to take my direct train to Budapest. It was planned to be an 11 hour ride, a single window seat with a table reserved just for me.
As soon as my EUROCITY train arrived in Berlin, I sensed that there is something just not right. It was a train operated by Deutsche Bahn – and not by Czechsky Drahy, the Czech Republic train operator. And – my wagon in which I had reserved a place was not in the train. There was only one first class coach and felt thousands of American and British tourists that wanted to go from Berlin to Prague.
Luckily I have been early enough and got an empty non-reserved seat in the middle of a six person cabin. For sure, no WiFi, no table, no real space. I thought that this is going to be complicated as such.
But complication seems to follow me from the first into the second day. After leaving the Berlin area I suddenly heard the famous words: “Wir bitten um ihre Aufmerksamkeit”. Me immediately: “Oh no!”. The announcement said that this replacement train is going to quit service in Dresden Central Station – being replaced with a nominal Czechsky Drahy one. The new one will leave the same platform with a delay of 50 minutes… I sighed and shook the head in disbelief.
At least this announcement was correct. We should have left Dresden at 1113, eventually it was past noon when we set out. At least I was able to get some magnets and post cards from Dresden during the stop.
Now, in the right coach and with the right seat, travel unfolded its magic. I have always known about the Rhine valley tracks – its beauty of country side and romanticism. The Elbe valley thought the National park of “Saechsische Schweiz” is really a ride that can compete with it. Marvelously narrow, miraculous rock formations and a calm river in the middle.
We reached Prague with a delay of 50 minutes – after receiving another shock. Due to technical reasons there will be no restaurant service what so ever on the train today. No drinks, no food at all. At the first stop in the Czech republic, some water bottles were loaded and distributed freely in First class – at least. I had planned to have lunch and dinner in the train – so I needed to have two bars of white chocolate as replacement that I had bought earlier.
We passed through the inner part of the Czech republic and – not surprisingly – had to wait more minutes at some places as our train was the offender of all possible time schedules at that particular moment. In Brno, we already had 60 minutes delay – in Bratislava, capital of the Slovak republic, it had raised to 70 minutes.
Due to a signal failure at the Slowak-Hungarian border – we were admitted by replacement signalisation, forcing us to go no more than 30 kmh for two kilometres. We added up at the end in Budapest 80 minutes of delay.
I was planning to take some nice photo shots of the Danube river at sunset as I was planning to arrive in time at 2016. As I arrived at 2140 approximately, I was in pitch black night – I took a photo of the train station and went to the hotel by foot – to reach my daily quota of walking at least.
When I arrived at the hotel, it started raining – the approaching thunderstorm was about to discharge all the rain. So no walking around or sightseeing at all.
What can you do?