Tuesday 28 February 10:19 am, just crossed the border from Germany into Poland. Young man in our carriage is being put through the wringer by the onboard Polish customes officers.
Day 1 - Monday 27 February 2017
We managed to board the Eurostar out of St Pancras London without a problem having spent much of the night first at the station Starbucks, but the seating was similar to Victorian hard wooden benches and very full. Moved onto the Costa coffee shop where it was warmer, much more comfortable and less busy, staff were very tolerant of sleeping people too.
Arrived in Bruxelles for the dreaded 17 minutes change of station section and location of platform, but the Eurostar was a few minutes late arriving and it was cut to 10. Found the platform area, ticket showed platform 10 but the electronic screen showed a blank for our train's platform number, 7 minutes to go. Screen also showed a message that our train on to Koln (Cologne) was stopping at Bruxelles Nord, 9 minutes down the track. What it didn't show was the Deutsche Bahn (DB) ICE15 was no longer stopping at Bruxelles Midi where it was supposed to meet our incoming train and where we were. Ran upstairs to platform 10 to check if there were other passengers there and any extra information, some people but no info. Down to the concourse, Rob goes to one end of the concourse, I to the other, Rosie queues at the info desk, 5 minutes to go.
We gather between us that the ICE15 was now not going to stop at Midi but only at Nord, there was a local train running from Midi to Nord at platform 12, 3 minutes to go.
Arrive upstairs with all luggage on platform 12, lots pf people slightly out of breath, but no train, 2 minutes to go.
New announcement in 4 languages (English is spoken last), platform has changed and it's now #14. Off we all race as the train has to leave on time to guarantee meeting the ICE15 train. Down deep flight of stairs and back up the escalator, 1 minute to go.
Arrive platform 14, jump on train it leaves immediately, phew. It's cool in Bruxelles but we're all sweating.
Arrive Nord at platform 4, we need 2. Down stairs again and back up, there's the ICE15 sitting there but we are at the other end of the train! Rosie, Martine and Rob board the first car, I think this train will allow 2 minutes to board as we were sent half way round Bruxelles to find it, so walked quickly to the rear of the train. Half way a guard shouts it's going NOW! best get on then but with bags it's hard work passing through the rest of the cars, but we are on our way to Koln and riding our first ever ICE train.
Found the Eurostar ride superb, and very good track allowing maximum speed. The 2nd class interior is a bit cramped and we are not tall people, reminded me of budget airlines where they had added a few rows of seats.
The German ICE train was much more comfortable and spacious, but mainly not such good track and much lower speeds.
Reached Koln in good time to change trains for the next ICE on to Berlin, the whole station has people milling about dressed on their Karnival clothes, some very bizarre which adds to a party atmosphere. ICE Train 559 left on time and now a calm 5 hours to Berlin Hauptbahnhof (Hbf)
Edited by v v, 05 March 2017 - 06:51 AM.