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by Kay Fuhrbach, 24 April 2014

Starting at my mom's house I had no problem to reach Cologne central station with my bike. As I bought a regular ticket, I was able to choose my train. Train bound tickets are cheaper, but it is nearly impossible to use them with a bike.

As I arrived early in Cologne Central Station I decided to use the slower train, going right through the Eifel direct to Trier, otherwise I'd to wait over an hour in Koblenz, where I would have to change the train to reach Trier. Normally that way is faster, this time it accidentally ain't.

 

Easter holidays are not really nice in regional trains in Germany - they are totally filled up with people with bikes, using the train for distances of about 10km, but at every station they change. Not so funny for the long distance traveller, as you have to discuss everytime again, that you'll stay longer in the train, so it'll make no sense, if you place your bike in front of their bike, because they prefer also the place you already picked.

Wow, the Eifel-Express I took, had 4 (!) bike departments, only the first one was filled with 12 bikes, the second one had 2 bikes, the third one had just lucky me and my Look. Germans don't give up old habits, and a bike department HAS to be in front of the train, not in the middle ;-) .

When the Zugbegleiter (not really translatable, as it is a species of its own) came, I was feeling wrong, because she didn't tell me that my bike ticket wasn't valid for a trip to Luxembourg. Normally they do and want to sell you an international bike ticket for over 40€, but from Cologne you only need one for 2.80€ just for leaving NRW. In RLP and Luxembourg bikes in trains are free, but they ignore that fact all the time.

But my Zugbegleiter was fine with it, I think she was used to it, as the Eifel is a tourist route. So there was another advantage to use just one train to Trier; otherwise I'd had this discussion at least two times.

As I'm nicotine addicted, I was thinking, it could be a little bit stressing to stay in one train all the time to Trier without a cigarette, but again I could rely on my Zugbegleiter, with whom I smoked together at Gerolstein, just in the middle of that route... ;-) I'm sure, she knew, what I was asking for, when I wanted to know, how long we'll stay at that station.

What I'll never understand are the situations, when trains stop or drive totally slow in the middle of nowhere, but that is one of the unsolved miracles of mankind everywhere on this planet, but it happened a lot of times in the second half of that trip, so that it definitely took longer.

So Deutsche Bahn fucked me at Trier: As in both regions bikes are free, I asked the new Zugbegleiter, if I can use the direct 'IC' to Luxembourg with my bike, if I pay the extra fee for that train (something like 3€), he asked me extra 9€ for the bike, if I had a reservation for my bike in that special train; Kafka again. Remember: I had already a ticket to Luxembourg, and at CFL you pay 11€ for a day ticket Luxembourg - Trier and back with the bike included...

So I got my extra hour with useless waiting at Trier instead of Koblenz. The woman from CFL who I asked before said, for her it would be okay in the IC, but till Wasserbillig her German colleges were on duty... Sorry, Deutsche Bahn, but you are so engstirnig!!! Don't wonder, why I prefer a car, if there are at least two persons or bikes or any mixture of it.

Another awkward thing is, how they treat bike owners, if you want to use a washing room at railway stations. You have to park your bike some hundred meters away, if you just want to pee. I suggest to pee only inside the trains, if you can manage that, and don't have to wait hours for the next (suitable) train. Local pubs helped me out of this, where I was allowed to bring my bike in. They did not ask in front, if I'll have a coffee or anything else. Okay, if you have ever experienced the public latrines at Esch/Alzette, Gare, you prefer that way everytime... But if you have to wait longer than an hour for a train there, you'll have already another problem.

Can you still imagine how happy I felt, when I saw a Luxembourgish Zugbegleiter entering the local train to Luxembourg City? This one was very special, because when I asked him, if he can sell me a ticket from the city to Esch, he asked me, why I wouldn't do that at Gare Centrale. When I responded, that there'll be only 5 minutes to change the train AND buying a ticket, he did.

Okay, the rest of the trip was business as usual, hoping the train will arrive in time at the City to get my train to Esch/Alzette, beautiful capital of the Minette - back in the shire...

 

Sunday the 24th - Bike Info Luxembourg - Hostgator Coupon