|DB is the German rail system and OBB is the Austrian|
Welp, I had the bright idea for my three children and me to take the train from Cologne (Koln), Germany (in the North-West) all the way down to Passau, which is right on the border to Austria in the South-East region of Germany. I thought it would be a fun experience for the kids to ride the train, and one less plane ride for me to endure with Jakob. It was a 6.5 hour long ride, plus a little over an hour to get to the train station in Koln, and 45 minutes to get to where we are staying in Austria. Oh, and we left the house at 4:30 am!
I for one love trains and planes and have no problem sitting for long periods of time while traveling...especially when I'm alone. But having three little monkeys traveling with you can get a little tough when all they want to do is be wild. Ok, not so much wild -I have great travelers after all- but they definitely had short attention spans. I went to bed on Sunday feeling a head cold come on and Monday morning when we left for the train, I was already beat, which is no way to start a day traveling.
Lukas and Heidi, for the most part, did a good job on the train. Heidi slept, read and said "I'm bored" a hundred times. And Lukas played on his tablet, ate, ate and ate some more until he fell asleep. Now, Jake, my sweet little adventurer had to go and visit and talk to everyone on the dang train...in every car. We must have walked well over a kilometer, that train was lonnnnnnng. At a certain point, people stopped smiling at us and started giving me looks of pity and sorrow. I just ignored those looks and thought how I wouldn't need to work out for the rest of the day. This went on for 4 hours, until Sweet Baby finally, FINALLY fell asleep. At which point, all I wanted to do was take an aspirin and sleep.
We took the ICE or Inter City Express train, the fastest train belonging to the Deutsche Bahn (German Train). It was a very smooth and nice train. I've taken trains before and this was by far one of the nicer ones. When we got on in Koln, there were hardly any other passengers on this large train. But by the time we got off, the whole thing was packed, with some people sitting on the floor waiting for seats to open up. We were really lucky to get a table seat. I think once we left, people were happy to take our seats...the train still had a ways to go, as the final stop was in Vienna, Austria.
If you are ever planning on traveling by train in Europe with small children, here are some things I think you should know:
- Many trains come with a children's seating area. It is a great option for the longer train rides.
- Most trains come with changing tables, so ask where those are located and sit near them for convenience.
- There is a dinning area on most international trains and the prices aren't that high. However, I would bring plenty of food and water with you.
- We didn't have assigned seats (I never have while taking the train) but sometimes there are. Just be aware of what your ticket says because if the seats are open and there is no children's seating area, try and get a table or whole row for yourself.
- Like planes, trains are dirty so bring extra wipes.
- And bring a blanket for the littles to sleep with or on.
- When traveling by train, you only need to arrive to the platform about 10 minutes before the train is scheduled to arrive.
- There is free wifi in first class but labeled hotspots all over the train, so if you are planning on using wifi, find where those hotspots are located.
- You can get up and walk around, which is why I knew taking the train was better over flying or driving in our situation with Jake.
- Pack toys, books, electronic devices and whatever else to keep the kids busy. As my lovelies mentioned once or twice, it can get boring on the train (and we took a backpack full of stuff to keep them busy lol).
- Children under 6 are free to ride, even internationally, so this is a major bonus for travel within Europe.
|ICE train (stock photo)|
Here's to a wonderful Summer Tuesday! More from Austria soon!