We lived in southern Germany for 4 years, 20 years ago and we have not been back since. It’s not because we don’t like Germany, it’s just that there are so many other places in the world that we have never seen.
This year I qualified for the Berlin Marathon so we decided to return to Germany. We returned to some of the places we have enjoyed in the past and we found some new ones too. You will soon find blogs about our trips to Munich, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Meersburg, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Berlin and Prague. After three weeks traveling around, we remembered how much we enjoy Europe.
We booked tickets from Ottawa to Frankfurt on Condor which is a cheaper version of Lufthansa using Expedia. We normally fly on Air Canada, but this was the cheapest and most practical flight. Online check-in was a bit confusing. The booking codes did not work on West Jet which was our Ottawa Toronto Flight but once we registered online with Condor we got a different code that worked on West Jet where we actually had to check in. Given that Toronto has recently been deemed the worst airport in the world for delays and lost luggage we bought Apple air tags and hoped for the best.
Generally speaking, Frankfurt is the cheapest airport to fly into in Germany. We wanted to go to Munich but the trains are fast and efficient. It took four hours to get from Frankfurt to Munich by train and it saved us about $200 each.
We arrived at Ottawa Airport 3 hours before the flight, and we were much too early. There were no lines for anything. The flight from Ottawa to Toronto was uneventful and almost on time. Thanks to the air tags we could see that our bags made it safely through the airport onto the plane.
We almost left on time, and although the seats were very uncomfortable, we made it through the night and arrived at Frankfurt Airport about 30 minutes late. It’s a very long walk around the airport but once you get there, customs is fast and easy. As Canadians all we needed was a passport.
The bags took a while to arrive on the baggage carousel, but we got them! We were taking a train to Munich, our final destination, for the day. There is a train station attached to the airport, it’s a long walk too. but there are lots of signs. After much discussion we booked train tickets in advance for a train four hours after our scheduled landing time, three would have been enough.
Two would have been tight with checked luggage. We learned a lot about German DB train tickets today. Low-cost tickets are for a specific train but your seats are not assigned. Once you get on the train you need to “check in” online and tell them which seats you are in. A real person also came by and checked the tickets too so I expect as a tourist no one would get too excited if you had not done the online seat check in.
It’s been a long time, but we knew we were back in Germany because
- There was a smoking lounge in the airport.
- There was a guy standing on the train with his head out the door having one last smoke before he had to go inside the non-smoking train
- There are pretzels everywhere – I have missed those!
- The guy in front of me at the market in the train station was drinking a beer in line. He paid for it at the cash on the way out
- I typed this on a high-speed train going 199 km and hour- no bumps and great internet!
- Harold saw a mailman on a bicycle delivering mail on a Saturday
- Everything is closed on Sundays
- They still have cigarette vending machines
- Beer is cheaper than bottled water and pop in the grocery stores
- There are bicycles everywhere.