First class train travel in Europe: 5 things to expect on board the Deutsche Bahn ICE, the German high-speed train
Some of the most precious moments in my life have been spent in solo travel through Europe on long distance trains. It's my retreat from the world, an almost Zen-like experience when I can be alone like this, silently concentrated on the beauty of the picture-perfect quaint European villages as they roll dreamily past. To make the most of my train-travel, I always book first class in a silent compartment and from my experience if I am not traveling on a weekend, there are only very few passengers in the first class coach and it's usually very quiet.
Recently I was traveling in Germany by the German high-speed train ICE (Inter City Express) and for those of you who want to know more about the Deutsch Bahn first class compartment and service aboard the ICE train, here are some pictures and some information from my very recent visit.
1. The platform
The platforms (called Gleis in German) are divided with alphabets like A, B, C or D. Once you arrive on the platform, you need to check where the first class compartment is going to arrive and board accordingly. You can also find porters there who will help you to put your luggage in the train.
2. Inside the train
The seat configuration is 1 and 2 and there is a lot of room inside the compartment to store the luggage. I usually book the last seat on the train so I can keep the heavy suitcases behind my seat. When you are reserving your seat online, you can go to the seat menu to choose your seat. However, if I have not always managed to get the last seat, I have always met some very gracious German men aboard the train to help me with my luggage. :)
3. Food and Service
The best part about first class travel is that you can order coffee and food from the comfort of your seat. You can choose from a menu of salads, sandwiches and drinks, and as soon as you are settled in your seat, somebody will come and take your order. My go-to order of course is 'Kaffee mit Milch' (coffee with milk). It always helps to speak a little bit of German or you may want to travel with a small German dictionary, just incase you need help with the order or anything else!
Every now and then, somebody will come along and offer you cookies or chocolates, a complimentary service from the Deutsche Bahn.
4. Scenic landscapes and Wifi
Even though the trains offer wifi service, this is one time I like to disconnect from the world and just sit back and loose myself in the beauty of the passing landscape and coffee, cookies and drinks. :)
They also offer you a wide selection of German newspapers; I used mine only to click a picture!
5. Comfort of the seats and cleanliness
The seats are very comfortable and the first class compartments boast a high level of cleanliness. Here is a picture of me in the train from my recent visit.