Thursday, October 31, 2019

Incredible Train Journeys - A Bonus Black Forest Ride

Utrecht Central
We hurriedly rushed into the Rotterdam Central station after having done a last-minute purchase of the Eurail ticket to commence our journey to Basel. As soon as we stepped on the platform our heart sank to see the train departing. It was not a long wait when another train heading to Utrecht arrived and we merrily boarded the train. At last, the trip to Switzerland started. We knew that en route now we will have to make the course corrections as instead of reaching Basel later in the afternoon we would reach sometime in the evening. After a run through the lush green fields, the train arrived at Utrecht which was buzzing with activity. It is a huge junction from where many trains leave to many destinations within Europe. We got a treat of some fine Dutch chocolates while we waited for the next train. It was not a very long wait as the next train that we were to board for Dusseldorf arrived at the platform. The appearance of the train was different and now we were travelling by DB( Deutsche Bahn) an international train, unlike the regional train by which we had arrived. It was a journey through the cities of Emmerich, Oberhausen, and Duisburg as we admired the beautiful landscape before arriving at Dusseldorf( a distance of around 200km). The next stretch was via the pretty Cologne, Koblenz, Worms and Mannheim.
The Cologne Cathedral
The locks on the bridge across the Rhine on Cologne were a memorable sight and so was the grand, spectacular Cathedral just across the Cologne Central station.

The 65 km stretch from Koblenz to the picturesque small town of Worms was interspersed with medieval castles, lush green valleys and gorges. Worms is one of the oldest cities in Germany and is famous for local  Liebfraumilch wine. The famous vineyards of the Rhineland regions produce one of the best wines. At Mannheim, we once again alighted from the train to take one last train to Basel for a three-hour-long journey. We would have missed most of these spectacular views of these slow trains had we taken the fast train at Rotterdam that we missed earlier in the morning. The last stretch was the most rewarding of all the journeys as one of the most scenic routes of the Black Forest Region of Germany from Karlsruhe, Baden Baden to Freiburg fall on the way. I had in fact planned to take this journey during the course of the vacation but little did I realize that with divine intervention I was about to see most of it. The numerous dark pine trees that grow in the region gives it the name of Black Forest. It is famous for the Cuckoo Clocks, Black Forest Pasteries, Skiing, Watch Making and of course associated with the Fairy Tales of Grimm Brothers.
The Black Forest Region
The detour through the Black Forest was a reward that can never be forgotten to experience the train journey through the wooded region, see the shimmering rivulets sight some rare birds and an occasional deer at distance. There is a wealth of gardens, cascading waterfalls, Spas, Gotic churches, walking paths and photogenic sights that await those wanting to explore.
The craving to explore the beautiful little towns and nature has intensified since this short exposure. Maybe sometime in future, I will get to see more of the place of which I just witnessed a trailer. The journey onwards to Basel was enjoyable equally and though we reached almost 12 hours later around 10 PM there was still daylight for us to get a glimpse of the place.

PS: All pics are mine
2. Next week will take you to another delightful journey to a new destination

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