Danube Train Ride

The Danube, north of Passau

ICE speed display showing speed over 150 mph
These trains go over 200 mph on special tracks

I rode the fast train from Vienna, Austria to Hamburg, Germany and back with train changes in Wurtzburg. I chose to do this, rather than fly, because it was less hassle and I got to see a lot of Germany and Austria in mid October. The ICE - Inter City Express - trains, which are the standard fast trains here now, are very comfortable and fast enough to make the Vienna - Hamburg trip in about nine hours. I could fly it in two hours, but then I have to add in the time, hassle, and expense of getting to/from the airports and going through airport security. That adds five or six hours or so to this trip and makes flying a lot less attractive.

The views are a lot better from the train!

These are the blades used by the large wind turbines. Since these blades can be up to 50 M - 165 feet! - long, they are often transported by river rather than road. That is the Danube in the background.

The train route is in the Danube valey from Vienna to Regensburg, Germany. I rode that section of the Danau Radweg in 2002, so I was on the lookout for familiar sights. I was lucky enough to have good weather for most of the trip - there were short stretches of rain, as in the Passau image above, but it was mostly sunny - so I was able to spot several landmarks I remembered from that ride.

North of Regensburg, the train route leaves the Danube valley and climbs through a mountainous region of Germany. On the way north, I opened my new water bottle - it came with the Camelbak backpack I'm using on this trip - and discovered that climbing had turned it into a water fountain ;-}. The Camelback design has a tube that runs down to the bottom of the bottle so that you can attach a Camelbak water tube to it and suck water from it while it is in the pocket on the backpack. When the train climbed, the air pressure dropped but the air above the water in the well sealed bottle remained at a higher pressure. When I opened it, that air pressure difference pushed several ounces of water out onto my shirt and pants ;-{.

Riding through the mountains on the way back to Vienna, it was snowing and the scenery was quite nice, but it was also rather dim and, travelling at 100+ mph, I needed more light to get reasonably sharp images.

In the mountains on the way to Hamburg

In Hamburg, I was greeted by a complete rainbow over the train station. Nice, but then the light rain that created that rainbow reached me on the ground ;-{. I had a 4 km walk to my friends flat, so I wasn't happy about the rain. fortunately, it never got heavy and it didn't last. My walk was quite pleasant and directly into a beautiful sunset.