Train Travel in Europe

 

Europe Map Annotated

We just completed a trip to Europe where we spent 77 nights in 16 different locations and we used trains as our primary means of travel.  We rented a car for 9 days in Germany and took a flight from Barcelona to Geneva.  Otherwise, we used trains to get from place to place.  The trains were fast and reliable. Continue reading

Berlin, Germany

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Berlin has an incredible history just within the 20th century.  This makes it an appealing and fascinating destination for people from all over the world.  It’s a history that feels accessible to us since only 90 years ago, Adolph Hitler was making his move in Berlin with the rise of the Nazi Party and the Third Reich.  The subsequent war ended with a crushing invasion of Berlin by 1.5 million Soviet troops and Hitler’s suicide in his bunker here.  Then the city, and all of Germany was divided up by the victorious allies, kicking off the Cold War with the Soviets eventually building a wall that would divide Berlin.  When the wall came down in 1989, Germany was reunified and there was a huge rush of development in the former East Berlin.

Spree River Continue reading

Hamburg, Germany

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The crest for the city of Hamburg prominently features a castle which represents the Hammaburg that was built by order of Charlemagne around the year 808 AD.  Subsequently the castle was attacked and destroyed, by Vikings, then rebuilt no less than 8 times.  Hamburg really got a boost when, in 1189, Frederick I granted it the status of a Free Imperial City and tax free access into the North Sea.  This made the city a major port in Northern Europe.  In more recent times, they have discovered that in fact, Frederick I died before he could sign this actual document but they were successful in convincing others that he had done so.

HafenCity Waterfront Continue reading

Cologne, Germany

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Cologne, Germany’s 4th largest city, is located on the mighty Rhine River, historically one of the great rivers of the continent and among the most important arteries of industrial transport in the world.  As one example, while we were here, we saw 5 or 6 river cruise boats anchored in Cologne.  The city was founded and established in the 1st century AD as a Roman settlement.  When Cologne began building its underground transportation system they discovered extensive Roman ruins.  In the year 310 AD under the emperor Constantine I a bridge was built over the Rhine at Cologne.

Cologne Cathedral

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Frankfurt, Germany

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Frankfurt is unlike any other Germany city.  It is a finance and business hub, home to one of the world’s largest stock exchanges as well as the new headquarters for the European Central Bank.  Its airport is the third largest in Europe.  Due to its soaring skyline and the Main River that runs through it, Frankfurt refers to itself as “Main-hatten”.

Mentioned in historical documents as far back as 794 AD, Frankfurt was an important center for the Holy Roman Empire.  With the election of Frederick I in 1152, the city became the customary site of the selection of Emperors and German Kings.  A stock exchange began operating in Frankfurt in 1585.

Frankfurt Römerberg Continue reading