Split infinitive

July 4, 2019

The 10:38 to Frankfurt

The 15:20 to Heidelberg

On to Frankfurt and on time!

Sometime early on this current trip, Carol and I began to think we might not be going to Hell after all. The combination of perfect timing, perfect opportunity and perfect luck that had befallen us in our previous travels had redemptively abandoned us so far. Where once we had been Roadrunner, we now seemed to be experiencing the aggregatable fates of Wile E. Coyote.

Nevertheless, our fifth day abroad began with more typical European rail precision. Our high – speed Intercity departed Amsterdam on time, and a few miles out into the Dutch flatland, Carol saw for the first time that little-boy-at-christmas grin on my face.

“You look happy,” she said.

“I’ve arrived.” And I had. The start of a four hour high-speed run, swaddled in a first class seat with a fully stocked cafe car one carriage aft, and a way to keep my Kindle charged IS a destination for me. (This should have happened on the Paris to Amsterdam train, but the near hour and a half delay out of Paris, coupled with seats across from a family of Poindexters from America’s heartland threw a wet blanket over even the toasty croque monsieur and the two minis of red that accompanied me on that journey.)

This is one sweet ride

But this was one sweet ride all the way to Frankfurt. I’d like to share some of the highlights of the trip, but the other dysfunction that befell me this time around was my note taking. I’d gotten better at it on the Italy trip, but couldn’t get a rhythm going this time. My notebook would remain virtually blank. Which means you’ll have to endure the kind of generalities that no doubt characterized the Poindexters chronology of their European vacation when they got back home. (Aboard the train, Carol pointed out to me how all four tucked into their iPhones the moment they took their seats.)

Anyway, we slid into Frankfurt right on time. We found our connection to Heidelberg. We sat in the station until it was time to board. Carol used the ladies room. I watched the people heading for their own trains. That’s about it from my recollections.

277 kph is about 171 mph or more than twice Amtrak’s top speed

But the Heidelberg train turned into a bit of bother. Seated comfortably in the 1st class upper berth, Carol noted the posted station stops no longer matched the ones for our train. I double checked and sure enough, they were different than the ones headed for Heidelberg. The train was scheduled to depart shortly, so I started scrambling to get us and the luggage off before departure. Then several of the older Germans aboard got a chance to use their high school English, and explained we were on the correct train, but that it would split down the line, and we’d have to move forward. They assured us they’d let us know when that was, and then proceeded to get off at their stops well ahead of the one we needed to know about.

Beautiful German scenery (Cologne cathedral) along the way

This is when my retained Rosetta Stone German permitted me to comprehend the German conductor’s instructions surprisingly well, except for the small detail of not being able to move forward ahead of time. This detail was provided by a young German fraulein speaking better English than me. She explained we would have to physically disembark the train and reboard the forward cars at the appropriate station. “There’s no through passage on the train itself, as they are two separate trains.”

No telling how we would have gotten to Heidelberg without the intervention of these helpful Germans. We made the transition and took a taxi to our Heidelberg apartment, thankful again our path to Hell had evidently been fully restored.

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