(Originally posted on Sunday, August 21, 2005)

It seems that we have been walking forever! Up one elevator and then down another… Will there be an end? Finally, we must choose between the S-bahn local trains to the Main Frankfurt Bahnhof (in the city) or the Distance Frankfurt Bahnhof (in the airport)… We pick the latter so we would not need to change trains, if possible…

We had purchased a DB RailPass before coming to Europe, but it needed to be validated. In addition, since we did not know for sure how long it would take to get through passport control, customs, and pick up our baggage, we had not make train reservations ahead of time for this first trip… So we needed to find the correct office.

We headed down a long corridor to the Bahnhof(Fuhr) to catch a long distance train. When we got almost to the end of the corridor, we found a ‘Travel’ office; I inquired about if this were the correct one and was told Nein! (No!) I needed to find the ReiseZentrum to validate our pass and make the necessary reservations. When we cleared the corridor, we saw that office and stood in line for our turn…
Grace attended the trolley with our luggage on it while I waited in line to take care of our business. Since I spoke at least a little German, Grace felt uncomfortable doing this task… I finally got to a window, got the pass validated; then we needed seat reservations.

There was two ways of getting to Kassel. The first was to catch a transfer train from this Bahnhof to the Main Bahnhof where we would need to move our baggage to another train. There were three problems we needed to consider… First of all, we had two large suitcases that were heavy and a number of carryon bags. Second, the German trains were noted for their punctuality; the ‘shuttle’ train would leave in five minutes and the long distance train from the Main Bahnhof was scheduled to leave in twenty minutes… Not a good prospect! The third problem was that we needed to move all luggage and stuff to a new platform and then get on the second train in time. Being unfamiliar with the station, this seemed like an unduly difficult task.

Therefore, we decided to take the second option, which meant that we would have about an hour and one half wait for the 16:42 train from this Bahnhof that would take us straight to Kassel’s Bahnhof Wilhemshöhe… This would not only give us time to get to the platform, but would also give us a chance to eat some lunch… We opted for this option and made the reservations.

We then went to the Service Desk and requested assistance due to my mobility problems. Once this was arranged, we proceeded to the correct platform, found a seat and waited for the train. Once situated, Grace went and found lunch, which consisted of a sausage sandwich and diet cola (actually, CocaCola Light)… We enjoyed the sandwich and sat back and relaxed until our train was due in at 16:38 (giving only five minutes to get ourselves and everything aboard)… Shortly before its arrival, we saw which station we needed to be at to get on the correct train and proceeded to that point.

Just as the train was about to arrive, a porter can around to help us get things aboard… In the meantime, I got a couple of photos of the station; one of these is posted with this entry…

This was a train that made a brief stop at the Main Bahnhof and then proceeded directly to Kassel. We got aboard and settled and enjoyed the hour and one half trip to Kassel. We were in the first class coach and the seats were comfortable and we enjoyed the trip and the beautiful countryside. We were scheduled to arrive in Kassel at 18:20; Tasha said that she would be waiting at the INFO area when we arrived. But she was expecting us to be on an earlier train!

When we got in, there was a cart waiting to take us to the entrance and help us off with our baggage. We got off and there were Tasha, Heather and Isti! How good it was to see all of them again. They helped us get our baggage to the AVIS counter (across the parking lot) and I completed the paperwork on the rental car reserved for our stay in Kassel…

I had requested an ‘A’ Class Mercedes, but was given instead an Opal Wagon, a Diesel at that… Once I had loaded up the luggage, my walker, and figured how to get the car in reverse with its six speed transmission!

We followed Tasha and Isti to the downtown Mövenpick Hotel… We got there, checked in and moved our luggage up to the room with Heather’s and Isti’s help. Our room was comfortable and spacious, but not fancy. We freshened up and went down to the restaurant where Tasha, Isti, Heather were already seated with Isti’s parents and sister.

We had an enjoyable evening with them… More on that in the next posting…

Jerry