Solarpunkster on Tour # 3 – Train tripping à la Metronomique

The ‘Metronom‘ regional trains in Northern Germany are an enormous pleasure to catch. I get excited whenever I get to ride in one of them. Gliding through the landscape at up to 160 km/h they are comfortable, smooth, quiet, electric, efficient and boast an amazing double-decker design that makes them super spacious, rather unlike a plane. Oh, and they are usually pretty good with running on time, too.

I sway gently as I walk towards the bathroom, in unison with the lady walking towards me. On the way back I check out the downstairs bike carriage (Fahrradwagen). Germans use their bicycles a lot, as a rather efficient mode of transport, often even in snowy winter weather. There are a few roadie bikers who are catching the train one way, then ride 60km back to their home town. There are some Holland bikes and a few trekking bikes with big pannier bags as Germany is criss-crossed with many beautiful “Radwanderwege”, specific bike paths for touring the country.

A man comes up to survey me on pricing and usage of the Metronom trains. We have a little chat and turns out he toured Australia and New Zealand 25 years ago with his youth orchestra, and then got to go to the Sydney Olympics in 2000 through his table tennis club. He works crazy hours in this survey job and is up to over 230 hours for the month! Sometimes he does 24 hour days but at least it’s well-paid. He does look worn out and I’m glad to hear he is about to have three weeks off.

Then we get to Cuxhaven (rather too quickly I find, it’s such a pleasure being chauffeured by this piece of great technology while chilling out and writing…), my third home, my birth place, the place where we spent oh so many good times when I was little.

As I stop on the side of the platform to take some photos I realise how many people there actually were on the train! It is summer holiday time here, and Cuxhaven lies on the Northern Sea and has been a holiday and spa town for centuries.

I get to the bus stop with a bunch of others and we wait less than five minutes. It’s a hybrid bus, too, and if there had not been a dozen tourists needing to buy tickets I would have loved to ask the driver some professional questions about this beast…

Inside there is a screen showing the next five stops – amazing to me as this is still not a thing in Brisbane’s bus fleet. On top of that the stops are announced via PA system, which has been the case in German buses and trains since before I first caught them nearly 30 years ago. What the hell, Australia? Lagging, much? It takes away so much anxiety for passengers knowing when their stops come up…definitely time for some action on that when I get back to my second home!

 

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