So there we are at Frankfurt am Main HBF – the main railway station in Frankfurt. We’ve just had a quick bite to eat and it’s time to head to our train. I’m largely in the dark as Christian is chatting to his parents in German, and while I can follow the gist of the conversation the details elude me. I’ve learnt not to worry about that and generally go with the flow.
But there’s a Haagen-Daaz stand and boy I could kill for an ice-cream right now. So, with Christian telling me to be quick cos the train is going to leave soon I dash to the shop, grab my Belgian chocolate scoop in wafer cone and race back to the platform. The sign says this train is going to Fulda, it’s platform 7 – which is the platform we generally catch the train to Fulda from, but there’s no sign of Christian nor of his parents.
Remembering that they tend to go towards the front of the train I race along beside, checking the carriages – I can’t see them at all. I go up and back before I hear the announcement that the train is about to leave – there’s nothing for it, I jump on board and pull out my phone. Roaming charges be damned! As the train doors close I call Christian and he finally picks up – he’s waiting outside the train on the platform he says. But the train is leaving! I say. No it’s not. Yes it is!
I’m on the wrong train. I’ve no ticket, no identification – Christian has my bags. All I have is my iphone and some change. We agree that I’ll get off at the first stop and try to explain things to the ticket inspector if he comes around. I can then meet them on the later train at Hanau towards the front of the train. So I wander up towards the front of the train and sit in the first class area (why not?) while I wait to be confronted by a ticket inspector. By the time I reach Hanau, none have turned up, so I jump off the train.
A quick scan of the timetable to confirm that the next train to Fulda will indeed be waiting at this platform, a 10 minute wait in the cold and I’m reunited with the others.
Apparently I should have realised that the train we normally catch is not the ICE but the bog-standard train (takes longer but is cheaper and is therefore better). Honestly I was just worried about the leaving now thing and getting left behind!