Lesson learned

Karlsruhe Travel Blog

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Now, after my two visits to France (or rather three, when one counts the school excursion years ago) I love almost anything about this country (much more than Germany, where I've been spending almost all my life). But there is one exception, though: The TGV, which is for two main reasons. Firstly, the space between the rows is much smaller than in the ICE. While in the ICE it's never been a problem to stow my bag under the seat or in a corner, in the TGV one has no other alternative than putting the stuff on the racks above the windows. And this can turn out to be some kind of challange. Luckily, the French use to be Gentlemen - at least towards young ladies.
The other nuisance (to me) is the fact that one is obliged to make a seat reservation while buying a ticket. "Why the hell should that be a disadvantage? Then at least you don't have to stay around in the aisle for hours" you may think. With this, you're definitely right. However, when you buy a ticket in Germany (without a reservation) for the normal price, you can take any train you want within a defined time frame of several days. In France, you can't - you can only take the connection for which you have booked a seat. And this is the little detail which had almost cocked up my whole trip to Paris.

Let me tell how it happened:
Some weeks in advance my boss told me to kindly use up my days of leave I had left from the previous year before end of March. As it were not less than 19 days, I spent half of the last weeks on holidays (which could, according to me, just go on this way). As I didn't knew when to take these days, my boss was so kind to plan these days for me. The same evening I wrote a new friend of mine that I'll be coming to Paris for a week. I met him on a salsa festival. His first question had been whether I had ever been to Paris. " No, but I always wanted to go." "Ok, then come over some day!" ...and so I did :D
To save money, I bought the tickets as soon as possible...or rather the return ticket, as there weren't any special price tickets left to Paris. After that life went on and I already looked for travel guides and was just happy happy happy to go to Paris finally.
Originally, I wanted to take the train on Saturday at 9 o'clock. My friend, Tuan, wanted to collect me from the station so he asked when I would arrive. "Wait a moment, I'll just check the ticket". Ha ha ha. The only problem was that there WAS NO (!) ticket, which made me finally remember that I had never bought one. Getting in a mood somewhere between hectic and despair I checked the website of the Deutsche Bahn for a ticket. But exactly for this connection there were NO tickets left - thanks to this ******** reservation stuff. Luckily, I found a free connection in the afternoon, at last. But having learned my lesson, I didn't wait till tomorrow but dived to the station (it was almost midnight) to get one of these precious last tickets. At this time, Tuan still thought the visit would fall through.
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photo by: Ann_Hells