I was always excited to visit the Hamburg because of two reasons. One was mostly because of one of my very close friends from Germany, Tobias was from Hamburg. And secondly, located in the northern part of Germany, Hamburg is one of the largest cities in Germany. Here is account of my journey:
Train System in Germany:
So that was the first time, I was traveling on an ICE train in Germany. Germany has a good network of trains and they have divided the train network into three layers.
ICE (The Inter-City Express)
The Inter-City Express (ICE) train in Germany is high-speed train and it connects the main cities of Germany like Berlin, Hamburg, Frankfurt etc. These trains once start from one station, they mostly stop at bigger station en route.
Regional Trains, Germany
If ICE trains connect the bigger cities of the Germany, regional trains connect the suburban areas around a city. So, they mostly cover the distance of around 150-200 Km on one side.
Local Trains (S-Bahn, U-Bahn)
There are local trains also known as S-Bahn and U-Bahn which run within a city and connect different areas of a city.
Inside the ICE Train:
That was my first time, I was boarding a fast train anywhere in the world. In India, the fastest trains run at the speed of around 130-140 Kph. And that was the first time, I was boarding a train that would run on almost more than double the train speed I had ever seen.
The ICE train to Hamburg started from Berlin Hauptbahnhof or the Berlin main station. Once we crossed the city of Berlin and train was running in the outskirts of the city, I was really mesmerized by the speed.
Usually, the ICE trains would also have a display system which will display the speed of the ICE train. I must confess that for the first fifteen minutes or so, I was unable to take my eyes off the speed display system. Inside, I was counting on to the speed limit of the ICE train.
The seats are very comfortable and windows are really wide. Unlike India, they doors will get locked and sealed before the train begins the journey.
I was really surprised to not to hear the sound of the train which we usually hear in India from the train running on the track. Anyways…
Berlin to Hamburg in ICE train:
Once, Berlin was left behind, the ICE train was running through the big fields. In Germany, the size of agricultural farms is very large compared to India. Sometimes, I really saw no end of a farm. They go as long as more than a kilometer sometimes in the length.
My journey turned out to be more beautiful because of the yellow mustard plants that were shining under the sun. It really felt like unending length and breadth of the yellow world along with the running train.
Imagine two tiny eyes of an innocent kid staring out of the wide train windows. He has kept his cheek against the window panes and his eyeballs are moving along with the running train as if he is trying to catch the next beautiful thing which will soon pass by the rapid train.
Sometimes, he stares at the vast azure sky and sometimes, he tries to catch the electric poles that are running in the opposite direction. Sometimes, he runs his eyes along the helm of the mustard fields which lie like a lazy yellow carpet on the green fields.
But everything aligned in his views is not in a hurry. He looks at the slow moving fans of the windmills. Even though the world is running is so fast, the windmills fans are not in a hurry. They seem to have a lot of time with themselves.Look at the contrast here, a slow-moving windmill fan being seen from a fast moving train.
Look at the contrast here, a slow-moving windmill fan being seen from a fast moving train. Behind the windmill, is the red sun which is also running along with the train but that seems slower to him. Sometimes, the fans of the windmill cut an ephemeral eclipse over the sun but soon, the sun would glimpse out of them.
In between those tiny moments, the sun rays bounces off the windmill fan and the boy closes his eyes momentarily because of the shiny rays.
But it won’t last long because there are also small patches of trees and bushes which fall in the line of the view and it irks the kid as if he is trying to flee away the housefly which sits over his nose while he is trying to drink a glass of milk. Helpless he seems.
Sitting lost in the train, his eyes are trying to lose themselves in the white patches of the clouds that hang far below the azure sky. And then, the sun. And then, the mustard fields; and then the bushes and then he looks inside – wide cushioned seats, scattered gathering of passengers, most of them lost in themselves, and the silent which is being disrupted by the suppressed sound of the running train and his thoughts hovering over his mind.
He is lost yet he is able to figure out his existence in that little moving world.
How two hours just passed by seems a dream. The train has begun enter into another world. The labyrinth of canals, ships standing in the harbour, shining glass windows of the high rising buildings. Gradually, the train crawls into the station. It reads “Hamburg”.
“Welcome to Hamburg” – He says to himself and looks at the white engine before stepping out of the station.