As I was sitting on yet another 7 hour bus ride crossing borders to new countries, I couldn’t help but be amazed at the true power and dynamism behind the general ingenuity of German transportation. We are constantly told how great German engineering is, but I truly didn’t understand the actuality of the matter until I finally arrived here.
Trains, buses, and trams will take you anywhere your heart desires here. There’s literally not a single destination that can’t be reached by public transportation – making it the promised land for students like me and you who want to travel as much as possible during our time here but have zero access to cars (and money). From England to Russia, you can travel anywhere your mind can think up – specifically by land!
What surprises me most about the efficiency of German travel is that Mannheim isn’t necessarily the biggest and top tourist destination, and yet it is a busy stopping location for bountiful trains and buses on a daily basis. But as I stated in a previous article, it was targeted by the U.S. Army in WWII because it was a mega transportation hub, making it a desired target. Even so, it doesn’t peg me as a city that is that large, and yet I have access to all of Europe from this town that generally no one has really heard of.
Not only are these mediums of transit accessible to everyone, they’re creepily punctual. Many Germans like to joke around saying that you can set your clocks to train times because they’re just that good. Something that Regional Rail and SEPTA could take example of if you know what I mean. Long gone are the days of rolling lazily out of your apartment, assuming the train will be late, and then arriving at the station to find that you, being the genius that you are, still have an hour left of waiting because your train got lost somewhere along the route.
But my all-time favorite part about European transportation in general is the fact that regardless of where your stop is, whether it’s in the city center of Berlin, or the suburban outskirts of Munich, there never fails to be a small tram kiosk and sign that tells you exactly how many more minutes until your next bus/tram/train arrives. This way you’re always aware of where you are going, and how long it’ll take you to get there. A small luxury that I’ll truly miss once my here comes to and end.