Danube Trip: Chicago to Brussels
Danube Trip: Brussels Adventures and Getting to Prague
Danube Trip: Marriott Courtyard Prague
Danube Trip: Prague, Czech Republic
Danube Trip: Boscolo, Autograph Collection
Danube Trip: Prague to Nuremberg
Danube Trip: Viking River Cruise Boats – the Njord and the Bestla
Danube Trip: Nuremberg, Germany
Danube Trip: Weltenburg Abbey and Danube Narrows
Danube Trip: Regensburg, Germany
Danube Trip: Passau, Germany
Danube Trip: Wachau Valley and Göttweig Abbey
Danube Trip: Vienna, Austria
Danube Trip: Budapest, Hungary
Danube Trip: Hilton Budapest (Castle District)
Danube Trip: Budapest to Chicago
As my friend and I weren’t on Viking’s “official” pre-trip extension we were not permitted to ride their motor coach between Prague and Erlangen, where we would board our boat. I don’t fully understand the logic in this. We’d have been happy to pay for the trip but it was not allowed.
Moving between European cities is usually pretty easy. Most are connected by good rail service or short flights. But that’s not the case between Prague and Nuremberg, which is the city closest to Erlangen. Instead we purchased Deutsche Bahn tickets for a journey by bus.
Prague Train Station
After we came back from dinner the prior night I suggested that we go check out the train station which is where our bus would be departing the next morning. I wanted to scout things out and find exactly where we needed to be since our bus left early the next morning and I didn’t want to be hauling luggage while desperately hunting for our bus platform. I am SO glad we did this.
We walked across the street and up the hill from the Boscolo to the train station. We did a bit of looking around for ourselves, trying to figure out where the bus departure platform was. While we did notice some bus signs, none of the ones we saw indicated they were the ones we needed. We made our way to the information booth.
In general, the people in Prague were delightful. English is widespread and we were greeted with smiles, probably because we were tourists and were spending money. The young man working the information booth couldn’t have been less helpful if he tried. First he denied that any longhaul buses left from that station but we didn’t have our tickets on hand to prove him wrong. After going back to the hotel to retrieve them he then agreed the bus did leave from this station but had no idea where. And this is the information booth? He sent us downstairs to the ticket office.
There was young woman there who told us to go up two floors and we’d see the platform. Having been up that way we doubted it but followed her instructions. We did see a door with symbols for both a bus and an airplane on it but thought that meant those were the airport buses. We ended up taking the elevator to the top level where we saw a number of bus stops but none that seemed to be the one we wanted. We snapped a picture of one of the bus stops and took it back down to show the woman in the ticket office. She was quite put out with us that we had not followed her vague instructions. In the end we went through the door with the airplane and bus symbols and found that while some of the bus stops were indeed for airport shuttles, this was also where our bus to Nuremberg would depart.
The next morning I was even more glad we’d done the legwork the night before because the information booth was closed when we arrived. I really think we might have missed our bus if we had not come by the night before.
Bus to Nuremberg
We had reserved coach seats, which meant we were upstairs in the double-decker bus. It was clean and had wi-fi once we reached Germany. Downstairs was the “premium cabin” but because of the lack of light (it was cloudy and raining for a good part of our trip) it seemed gloomier than upstairs. The bus did have a restroom that was clean and compact.
My friend and I were initially concerned because we were not seated together but as the bus was perhaps only half-full this turned out to be a non-issue as we each had our own set of two seats to ourselves.
The bus does stop at the German border as we entered the Schengen zone and we had to display our passports for border control.
We arrived at the train station in Nuremberg right on time and were practically left on its doorstep.
All in all a very pleasant experience
Nuremberg to Erlangen
The train station in Nuremberg is very compact. We quickly found the machine to buy tickets but as I attempted to buy my ticket with a credit card that didn’t support chip+PIN the transaction was rejected. Had I thought about it I would have used my Barclays Arrival+ World MasterCard but at the time all I could think was “this is travel, use the Chase Sapphire Preferred”. We ended up going to the ticket counter for assistance. I loved the “take a ticket, we’ll call your number” process they used there. It meant we didn’t have to pick a line to stand in and then watch other lines move much faster. I love German efficiency!
The train platform was on the next level up. I’m sure there was an elevator somewhere but I don’t recall seeing it. We lugged our suitcases up the stairs and soon we were on our way.
Erlangen is about a 15-20 train ride from Nuremberg. I believe it was about the 8th stop or so.
From there we found a taxi (hint: don’t follow the taxi signs, go just outside the main entrance) which took us on a short drive to our boat.
Planes, trains, buses and automobiles – we used them all on this trip!