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Subject: soc.culture.german FAQ (posted monthly) part 5/6

This article was archived around: Mon, 03 Sep 2001 06:03:29 GMT

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Archive-name: german-faq/part5 Last modified: 2001-09-02 Posting-Frequency: monthly URL: http://www.watzmann.net/scg/ Version: 2001-09
This is part 5 of the ASCII version of the FAQ list for soc.culture.german. Find the WWW version at <http://www.watzmann.net/scg/index.html>. The FAQ is posted on the first of every month. Table of Contents for Part 5 ============================= 18. Broadcasting Media 18.1 German TV and Radio homepages 18.2 Deutsche Welle 18.2.1 Satellite TV 18.2.2 (Shortwave) Radio 18.3 Regional German Radio Stations via Shortwave 18.4 TV via Satellite 18.4.1 Europe 18.4.2 German TV in Europe / ASTRA 18.4.3 North/South America 18.4.4 North America, Caribbean Sea 18.4.5 Europlus 18.5 Swiss Radio; Radio Austria (Shortwave) 18.5.1 Page comments 19. German zip codes (Postleitzahlen, PLZ) 19.1 Finding PLZ's on the Net 19.1.1 WWW 19.1.2 ftp 19.1.3 Mail Server 19.1.4 Telephone 19.1.5 don't know at all 19.2 The Old Zip-Code System 19.3 The New Zip-Code System 19.3.1 Page comments 20. (Public) Transportation in Germany 20.1 Public transport on the Internet 20.2 Railways 20.2.1 Deutsche Bahn AG 20.2.2 Which Train to Use 20.2.3 Ticket Prices 20.2.4 International Addresses for Railway Travelers 20.2.5 Timetables; Travel Information 20.2.6 The Poor Man's Version of the Kursbuch 20.2.7 Fly and Ride (a Train) 20.2.8 Trains and Bicycles 20.3 Country-Wide/Continent-Wide Bus Travel like Greyhound? 20.4 Regional Hiking Service ( 20.5 You Mean I *Can* Get Around on My Bicycle? 20.6 Buying a Car for Short Period instead of EuRail? 20.6.1 Page comments 21. Cars and Driving in Germany 21.1 How much is Gasoline in Germany? 21.2 What's the typical Mileage of Cars on German Streets? 21.2.1 Page comments 22. Tourism 22.1 Tourism Hot Line 22.2 On-Line -- German Cities Info 22.3 Monuments to Visit 22.4 Youth hostels 22.5 Sights to See in the Cities 22.5.1 Page comments 18. Broadcasting Media 18.1. German TV and Radio homepages Radio in Germany is predominantly FM radio, hardly ever AM. An index of German language radio stations broadcasting on the internet can be found here <http://www.radioweb.de/livesender.html>. Most stations have their own webpages by now: o ARD <http://www.ard.de/>. The regional TV stations like Bayern 3 or SWR 3 are reachable from the ARD page <http://www.ard.de/fernsehen/die_dritten/inhalt_ne.html>. o ZDF <http://www.zdf.de/> o Bayerischer Rundfunk <http://www.br-online.de/> o Radio Hundert,6 (Berlin) <http://www.bbtt.com/hundert6/whhome.htm> o RTL <http://www.rtl.de/> and RTL2 <http://www.rtl2.de/> o SAT1 <http://www.sat1.de/> o SWR3 <http://www.swr3.de/>. They also provide web broadcasts <http://www.swr3.de/Webradio/Webradio/Webradio.htm>. o VH-1derland <http://www.vh1.de/> o Westdeutscher Rundfunk <http://www.wdr.de/> Current TV Programming (Videotext, etc.) TV Today <http://www.tvtoday.de/> and TV Movie <http://www.tvmovie.de/> provide an overview over current programs. 18.2. Deutsche Welle Deutsche Welle <http://www.dwelle.de/> produces programs geared to viewers and listeners abroad. They broadcast worldwide in a variety of languages <http://www.dwelle.de/language.html>, both TV and shortwave radio. This service is there not so much for Germans in Germany, but for those people abroad (not only Germans) who would like to keep in touch with Germany. Shortwave fans can get up-to-date frequencies <http://www.dwelle.de/dw/empfang/radio/Welcome.html> for the German programs. There is also an email list that provides this information. See this page <http://www.dwelle.de/dpradio/kwfreqmail.html> for instructions. Radio Deutsche Welle gladly sends out a monthly magazine with times/frequencies and stories on broadcasts. If you would like to subscribe (for free) contact them at: Deutsche Welle Oeffentlichkeitsarbeit, 50588 Koeln, Germany, tel +49(221)389-0 fax 49-221-389-4155 Deutsche Welle Studio Washington P.O.B. 50641 Washington, DC 20091-0641 USA tel +1(202)393-7427 fax +1(202)393-7434 1995-12 Deutsche Welle 190 000 Sankt Petersburg Glawpotschtamt Abonentnyj jaschtschik 596 Nemezkaja Wolna Russia 18.2.1. Satellite TV Deutsche Welle Nachrichten, News from Germany (not only about Germany). DW-TV Berlin is on-line; their email address is online@dwelle.de and they also provide their WWW server. <http://www.dwelle.de/> 1998-03 The whole Deutsche Welle Program is available as Audio-on-Demand (as well as the entire program live. You can go to www.dwelle.de/dpradio/ <http://www.dwelle.de/dpradio/> 1998-04 In North America, there are three major rebroadcaster of DW-tv: IC (International Channel) a commericial service from Los Angeles which emphasizes Asian programming. It broadcasts one hour of DW-tv on weekdays 15:00 Eastern, 14:00 Central, 12:00 noon Pacific. ME/U (Mind-Extension University) a Denver-based educational network broadcasts on cable at 5:00PM ET, three blocks of 30 minutes: German-English-Spanish. Ask you cable-provider! SCOLA (Satellite Communications for Learning Association)" SCOLA devotes a greater portion of its schedule to DW-tv than the other two rebroadcasters. Affiliated with Creighton University, has monthly schedules for all the DW-tv, ORF and SBC programs it broadcasts on each of its channels: http://www.scola.org 1998-04 1996-06 18.2.2. (Shortwave) Radio Usually Radio Deutsche Welle comes in loud and clear. o 6075 ( 0:00- 6:00) o 6085 ( 4:00- 6:00) o 6100 ( 0:00- 6:00) o 9700 ( 4:00- 6:00) o 9730 (22:00- 2:00) o 9735 ( 2:00- 4:00) o 11795 ( 0:00- 4:00) o 11810 ( 4:00- 8:00) o 13780 (22:00- 2:00) o 13790 (14:00-16:00) o 15270 ( 0:00- 2:00) o 17715 (12:00-19:00) o 17860 (18:00- 0:00) All times are UTC. 1994-2 18.3. Regional German Radio Stations via Shortwave Here are shortwave frequencies for some of Germany's regional programs. The stations are nationally operated and mostly serve one of the federal states. SWF 3 (Suedwestfunk) 7265 kHz. Serves Rheinland-Pfalz and parts of Baden- Wuerttemberg. Suedwestfunk, Postfach 820, 76485 Baden-Baden Sender Freies Berlin & Radio Bremen 6190 kHz Radio Bremen, Heinrich-Hertz-Str. 13, 28211 Bremen Sender Freies Berlin, Masurenallee 8-14, 14057 Berlin RIAS Berlin (100 kW) 6005 kHz RIAS has gone together with Deutschlandfunk to become Deutschland-Radio. There are two stations now; the one that used to be RIAS has become DS-Kultur 1994-9 Deutschland-Radio, Hans-Rosenthal-Platz, 10825 Berlin, tel +49(30)85030 Sueddeutscher Rundfunk 6030 kHz. Serves Baden-Wuerttemberg (20 kW) Sueddeutscher Rundfunk, Neckarstr. 230, 70190 Stuttgart Bayerischer Rundfunk (100 kW) 6085 kHz Bayerischer Rundfunk, Rundfunkplatz 1, 80335 Muenchen Consult the World Radio and TV Handbook for a complete listing of all shortwave stations. The book is updated annually and can be found in many libraries. 18.4. TV via Satellite 18.4.1. Europe EUTELSAT II-F1 <http://www.cdc.polimi.it/~piu1837/doc6.htm> (13 deg. East) Transponder 27, 11,163 GHz, vert. pol, 15-05 UTC, PAL., sound: 6.65 MHz This is a low power satellite; Deutsche Welle broadcasts not for Germans in Germany and so it broadcasts not on the hot bird ASTRA satellite (see below) 18.4.2. German TV in Europe / ASTRA There is a hot bird ASTRA TV satellite <http://www.cdc.polimi.it/~piu1837/doc6.htm> with nearly all German TV programs (public or commercial) but not with Deutsche Welle on it. An equipment to get all these German TV programs is much cheaper in many areas than an equipment to get Deutsche Welle. For most of Europe a 70cm dish will be sufficient. With a 200cm dish you should expect good reception from Northern Africa to Spitzbergen. A second hot bird is planned to be launched in 1996. Ask local Germans or your satellite dish dealer for ASTRA service. 1994-2 18.4.3. North/South America INTELSAT-K (21.4 deg. West), Transponder H7, 11,605 GHz, North America: hor. pol., South America: vert. pol., Min. Dish Diameter: 1.3m or 4ft Deutsche Welle TV: 16-06 UTC, NTSC-M Sound: 6.8 MHz Deutsche Welle radio: German Program (stereo): a: 7.38/7.56 Mhz Foreign Language Programs: b: 7.74 Mhz 18.4.4. North America, Caribbean Sea SATCOM C-4 (135 deg. West) Transponder 5V, 3,8 GHz, pol. vert., Deutsche Welle TV 16-06 UTC, NTSC-M Sound: 6.8 MHz Deutsche Welle radio German Program (stereo): a: 7.38/7.56 Mhz Foreign Language Programs: b: 7.74 Mhz A two and a half hour TV program (English and German) is broadcast between 20:00 and 22:30 UTC via the following satellites: o SPACENET II (69' West) - Transponder 2 - for North-America o INTELSAT 601 (27.5' West) - Transponder 21 - for Europe and Africa o INTELSAT 505 (66' East) - Transponder 38 - for Europe, Africa and Asia o INTELSAT 508 (180' East) - Transponder 14 - for East Asia, Australia and New Zealand 1995-3 18.4.5. Europlus Europlus an inexpensive satellite reception system designed to receive live European broadcasting. That broadcasting is mainly German and Italian but in the next two years, it is expected to carry several other languages, as well. Programming is available as video, radio and teletext to all areas of the United States (East of the Mississippi), Central and South America by the use of spot beams. The German programming currently consists of Deutsche Welle, ZDF and 3SAT. There are also numerous radio broadcasts and the news teletext is a 24 hour service. The Italian programming consists mainly of RAI (radio & TV) and SWF3. All functions of the system such as changing channels, changing languages, audio, video, radio, teletext, volume and text control are handily accomplished with a 6 button remote control for simplicity. There are currently no subscription charges and none are anticipated for at least a year, when they are expected to run @ US$10 per month or US$100 per year, per language received. The costs of buying the hardware run around US$900. Good Shephard Marketing, a division of: Atlanta Antenna, Inc., PO Box 76247, Atlanta, GA 30328 Cliff Shephard, Compuserve 73667.1502, fax +1(404)843-1465 1994-10 18.5. Swiss Radio; Radio Austria (Shortwave) For Information about Switzerland you might want to listen to Schweizer Radio International: Swiss Radio International, PO Box CH-3000, Bern 15, Switzerland For Austria: Radio Austria, A-1136, Vienna, Austria 18.5.1. Page comments View/add comments <http://www.watzmann.net/comments/list.php?page_id=22> 19. German zip codes (Postleitzahlen, PLZ) Every German household should have an immensely impressive and voluminous book somewhere: the official Postleitzahlenbuch. If your household doesn't, you should contact your nearest post office and ask them if they'd like to give you one. While you're waiting for all the red tape to clear use one of the methods listed below to look up a PLZ. 19.1. Finding PLZ's on the Net 19.1.1. WWW Straight from the horse's mouth: the search engine of the German postal service <http://www.plz-suche.de/> (English version <http://www.plz-suche.de/plz_suche.dpag/engl/index.html>). The quantum server <http://www.quantum.de/zahlen/> lets you search not only for PLZ's but also for phone numbers, bank routing numbers (BLZ) and similar information about Germany. If both of those servers don't satisfy your fancy, try NADS' server <http://www.nads.de/WWW/PLZ.html>. 19.1.2. ftp You can retrieve the original databases from various sites: PLZ data at U Stuttgart <ftp://info2.rus.uni- stuttgart.de/pub/misc/datasets/PLZ/> or PLZ data at U Muenster <ftp://ftp.uni-muenster.de/pub/PLZ/> (I can't figure out the of the files provided there, though) 1999-08 19.1.3. Mail Server Arthur Teschler's server gives you not only the PLZ's but also information about municipal government, about topological maps for the area, and more. See `Internet/Search Engines' for more. 1996-02 Send email: To: Arthur.Teschler@uni-giessen.de Subject: _GEO_ 1st line: INFO 19.1.4. Telephone Directory services such as 11880 can tell you zip codes, too. Be careful though since directory services can be extremely expensive, like 2 DM per minute, depending on which one you call. There is competition in this area, too. 1999-11 19.1.5. don't know at all The old 4 digit zip codes should still work. (Even letters with no zip code at all should -in principle- make it through.) No guarantee, though! Letters will definitely take longer compared to those that use the new code -- if they arrive at all. Some people have already lost mail because of this. 1994-3 19.2. The Old Zip-Code System Up until July of 1993, zip codes consisted of one letter, a dash and four digits. The letter was a W for former West Germany and an O for East Germany. Examples: O-1155 Berlin W-1000 Berlin 33 Many bigger cities in the West had a number following the city name to differentiate further. If you have an old address with a four digit zip code, you should try and get the new zip code. Your love letter addressed with the old zip code, or without any zip code, will still be delivered, but might take a long long time; and who knows if your love can wait for so many weeks. 19.3. The New Zip-Code System In July of 1993, all zip codes were changed to a new system: the new zip codes consist of 5 digits only. They designate areas of cities down to individual carrier routes. Post office boxes (Postfach) in most cities now have their own Postleitzahl as have large companies <http://www.quantum.de/zahlen/plz-gross.html> that receive more than 1000 letters a day. It seems that the Postleitzahlen for large companies were initially kept secret, for reasons that are entirely beyond me. The German Mail service <http://www.deutschepost.de/> distributed a big book containing all new zip codes for each German household in May 1993. But this book neither contained PO boxes nor the big companies' zip codes... To find the Postleitzahl for an address, you usually need the name of the city and the street address, including house number, since longer streets are often split into several zip codes. In some large cities there might even be two different streets with the same name; in this case, the old zip code together with the post office designator after the city name can be a tremendous help in figuring out the new zip code. If you absolutely can't figure out the new zip code of an address, you can use whatever address you have. The Deutsche Post <http://www.deutschepost.de/> is usually pretty good at figuring out where you wanted to send your letter, but they will take their time delivering to incomplete addresses. 1999-08 19.3.1. Page comments View/add comments <http://www.watzmann.net/comments/list.php?page_id=23> 20. (Public) Transportation in Germany This section discusses some aspects of moving around in Germany. Public transportation is in general very good and readily available. If you are visiting any major cities, you do not need (or want) any other way of moving around than the public transport. Trams and buses usually run frequently and often deep into the night, making even a bar crawl by tram possible. Cross-country trains are very convenient, the connections are by and large reliable, although they can be pricey. For a cheap alternative, check out the `Mitfahrzentralen'. 20.1. Public transport on the Internet The trains across Germany are run by the Deutsche Bahn AG <http://www.bahn.de>. Select International Guests <http://www.bahn.de/home/typ_b_files/db_home_international_guests.shtml> on their website to get information in English. The website also provides timetable information <http://bahn.hafas.de/bin/query.exe/en>: you only need to provide from where to where you are travelling together with the times and dates and, voila, get a list of all possible connectons. You can buy tickets online or at any train station near you. The Austrian rail company Oesterreichische Bundesbahn maintains a similar service <http://www.oebb.at>. Many providers of public transport within cities/regions also have websites by now. The sites usually provide timetable and ticket price information, rules for bicycle transport etc. Some sites: Verkehrsverbund Rhein-Ruhr-Wupper <http://www.vrr.de/> Services the Ruhrgebiet, roughly the area between Duisburg and Dortmund. Such wonderful cities as Bochum, Essen and Castrop- Rauxel are located in this area. Verkehrsverbund Rhein-Neckar <http://www.vrn.de/> Services Mannheim, Ludwigshafen, Heidelberg and vicinity. Karlsruher Verkehrsverbund <http://www.karlsruhe.de/KVV/> Services Karlsruhe and vicinity. One of the best in Germany. Elektronische Fahrplanauskunft <> (English <>) of BayernInfo <http://www.bayerninfo.de/> gives complete timetable information for public transport in Bavaria: You can get timetable information to go from one bus stop in one town to a tram stop in another regardless of which service company/companies are providing the transport. 20.2. Railways Trains play a special role in Germany (and in Europe in general.) In terms of traffic they have top priority. They have right of way before any other vehicle. There are lots of tunnels and bridges for trains and therefore they don't have to stop anywhere between railway stations and can go at rather high speeds... 120km/h (75mph) for regular trains, up to 250km/h (155mph) for the high speed trains. Statistics: o former Western: o 31,443 km total o 4,022 km non government owned o 27,421 km government owned o 12,491 km double track o 11,501 km electrified o former Eastern: o 14,025 km total o 3,830 km double track o 3,475 km electrified On a typical day an average of about 32,000 trains are scheduled. The railroad system in Germany has been privatized in recent years. The former government-owned Deutsche Bundesbahn is now called Deutsche Bahn AG and organized like any big German corporation, although its majority stockholder is still the German government. Private and foreign companies are now free to operate on the German railroad net. 20.2.1. Deutsche Bahn AG Deutsche Bundesbahn (former Western) and Deutsche Reichsbahn (former Eastern) joined to become Deutsche Bahn AG. Despite unification there are still price differences between East and West! The Deutsche Bahn AG is forced to split into several branches (and later into several companies): Fernverkehr (Long-distance travel) runs all ICE, EC, IC, EN, IR and D trains. Nahverkehr (Short-distance travel) runs all the other trains. Personenbahnhoefe (Railway stations) runs the railways stations for all railway companies; rents shops in railway stations. (Remember: It is forbidden by German law to open shops in the evening and on Sundays. But it is legal to sell goods to passengers in airports and railway stations...) Ladungsverkehr Big freight service Stueckgutverkehr Small freight service Netz Track network. Sells the right to travel to railroad companies Bahnbau Repairs the tracks etc. Luckily, as a passenger on the Deutsche Bahn, you don't need to know any of this; you can even forget about the fact that some trains are run by Deutsche Bahn or some other small rail company. Except for some special, mostly tourist--only rail companies, you just buy your ticket from the ticket counter or machine in your favorite train station and enjoy the ride. 1999-07 20.2.2. Which Train to Use For the last couple years the Deutsche (Bundes-/)Bahn has been implementing a new philosophy in train travel. One very obvious sign of its modernization are the new cars, which have defined new colors outside and better seats inside. As this modernization is not quite completed, frequently mixed trains of old and new cars can be seen. All modern trains have special color codes: o red-white = High speed trains (ICE, EC, IC) o blue-white = long distance trains (IR, Talgo) o green-white = regional trains (CB, RB, RE) o orange-white = urban train (S) It is a good idea to use these if possible. Foreign cars are also nice. Check the label outside! Only the silver cars (Silberlinge) are really bad. Most trains have some cars where smoking is allowed... There are also first class cars in most trains. You don't really need reservation in most trains. If you found no seat you can ride without a seat or, if you think the train is to full, take another train an hour later... There is no reservation possible for any short-distance trains. Brief overview: Long-distance trains ICE InterCityExpress; the German high speed train. These trains are integrated in the IC network, but have higher prices than other IC. Ticket prices depend on ICE speed and the speed of other trains at the same distance. CIS Cisalpino; a high speed train that can, contrary to the ICE, run on more conventional tracks, since it leans into curves. The CIS is sometimes called a Pendolino. Tickets are also more expensive than those for the usual trains. EC EuroCity; an international high quality train. In Germany most EC's are integrated in the IC net. IC InterCity; a national high quality train. Nearly all IC's run in the IC net. On most lines there is one IC every hour. ICN InterCityNight; a high quality night train; more silent rolling, leans into curves, you can sleep in even after arrival. EN EuroNight; a night train, there were only 4 such trains in 1994/1995. CNL CityNightLine; high quality night train, rather expensive. NZ Nachtzug; high quality night train. Reservations necessary, special fares, but not necessarily more expensive than other trains. IR Interregio; similar to IC. The IR net is much longer and IR's stop at more stations IC's. On most lines there is one IR every other hour. D Schnellzug; a long-distance train which is not good enough to be qualified as ICE, EC, IC, EN, IR. In May 1994 most of them will get modernized and become InterRegios. Some night trains or trains with foreign destinations will remain D trains. Short-distance trains RE RegionalExpress; an E-train with modern cars, runs periodically. Stop only at major stations. RB RegionalBahn; a local train with qualified good rolling material. Stops at every station. SE StadtExpress; a local train with modern cars, runs periodically. CB CityBahn; a local train with qualified good rolling material, runs periodically. S S-Bahn; an urban train in areas like Hamburg, Berlin, Frankfurt, Munich,... 1994-02 The following train types are now history...discontinued! E Eilzug; a semi-fast train. Some of these trains are as fast as IC, others are slower and stop at every station. Eilzuege have been completely replaced by the RE. RSB RegionalSchnellBahn; a semi-fast train; replaced by the RE. (no letter marking) Nahverkehrszug; local train. 1999-07 20.2.3. Ticket Prices 2nd class 0.272 DM/km 1st class 150 percent of 2nd class price ICE is a little more in 2nd and 1st class. There are special short-distance prices in many areas. In that case the ticket includes local bus and subway, but you can use all short- distance trains with a railroad ticket like Interail etc or a long- distance train ticket. There are lots of special fares which can make travelling by train much cheaper. The most important are: Children up to 5 years free, from 6 to 11 years half price. Mitfahrer-Fahrpreis If two ore more people are travelling together, only the first person pays the full fare, the others only half the fare. This ticket isn't available for very short distances. Sparpreis Several long-distance return tickets for a fixed price. Only for journeys which include a week-end and not valid on certain days. Ask if a Sparpreis is possible when buying long-distance returns. Schoenes-Wochenende-Ticket For 35 DM up to 5 persons can travel one whole day as much as they want - but only on Saturdays and Sundays and only in RE, SE, RB, and S trains. These trains are rather slow and often full - but it is by far the cheapest way to get around and explore the closer environs of wherever you are. BahnCard Valid for one year. You pay half fare for all standard tickets. Costs 230 DM for 2nd class, cheaper for people under 22 or over 60, students, and families. Spouses/partners of BahnCard holders can get their own BahnCard for 110 DM. 1999-07 20.2.4. International Addresses for Railway Travelers Australia Thomas Cook Limited, Ground Floor, 257 Collins Street, Melbourne VIC 2000, tel (03) 6502442, fax (03) 6507050 Canada German Rail/DER Tours, 904 The East Mail, Etobicoke, ONT. M93 6K2, tel +1(416)695-1209, fax +1(416)695-1210 England DER Travel Service, Germany Rail Sales, 18 Conduit Street, London W1Y 7PE, tel 071-499 0577 / 0578 German Rail Distribution 18 Chertsey Road, Woking, Surrey GU21 5AB Travel Planner: A 38-page guide to services and fares to and within in Germany. Continental Rail Agents Consortium (CRAC) 424 Chester Road, Little Sutton, Cheshire L98 RB, 051-339 6171 A group of retail travel agents throughout the country offering a specialist service for the continental rail traveler. German Tourist Office Nightingale House, 65 Curzon Street, London W 1Y, 7PE. 071-495 3990 USA German Rail/DER Tours, 11933 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025, tel +1(310)479-41140, fax +1(310)479-2239 1994-6 20.2.5. Timetables; Travel Information The Deutsche Bahn changes their timetables twice a year, usually at the end of May and at the end of September. The changes are in general only slight, and the times for most trains are unaffected by this. There are many timetables you can buy or get for free in Germany. Prices will not be a real problem for travelers, but weight may be a concern, unless you are interested in transporting just timetables... Kursbuch Gesamtausgabe 25 DM; 3000 g All trains in Germany, no subways, no busses. Auslandskursbuch 10 DM; 800 g A selection of long-distance trains in Europe outside Germany. Fernfahrplan 7 DM; 800 g All long-distance trains in Germany. Regionalkursbuecher 7 DM; 800 g (each) 12 books with timetables including busses. Regionalfahrplaene 5 DM; 300 g (each) 30 books with all trains and all federal bus. (But no local bus etc!) Staedteverbindungen X DM; 300 g Trains from big towns to other big towns. Staedteverbindungen von ... und nach ... 0 DM; 150 g 160 booklets about trains from the 160 most important stations to 60 even more most important stations ;-) Available only at local railway stations. Streckenfahrplan Strecke ... 0 DM; 10 g Specialized table of all trains on just one line; hundreds of these papers exist. Available only at local railway stations. At some place also available for street cars and/or busses. Oertlicher Fahrplan X DM; X g In all towns you can buy local timetables with all the local bus and subway and local trains and all trains from the main local station. Buy it if you plan on staying any longer than just a few hours in an area. There is an FAQ <http://www.lokomotive.de/fahrplan/> (in German) about local timetables and travel information. You can call the travel information service of the Bahn at 01805 - 99 66 33, a toll free number. Additionally, electronic timetables for MSDOS/Windows are available. There are two versions: Elektronische Staedteverbindungen comes on 3HD floppies, requires 7MB of hard disk space, 80386, 2MB RAM; includes 1000 Stations, 24000 Trains, covers about 90% of all inquiries, DM 29,80 Elektronisches Kursbuch (ISBN 3-932045-31-9) " comes on CD-ROM, requires 80386, 4MB RAM; includes all trains in Germany, and her neighbor countries; other Euopean countries are listed with those trains relevant to travelling to/from Germany. You can opt to search the complete timetables of the Rhein-Main- Verkehrsverbundes (that's a very large local integrated network of trains, busses, subways and other public transportation services) Price of the CD-ROM is DM 30. 1996-12 They can be ordered at Deutsche Bahn AG, Postfach 1157, 53821 Trois- dorf 1994-6 20.2.6. The Poor Man's Version of the Kursbuch The German Kursbuch exists on CD-ROM; but even without it one still gets along quite well, following these simple basic rules: o The service in the West is better than in the East. o You can rely on the backbone of the ICE/EC/IC/IR inner net with trains running at least every other hour, usually every one! (In some highly frequented areas three times an hour.) o Some ICE/EC/IC/IR may also connect to less important cities (outer net). o They always run at the same minute after the hour and they are very punctual. o On more than 90 percent of the railway lines there are more than just a few trains every day. Almost certainly there is a service of at least one train every other hour, usually there's better service. o Missed a train? You may or may not be well-advised to take the very next. On many lines there are different trains stopping not at the same stations. (Typically one train may stop at many stations and an hour later the next train stops at fewer stations and the next train after that one stops again *everywhere*... Because of this mixed service it is good advice to check if using a short-distance train is an option when you missed a long-distance train. Check first! Many short-distance trains stop at rural stations and wait to let a long-distance train pass. In that case it would be better to wait for the faster long-distance train... o Short-distance service is somewhat limited on Saturdays and Sundays and public holidays (no rush hour back-up trains; usual trains run less frequently.) Nevertheless, nearly all long-distance trains usually do run on these days. Check before traveling on less important lines on weekends! 1994-2 20.2.7. Fly and Ride (a Train) Airports with railway stations near or under the terminals: o Duesseldorf: S-trains to Duesseldorf und Duisburg and other towns in the area. o Frankfurt: S-trains to Frankfurt, Mainz and Wiesbaden and other towns in the area. IC/EC Service to many German towns. o Stuttgart: S-trains to Stuttgart and other towns in the area. o Muenchen: S-trains to Muenchen. It is a good advice for travelers to the North to check the bus shuttle via Freising Be ready to have German coins. It is not legal to enter an S-train without a valid ticket. So you might want to use the ticket vending machines. Other airports can be reached by local public transport. Taxis cost a lot in all areas and may also be time consuming in some areas. 1994-2 20.2.8. Trains and Bicycles Transporting your bike on a train costs you 6 DM for distances below 100 km and 12 DM for longer distances. Reservation for your bike is absolutely a good idea in IR and IC trains. These have special carriages for bicycles. Watch for the bike symbol outside. Short- distance trains might have a special bike compartment. If not, put it in the room where the doors are. Some trains have a special carriage at the front, instead of a locomotive (which sits at the back then). These carriages almost invariably have bike accomodation. Sometimes you find special small-freight carriages at the end of trains. Put your bike in these. Enter them through the passenger entry (you can ignore the notice telling you it's forbidden usually) and open the extra- wide doors from the inside. Now bring your bike in. Very easy! In bigger cities local trains bike transport might be forbidden during rush hours, but you can bring your bike even in the underground. In tourist areas it is possible to rent bikes at railway stations or from private. 1999-11 20.3. Country-Wide/Continent-Wide Bus Travel like Greyhound? There is no national or private bus company like greyhound. There are, nevertheless, a few lines run by the European railroads or private companies. Some of the lines you can find in the Kursbuch. On many lines there is only one bus every day or even week. Some airport bus lines have real service. A return ticket Hamburg-Paris costs about DM 150. In towns with many foreign workers there might also be some bus services to the South, but you have to be a local to know about it. 1994-2 20.4. Regional Hiking Service ( Mitfahrzentralen ) Though hitch-hiking is not commonly encouraged, it's still a fairly common way of getting around in the summer time. There is no promise that it's more or less dangerous in Germany than in other parts of the world. You'll have to weigh up the risk and inconvenience yourself. If you're not in a rush, have a sense of adventure, and want or need to save money, it may be an option for you. If safety and comfort are your priorities it's probably much better to use the widespread network of ride sharing agencies (the so-called Mitfahrzentralen) to find a ride -- Organized hitch-hiking so to speak. Based on the idea that single drivers and hikers just need some place where they can meet, these centers charge hikers a small fee for a successful match. Drivers don't get charged, because these centers live on their offers. The service bureaus usually note down the names, addresses, phone numbers and license plate numbers of the involved parties -- adding a lot of safety to the relationship, not just predictability. The general procedure is: o You call them and say what you want o They tell you what they've got, with an option to reserve a ride o You show up, pay the (modest) fee and get the name, phone # and license # of the driver and the meeting time and place, plus a copy of the insurance that is included in the fee. o You show up at the rendezvous and pay the driver your share of the gas costs after he brought you to your destination. In the office they will tell you how much the driver may charge at maximum. All in all, you pay about 1/3 to 1/2 of the train fare. 1994-5 Quite a number of the Mitfahrzentralen are connected by the so-called Citynetz. The general phone number for all member centers of the Citynetz is 19444. Your requests are handled on a computer network ... return/continuing trip requests can automatically be forwarded; you may pay by Bankeinzug(only from German accounts) examples of price totals (including fee; VAT; gas share) o Cologne - Paris DM 46 o Munich - Frankfurt DM 41 o Berlin Duesseldorf DM 51 from a brochure 3/94 There is also an internet address for the Mitfahrzentrale <http://www.uni-stuttgart.de/Mfg/mfg.html> at the university of Stuttgart. 20.5. You Mean I *Can* Get Around on My Bicycle? You may or may not be used to cycling at home - in Germany cycling is definitely worth considering: for your daily commuting, for short- distance errands, for pastime, or for longer vacation tours. Bring along your bicycle, or buy one in Germany. Prices range from under 100 DM on the fleamarket to several thousand DM. Cycling conditions in the cities vary between comfortable (Muenster) and horrible. Ask your German colleagues for advice. Cycling is probably more regulated in Germany than in your country - which has both advantages and disadvantages. It's a good idea to know about German traffic rules regarding cycling and the required equipment of your bicycle. As a minimum, your bike has to have a white light at the front, a red light at the back, yellow reflectors in the wheels, a bell and mudguards. The Allgemeine Deutsche Fahrradclub <http://www.adfc.de/> provides a wealth of information around cycling in Germany. See also: `Trains and Bicycles' and the newsgroup de.rec.fahrrad (see `The Internet') with their very informative FAQ list <http://www.cs.ruu.nl/wais/html/na-dir/de-rec-fahrrad-faq/.html> (a second source. <ftp://speckled.mpifr-bonn.mpg.de/pub/de.rec.fahrrad>) 20.6. Buying a Car for Short Period instead of EuRail? Summary of a thread from Fall 1993. The overall tone of the responses was pessimistic. In particular: o Registration and insurance are difficult to arrange for foreigners without residency o Gas is expensive o Parking can be a hassle. Here are selected parts of the responses: Driving in Germany is not cheap! A tank of gas that would cost you about US$12 ( 20 DM) in the USA would cost you about US$50 there ( 80 DM) in Germany (Assuming a rate of 1.60 DM per US$1.) If you don't buy a car from a dealer you do not pay vat any- way. For that kind of money DM 2000-2500, US$ 1200-1500 don't bother about shipping it to the States. It would be so old that it wouldn't have a catalytic converter. Your Insurance will be astronomical just because you're a foreigner. ... You've also got to pay property taxes on the car. That means you must have an address in Germany where you are angemeldet residency. There also may be some legal hang-ups against buying a car if you're just using it to travel. In addition to these thoughts, the buying process is also quite different. You can't just walk into a car dealer and come out with a car -- like you can in America. There's quite a bit of paper work that needs to be done before you can even test drive the car. You'll have to come back a couple of days later to do that and then afterwards you can negotiate the transaction. Primarily central parts of the cities are closed for cars. Parking can be a hassle. To my knowledge, you have to be resident of the Fed. Rep. of Germany in order to register a car. ... re-selling the car can be quite a hassle. There are times (not particular seasons, though) when the market is not really in favor for sellers. ... Renting a car might be worth considering. It should be no problem to get a car which is still running for this price. Make sure it has some state inspection time left, otherwise it will not be registered. ... You will need insurance, of course. This is based on the hp of the car. For 40 hp it will be about 100 DM per month. You must also pay car tax, this is based on the cc of the engine. For 1 liter is it about DM 200 per year. You get a refund, if you sell the car earlier for the unused time. I personally would not recommend buying a very cheap car, because it will likely break down. I would look for a really cheap car (<1000 DM), which will last for the time you are in Germany. Q: Are there Mercedes diesels from the 70s that are reason- ably priced? A: They are about DM 2000-6000 US$ 1200-4000 ... maybe more if in very good shape. I lived in Germany for over a year and one of the nicer things ... about living there is the fact that you don't need a car. Addendum: In July/94 the insurance market became more liberal (following an EU guide-line.) Whatever the consequences are -- it's very likely more diverse now and less transparent to the customers. 20.6.1. Page comments View/add comments <http://www.watzmann.net/comments/list.php?page_id=24> 21. Cars and Driving in Germany This section discusses some general topics on cars. For questions regarding moving to or from Germany and taking your car along, pleas look at the `Moving' chapter. Additional information can be found on the websites of one of the German car clubs, like the ADAC <http://www.adac.de/>, the VCD <http://www.apc.de/vcd/home.htm>, the AVD <http://www.avd.de/> or the ACE <http://www.ace-online.de/>. 21.1. How much is Gasoline in Germany? Go to Benzinpreis <http://www.benzinpreis.de/> for the latest information on gas prices in Germany. You need it. Gas prices in Germany move almost as fast and in the same direction as stock markets. To give you an idea, in of early 2000 the various kinds of gas cost: Diesel DM 1,45/Liter Ben- zin bleifrei 91 octane unleaded DM 1,83/Liter Super bleifrei 95 octane unleaded DM 1,88/Liter Super plus bleifrei 98 octane unleaded DM 1,92/Liter These are among the highest in Europe, and about 3x of what you might find in the USA. 21.2. What's the typical Mileage of Cars on German Streets? Actually, kilometerage would be more accurate. Consumption is measured in liters per 100 kilometers, which will cause transatlantic Nonmetrics (i.e., US Americans) some headache, since consumption there is measured in miles per gallon. To get a first, rough estimate of miles per gallon, divide 250 by the number of liters per 100 km. For example, a car using 7 l / 100 km gets a little less than 36 miles per gallon. According to this article (in German) <http://www.rheydt- city.de/inhalt/was_gibts_Neues/news/news1800.html> the fleet consumption of all new vehicles sold in Germany in 1998 was 7.7 l/100 km, while in 1988 it had been 8.7 l / 100 km. This means that the average consumption in city traffic is about 10 l / 100 km. The relatively high fuel consumption is mainly due to the popularity of large and heavy vehicles, especially all the nice and fast Mercedes Benz, Audis and BMW. There are very fuel efficient cars on the German market, though. The hottest of them right now (early 2000) is the Volkswagen Lupo, dupped the "three liter car", because it supposedly needs less than three liters / 100 km. An annual kilometerage of 12,000km/year is considered typical (less than the 10,000 mi/year average in the US; possibly because Europe is smaller;-) If you estimate costs for gas at around 1.60 DM per liter times 12,000 km times 6 liters/100km, you end up with some 1150,- DM per year. 21.2.1. Page comments View/add comments <http://www.watzmann.net/comments/list.php?page_id=25> 22. Tourism 22.1. Tourism Hot Line The Deutsche Fremdenverkehrsverband (DFV) has created a network of information hot lines to connect to local touristic bureaus, using always the same telephone number. In most cities you can now get information by calling (possibly the area code and then) 19433.1996-1 22.2. On-Line -- German Cities Info Any major German city has its own webpage, usually maintained by the city administration. These pages often contain links to a lot of resources that you will find interesting if you are going to visit there. The websites are usually located at www.cityname.de where cityname is the name of the city in question in its German spelling. Examples: Duesseldorf <http://www.duesseldorf.de/>, Heidelberg <http://www.heidelberg.de/>, Karlsruhe <http://www.karlsruhe.de/>, Koeln <http://www.koeln.de/>, Mainz <http://www.mainz.de/>, Mannheim <http://www.mannheim.de/>, Muenchen <http://www.muenchen.de/>, etc. Excite <http://www.excite.com/> maintains a list <http://www.excite.com/travel/countries/germany/> with information about most German cities. 22.3. Monuments to Visit For a rather conventional description see Scharf, Helmut: Kleine Kunstgeschichte des Deutschen Denkmals. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft (1984) ISBN 3-534-09548-0. It's a short history of monument-building and -art in Ger- many, covering early middle ages to almost present. o The Voelkerschlachtdenkmal in Leipzig, or Monument to the Battle of Nations, commemorating the victory over Napoleon in 1813 by the Russians and their German allies. o Niederwalddenkmal near Ruedesheim; Emperor Wilhelm I 1871 - 1888 o Kyffhaeuserdenkmal east of the Harz-mountains o Bismarckdenkmal in Hamburg o Denkmal am Deutschen Eck in Koblenz/Rhine o Kaiser-Wilhelm-Monument at the Porta Westfalica, Westphalia; on the slope of the Wiehengebirge, overlooking the river Weser valley. o Hermanns-Denkmal, South of Detmold; built in the last century to commemorate the victory of the germanic chieftain Arminius (aka Hermann) over 3 roman legions in the year 9 A.C. o Walhalla near Regensburg; resembles an ancient greek temple overlooking the river Danube; it contains busts of a number of famous Germans. 22.4. Youth hostels For budget-conscious travellers, Youth Hostels offer some of the cheapest accomodations available. Some of the Youth Hostels in Germany are located in stunningly beautiful parts of town: for example, the Youth Hostel in Nuernberg is in the Burg (castle), dab-smack in the center of town, in a medieval building. The Deutsches Jugendherbergswerk <http://www.djh.de> runs almost all Youth Hostels in Germany. It's mailing addresses can be found at this website <http://www.djh.de/mitgliedschaft/index_spec.html> 1999-02 22.5. Sights to See in the Cities Frankfurt o Paulskirche (assembly of first German parliament) o Art Museum Stuttgart Staatsgalerie (Modern Art) Dresden Zwinger (Art) 22.5.1. Page comments View/add comments <http://www.watzmann.net/comments/list.php?page_id=26>