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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
Last modified: 2001-09-02
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
18.4.2 German TV in Europe / ASTRA
18.4.3 North/South America
18.4.4 North America, Caribbean Sea
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
19.1.3 Mail Server
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
20.2.1 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
22.1 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
o ZDF <http://www.zdf.de/>
o Bayerischer Rundfunk <http://www.br-online.de/>
o Radio Hundert,6 (Berlin)
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
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
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:
Oeffentlichkeitsarbeit, 50588 Koeln, Germany, tel +49(221)389-0
Studio Washington P.O.B. 50641 Washington, DC 20091-0641 USA tel
+1(202)393-7427 fax +1(202)393-7434 1995-12
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
email@example.com and they also provide their WWW server.
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/
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
(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:
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-
Suedwestfunk, Postfach 820, 76485 Baden-Baden
Sender Freies Berlin & Radio Bremen
Radio Bremen, Heinrich-Hertz-Str. 13, 28211 Bremen
Sender Freies Berlin, Masurenallee 8-14, 14057 Berlin
RIAS Berlin (100 kW)
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
6030 kHz. Serves Baden-Wuerttemberg (20 kW)
Sueddeutscher Rundfunk, Neckarstr. 230, 70190 Stuttgart
Bayerischer Rundfunk (100 kW)
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
18.4. TV via Satellite
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:
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
o INTELSAT 508 (180' East) - Transponder 14 - for East Asia,
Australia and New Zealand
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
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
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
19.1. Finding PLZ's on the Net
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
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
Arthur.Teschler@uni-giessen.de Subject: _GEO_ 1st line: INFO
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
W-1000 Berlin 33
Many bigger cities in the West had a number following the city name to
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
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
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
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
(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
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 <http://220.127.116.11/>
(English <http://18.104.22.168/h_efa_e.htm>) 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.
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.
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...)
Big freight service
Small freight service
Track network. Sells the right to travel to railroad companies
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
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.
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.
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.
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
CityNightLine; high quality night train, rather expensive.
NZ Nachtzug; high quality night train. Reservations necessary,
special fares, but not necessarily more expensive than other
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
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.
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,
S S-Bahn; an urban train in areas like Hamburg, Berlin, Frankfurt,
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.
RegionalSchnellBahn; a semi-fast train; replaced by the RE.
(no letter marking)
Nahverkehrszug; local train.
20.2.3. Ticket Prices
150 percent of 2nd class price
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:
up to 5 years free, from 6 to 11 years half price.
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.
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
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.
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.
20.2.4. International Addresses for Railway Travelers
Thomas Cook Limited, Ground Floor, 257 Collins Street, Melbourne
VIC 2000, tel (03) 6502442, fax (03) 6507050
German Rail/DER Tours, 904 The East Mail, Etobicoke, ONT. M93
6K2, tel +1(416)695-1209, fax +1(416)695-1210
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
A group of retail travel agents throughout the country
offering a specialist service for the continental rail
German Tourist Office
Nightingale House, 65 Curzon Street, London W 1Y, 7PE.
German Rail/DER Tours, 11933 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA
90025, tel +1(310)479-41140, fax +1(310)479-2239
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...
25 DM; 3000 g All trains in Germany, no subways, no busses.
10 DM; 800 g A selection of long-distance trains in Europe
7 DM; 800 g All long-distance trains in Germany.
7 DM; 800 g (each) 12 books with timetables including busses.
5 DM; 300 g (each) 30 books with all trains and all federal bus.
(But no local bus etc!)
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
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
Additionally, electronic timetables for MSDOS/Windows are available.
There are two versions:
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
Kursbuch (ISBN 3-932045-31-9) " comes on CD-ROM, requires 80386,
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
Price of the CD-ROM is DM 30. 1996-12
They can be ordered at Deutsche Bahn AG, Postfach 1157, 53821 Trois-
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
o They always run at the same minute after the hour and they are very
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
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
In tourist areas it is possible to rent bikes at railway stations or
from private. 1999-11
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
21.2.1. Page comments
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
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>
22.5. Sights to See in the Cities
o Paulskirche (assembly of first German parliament)
o Art Museum
Staatsgalerie (Modern Art)
22.5.1. Page comments