Europe Summer 2016 – Budapest to Garmisch-Partenkirchen

This post is written by Katie about her trip by rail from Budapest to Garmisch-Partenkirchen via Munich.

JT woke at 6:30am and left the AirBnB around 7am. Our host made him an omelet breakfast – which he was initially very excited about – but it was too spicy, oily, and meat-filled to be good. In fact, it actually made him feel sick!

I went back to sleep once JT left, but slept fitfully. At 9:15am, I just decided to get up. Our host also cooked me a rather oily egg scramble, but at least it was not too spicy or meaty (since I had said previously said I did not really like meat or spices). My’s egg scramble was a very oily onion-based concoction. It didn’t make me sick, but wasn’t too appetizing either.

I left the AirBnB at 10:30am for the Budapest-Keleti train station. This AirBnB was about $40/night, which is somewhat expensive for Budapest. It was seemingly outside of the normal tourist area. The facilities were nice – and it was really great to have both a bedroom and a living room (with a desk) just for us (especially considering our rainy work-day yesterday). She also prepared us four meals during our time in Budapest – we only needed to eat one meal outside of the house.

On the downside, our host was rather talkative and did not take social cues regarding when we did not want to hear about something or when we wanted to end a conversation. Although she did give us a good introduction to Budapest and its layout, some of her information was outdated. This was especially true regarding public transit. We made it clear that we planned to use Google Maps for transportation advice, but she insisted that it was ‘not good’ and that we should instead follow her advice. Even after showing her Google Map directions, she insisted on drawing out instructions instead. For the record, Google Maps had very correct and complete information in Budapest. Additionally, she did not seem to understand how public transit tickets worked. All in all, it was a good experience – but it would have been better if she had listened to us more and understood that we could plan our transit (and our visit) on our own.

I walked through the rain to the 20E bus stop instead of standing and waiting in the rain for a bus to take me to another stop (as our host had said to do). The walk was only 9 minutes, and this let me arrive at the station much quicker than other routes. We had bought transit tickets the night before (since we knew ticket machines were not stationed at most stops and our host seemed to say that you could not buy tickets on board – although on further research, it would have been possible just more expensive), so I just used the first half of a transfer ticket. The 20E went one stop before ending right before an underground metro entrance that took me into the train station.

I quickly found myself in the train station. I used one of the ‘domestic ticket machine / e-ticket machine’ to print the train ticket for my RailJet 64 from Budapest-Keleti to Munich (which I had bought online). With this ticket printed, I found the RailJet was already at the platform, although not boarding passengers yet. I went to find a bench to organize my belongings (and take my smaller backpack and snacks out of my larger backpack). Once I finished this, the RailJet was boarding despite it still being about 30 minutes before departure.

Economy seats on RJ 64

I settled into my reserved seat – reservations are supposedly mandatory – seat 82 in wagon 23. All seats around me seemed to be reserved, yet there were groups of people who seemed to not have reservations, as they kept getting moved from seat to seat as those with reservations arrived. One couple, who seemed to have reservations, ended up arguing with people who were in their seats for 30 minutes before seemingly giving up.

The train departed Budapest-Keleti right on time at 11:40am. It was standing room only even at this point. I was pleased to find that there was one power outlet for every two seats. There was WiFi – but it was very intermittent and variable in speed. At points it worked reasonably well, but at other points it was completely unusable. However, at least the RailJet seats are wide and spacious. I’ve been a fan of OEBB RailJet trains since my first ride on one in 2013 from Salzburg to Munich, but this ride was by far the loudest and most chaotic. About 80 minutes into the ride, after picking up more passengers at Gyor, that the aisles became rather full of standing people. This becomes uncomfortable for everyone, especially because it makes it difficult to get up (and risky, as someone might try to steal your seat). When I booked it said seat reservations were required – so how did these people even buy tickets if seats were not available?!

The train cleared out in Vienna. After this stop, the car was still full but at least no one was standing in the aisles anymore. After the Linz stop though, the car was about half full, with most people having a 2-seat pair to themselves. About halfway between Vienna and Salzburg, the scenery became beautiful – rolling fields and small hills.

We stopped for a long time in Salzburg. Two police men boarded the train and walked through each cabin. They looked at each row, but did not ask questions of anyone around me. This was new, but I suppose this might now regularly occur on trains entering Germany?

Hello Munich Hbf!

Not many people boarded in Salzburg, so my car remained about half full. We arrived in Munich three minutes late. I wandered the station shortly and then bought a small salad, pretzel, and beer for dinner from a small shop. I walked to the track and was surprised to see the train sitting there even though it was still about 30 minutes before departure.

I boarded the regional train and ate my dinner before it departed. The scenery was beautiful on the 1.3 hour train ride to Garmisch-Partenkirchen. The train was pretty empty when it arrived in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, and I was surprised that very few people exited at Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

Hostel 2962 Garmisch

The Hostel 2962-Garmisch was very close to the Garmisch-Partenkirchen train station. Since check-in closed at 6pm and I arrived around 9pm, I had arranged for them to leave my key for me. It was waiting as they said it would be.

View from room 11’s porch

I was put in room 11, a five bed mixed dorm. It ended up being me and three guys – and it seemed that only one of the guys spoke any English. But they were nice enough.

There were three power plugs in the room but it wasn’t a problem. Strangely, there were only two large lockers (which were already in use). I shoved my bag under the bottom bunk.

I showered shortly after arriving. I was surprised that I was the last one to get into bed, and that everyone went to sleep early around 10:15pm.

Leave a Reply