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A Train Wreck Of A Site

Without a doubt, the gold standard of train system web sites is DB Bahn for the German train system. One of the really nice things about it is that it has schedules for not just Germany, but the rest of Europe as well. So when it comes to trains, I always check there first. It is unfortunate, however, that you can’t actually buy tickets on the site for anywhere but Germany. Understandable but unfortunate.

This leaves you at the mercy of the site for the country you are trying to buy tickets for. And if their sites are anything like Renfe, the Spanish rail site, that can be a bit of a nightmare. There is ostensibly an English language version of the site but…

I’ll let this quote, from a very helpful article on buying Renfe Tickets Online from TripAdvisor, say it for me:

The website is a bit surreal. It is like Alice in Wonderland, where nothing seems to be what it really is. Even if you are on the English page, you will find some items in Spanish. Sometimes the website will send you to a completely Spanish page! However if you persevere you may be able to save some money by getting the web discounts.

We aren’t taking as many trains as we normally would on a trip like this because of the flights and the car we are renting for the first week. But of the trains we are taking, one is a night train. So I’ll also point you to this great explanation of the different classes to be found when booking a hotel train, and which are the best choices. It’s from the forums of It’s a bit old, but all the information still seems applicable. It mentions that the sleeping cars are segregated by gender unless you pony up for on of the much more expensive private cars. This seems a bit ridiculous if true.

I’m probably going to enlist the aid of a Spanish-speaking friend when I actually book the tickets just to make doubly sure I don’t screw up anything important.

Sigh. Oh DB Bahn , why can’t they all be like you?

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