DBahn offers very good First Class fares at weekends, and a recent trip from Hamburg to Mainz was only EUR29. Recently DB changed the rules to allow free seat reservations in First and so I was able to pick my seat in advance.
DB operates lounges for its First Class passengers at some stations and I managed to pop in to the one at Hamburg for a few minutes before my train. Located on the first floor it is separated in a small First Class section and a large section for their frequent travellers. There is at seat service in the First Section. There is a lift for those with luggage and after a short ticket check I was admitted.
I picked a comfy chair near the window and offered coffee which appeared almost immediately. A few minutes later I needed to leave for my platform – at the other end of the station. Locating the appropriate place on the platform, the snow started as the train arrived.
I quickly found my seat on the ICE train:
The seat I had booked was a single next to the window. The carriage in which I was seated was not full, but during my 5 hour journey the occupancy ebbed and flowed. Generally quiet, the staff came through and checked tickets. Also DB offers an at seat service for refreshments from a menu (German only) in the seat back. The snack car was only about three coaches away so I went for wander about half way in to the journey.
As we sped through the German countryside it became clear that the snow was getting pretty heavy. One of the Mods on Flyertalk that I know tweeted me that heavy snow was forecast. There was free Wi-Fi and so I was able to surf the internet for much of the journey. I had taken the iPad so had some movies to watch. The table folded out but left enough room to get in and out of the seats. There were loos at the end of each carriage.
The trip was going pretty well until we got to Koln when we stopped on the bridge for about 30 minutes before pulling in to the station. Most passengers were going to Frankfurt Airport and so were advised to get out as a more direct service was leaving from the adjacent platform. There are two routes to Frankfurt Airport from here, and my train was on the slower, more scenic route.
Soon after we pulled out of the station, we joined the edge of the Rhine for the rest of my journey to Mainz.
We were about 40 minutes late by the time the train pulled in to Mainz. The DB app shows real time information for its trains:
I had one more stop until I got to the station for the Hyatt Regency Mainz but had forgotten to book a through ticket so had to go upstairs at Mainz and the return to the platform once I had purchased a ticket for the local service.
Despite the delays it was a nice journey with some great views of the German countryside on a snowy day. Well worth doing if you have time and find yourself in Germany.