From Amsterdam we took the train to Berlin, which was the first time we used our Eurail pass.

Because I’m over 26, we had to get a first class Eurail pass. (If you’re younger, you can choose between a second or first class pass.) To save money, and because we always planned to travel together, we got a saver pass which just means it’s a single piece of paper with both our names on it (it’s cheaper to do it that way).

Getting the first class pass was a little bit more money than a second class, but we discovered it’s definitely worth it even if you have the choice.

On the morning that we wanted to go to Berlin we got our pass activiated in the station and boarded the train. We hadn’t made (optional) reservations, and just figured we’d sit in any available seats. Unfortunately, thus train didn’t have the reserved seats marked (which apparently they usually are), so a few miles into the trip we got kicked out of our seats by a middle aged German couple with reservations. It was a pain because by this time the train was pretty full and the only empty seats we could find weren’t together.

Laura, however, thought that we might be sitting in second class. We had asked the lady at the ticket counter what the difference was, but she just said to get on anywhere and sit down. I interpreted that to mean thst there was no difference, or that we needed to take any seats we could get.

On the train, however, Laura decided to go find out. She went to the very last car, and then came back and told me she had found a car with a “1” on it. In that car, she said, there were lots of empty, big plush seats in enclosed cabins. She thought that was probably where we should sit.

To me, it sounded too good to be true and I figured it must be something other/better than first class. On the other hand, the guy I was sitting next to was kind of smelly and the couple who had reservations for our original seats were facing me and giving me smug, self-important looks all the time. So I figured Laura might be onto something and we moved to the back if the train.

In our cabin there a Dutch man who seemed to corrobrate Laura’s interpretation of our ticket. We also had a nice chat with him before he got off. Then we fell asleep in the huge chairs.

Eventually, someone came a checked our tickets. They didn’t kick us out, so I guess we really were in the right place. It’s amazing because everything ISA lot better in first class. Our first class pass also means we get to cut to the front of the line at some train stations. So in the end we may have required to spend a little more money, but that money bought us a lot more comfort.


Written by Jim Dalrymple II

Urbanism and travel writer. Also a journalist covering the news.

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