Rome Metro Ranking?

The Rome Metro is better than Paris’s Metro in the Giants sampling of the two. The initial post about Paris’s Metro was prior to many hot and sweaty rides with little ventilation, no air conditioning, and rather tight conditions with many other people in standing room only metro cars. The lighted status signs found on the first Paris Metro ride sadly were not on many of them.

The Rome Metro was better than the London Tube in the Giants sampling. It was hot in Rome, but never did the Giants feel Satan’s Breath felt in London. The travel conditions on the metro in Rome were tight, but at least they were cool without the use of a heater.

The last public transit of EPIC Camp Goodman was in Rome. As you can see the Giants could smile without the discomfort easily found on two other transit system in Paris and London.

German systems in Berlin and Hamburg were both used and were the cleanest of all without the negatives found in London and Paris. Likely these cities with their S and U Bahns are better system than Rome’s. So Rome, Italy ranks in the middle of mass transit sampler in June and July of 2018:

Celebrate American Independence at the Berlin Wall

Freedom for the people of Berlin, Germany happened November 9, 1989! Hundreds of years after American Independence was achieved Eastern Germans tore down their wall. On American Independence Day the Giants visited the Berlin Wall.

Freedom of Berlin at work as this man and his cans of spray paint “decorate” the non-commissioned side of the wall.

The Giants liked the surprise arrival and casual nature of The Berlin Wall visit. Of course they knew they would see the iconic wall, just did not expect to see it while walking to dinner on Independence Day 2018.

Honor American Independence by Seeing Confinement

The Giants visited the memorial at the Sachenhausen concentration camp that’s located 45 minutes by train outside of Berlin. The area ticket for mass transit that cover ABC works for the S Bahn and bus to the site.

The Giants booked a private tour through Sachenhausen and the guide met them for the journey to the camp at the station closest to their hotel. What a nice perk to take the trains and bus as a group so the stress of transfers and “being on time” was taken out of the experience.

Samara, the guide, was friendly, properly tolerant of the nervousness shown by Giant children, and informative. Those that were apprehensive about the visit were helped to see the parts that worked well for them. Samara first moved to Germany from the states to finish her dissertation on ________ (insert lots of words not normally used by Giants that include info about history and psychology). She knows her stuff. The other guides at the camp also seemed engaged with their groups.

Unexpected was that the Sachenhausen concentration camp was used right after WWII by the communist leaders of USSR as a prison for political enemies for the next five years. Those enemies mostly were NAZI leaders of the former Germany. After being used as this camp it was turned into a memorial by the GDR (East German government) to highlight how the NAZI’s were bad actors – showing the communist Germans as good, strong, and how the communist that spoke out against the Nazis were mistreated at the camp. The intended hope seems to be to show how the new government of East Germany was good for the people. For this memorial to have existed as a required field trip for local GDR school children is not something visitors expect to hear.

The Giants enjoyed the visit as much as one can enjoy visiting a site of such tragedy and injustice. No pictures included in this post intentionally as few were taken and none seem to show the property in the correct light. Also, no rating given for the camp. The Giants recommend visiting the site and using a guide.

The Giants were able to gain an even greater appreciation for the freedoms of a democratic republic by visiting Sachenhausen concentration camp on Independence Day for the United States.

Can’t Open a Window at 244km Per Hour

Traveling on high speed trains through Europe has its perks. Going 244km per hour does not allow for opening the windows when the train gets hot and muggy. Likely you would not open your car window if you wanted to cool off while driving 151 miles per hour. What does Deutsche Bahn (DB) do if the air condition is out for a couple of train cars? The train provider gives out free boxed water.

Lucky for the Giants they were only momentarily hit by this neglectful heatwave while traveling Berlin, Germany to Basel, Switzerland with DB in July of 2018. The oldest and youngest male Giants walked end to end on the train to help the latter get out ants, wiggles and whatever else from his pants.

A lesson learned just a few days ago by the Giants would be timely for the overheated to know. How could staff or peers tell them without causing a exodus stampede? The lesson is that trains in Europe are like flying on Southwest and American Airlines at the same time with different rules for different passengers. Simple to know, and you will be glad you do when you find yourself in a tin can hot enough to make mayo go bad:

  1. All tickets are bought by class allowing the possessor to sit in any available seat in that class. 1st*, 2nd**, and 3rd. Think Southwest with a catch.
  2. Some tickets include a reserved seat, usually for a premium or included as part of longer passage. Think American with a catch.
  3. Those with reserved seats can sit in their assigned seat or they can refer to rule 1 above and take another available seat in their class. At times this means the passenger will take a seat that was vacated by a reserved seat traveler (always with the risk of that person returning to claim the seat).
  4. The dining car adds options for travelers since those seats are first come first serve to travelers from any class of cars.

Knowing this, why stay in a car without AC? Get up and see that the rest of the train is cooled if you find yourself being given free water.

Pro tip: board the train as soon as it arrives and find vacant non-reserved seats so you and your group can have a table. Of course these seats can be reserved but often it doesn’t work out.

An even bigger find is to get a compartment for your group that is free. This can be thrown off by on reservation or by one fleet foot traveler if you are looking for space for six.

Reservation usually are marked on boards like this:

Since this one was vacant a family of Giants moved in at Berlin to emerge over 7 hours later.

*1st class train travel is in no way parallel to 1st class plane travel. Staff seems the same in 1st and 2nd, some 1st class train cars bring ordered and paid for food to the seats, seats are leather rather than fabric but often the same width and comfort, and the seats are less filled with travelers in 1st.

**2nd class train travel will mean that sitting together as a group larger than two during busy travel times and seasons will be difficult without great luck or reservations.

Not Got Moxy

Moxy by Marriott without the Marriott branding on or in the building.

The best hotel customer service experienced on EPIC Camp Goodman was at the Moxy Berlin Ostbahnhof. The 1st night all three rooms were upgraded to premium rooms by the staff! The second night brought to the Giants by an easyJet cancellation were offered by Moxy at a discount of 10 Euros a room compared to the previous night! These are some easily documented courtesies – the staff went much further in friendliness, concern for Giants stranded, and efforts to accommodate. Moxy staff puts accommodate in accommodations.

Giants rate the Moxy staff on Friendliness to Tourists:

The rooms, premium and regular, are clean, nicely appointed in a modern way, and provide comfortable beds. Good to see that finally new hotels are willing to not put phones in their rooms and adopt the mobile culture of 2018. The rooms minus artwork and preset hotel advertisements on the TVs rated:

Based on the ads running on the TV home screens Moxy is a brand marketed to those that are interested in hooking up. The non-subtle images and clear words promoted the concepts of the hotel – very clear images. By booking through Marriott the Giants did not know that suggestive images including partial nudity would be part of the stay. Would the Giants book Moxy again with kids – no. Did the Giants stay a second night rather than travel across town for the win, lose, or draw lottery once they were forced to stay an extra night – yes. To highlight the culture of the hotel, each room had an alarm button by the bed.

Graphic photos not taken by Giants or posted on this family travel blog.

Total number of Goodmans if you know what you are getting into: