I traveled courtesy of WienTourismus. As always, all opinions are my own.
I felt like a total newb when I boarded.
Why isn’t anyone checking my ticket? Is this compartment with three seats mine even though I’m supposed to be alone? Can I move the fold-out, iron board-looking dining tray out of the way so I can stand up without smacking my shins against things?
It became clear rather quickly that compartments are adjusted based on the ticket purchased. The fold-out tray can be moved, but you’re better off disconnecting it entirely rather than leaning it upward against the window as I did. Because when the train comes to a sudden, unexpected stop after leaving the station, it might come crashing down when you have a complimentary mini bottle of Più Vivo Frizzante Bianco in your hand. When you try to stop the crash with your fist (because you’re holding the bottle and that’s what’s closest to the falling tray), it’ll set off a bottle tap reaction, the bubbly will come shooting out all over you and the compartment, and you haven’t even made it 10 minutes out of the station.
I struggled to fall asleep at first, a mixture of my body making sense of sleeping horizontally on a train and the faster trains that would WHOOSH by, startling even an experienced train traveler like myself. You wouldn’t think it’d be an adjustment, and neither did I, but it is. I could feel the train rock and rumble much more when laying down horizontally as opposed to the very many times I’ve dozed off sitting upright on a train. I could feel the train glide over smooth rails and the thunks when we’d run over a junction without changing directions. Then there are all the creeks and moans of the train that you don’t realize are there until you’re trying to sleep.
Part of my restlessness was my own fault. I was simply overjoyed to be doing this. I can freely confess with the safety that words published from afar provide that I would reactively clap my hands together quietly in five restrained quick slaps whenever we got to the next step of evening service, like some English noble in the Victorian age getting a really smashing cup of tea.
“Here’s your leaflet to make your breakfast choices.”
“May I have your ticket please? Very good. We’ll return it to you in the morning after breakfast. Have a nice night.”
Door closes. I have my own room on a train.
“Cinematic Lens Flare”
I awoke to the sound of my alarm like most any other morning, but shot up, remembering, “I’M ON A TRAIN!” The compartment was still pitch black until I slid my window blind up for a view of the hilly, green Austrian landscape rolling by, still a little more than an hour outside of Vienna.
Breakfast came featuring an array of bread, jelly, and yogurt with Müsli.
I dined as the rising sun twinkled over the horizion, giving the scene something of a serene, cinematic lens flare that’s the wet dream of so many cinematographers. My door had been left open at this point with other passengers making their way to the restroom for that refreshing morning, let’s say, release and to brush their teeth. Eventually, the conductor popped in again to take my breakfast tray. He noticed the empty cup of coffee.
“Oh, and a refill for that coffee?”
I never want to fly again.
You can view ÖBB Nightjet routes at nightjet.com/en.
Looking for more Germany? Check out the Germany off the beaten path travel guide, German language tips, and how to ride the German train system.