No one ever said traveling with kids was easy, and we have had our fair share of challenging travel days. Our kids have really gotten to be very good travelers, but our trip from Munich to Legoland felt like Chevy Chase trying to get to Wally World.
We left our Munich apartment at 10:15am, and took the bus to the Ostbahnhof (East train station) because it went straight there and we figured it would be less crowded than the central Hauptbahnhof. Joe got our tickets for Günzburg, Germany, home of Legoland Deutschland. Estimated time of arrival: 12:50
Unfortunately, when we got the itinerary for our tickets, the first leg of the trip took us to the Hauptbahnhof. Oh well, no problem. We grabbed some food for breakfast and went over to the S-Bahn (Strassenbahn or street level tram) to the Hauptbahnhof. The train’s departure time came and went, but the train didn’t move. The conductor was making announcements in German that we didn’t fully understand until a friendly passenger told us that there had been a derailment at the Marienplatz, and that the train would be delayed for quite a while. It was recommended that we take the U-Bahn (subway) to the Hauptbahnhof instead.
This was a little frustrating, but we gathered our things and walked quickly through the train station to the U-Bahn platform. After waiting nearly 10 minutes, the train pulled into the station so completely packed with people going to Oktoberfest that there was no way we could fit our family of 5 with luggage. A few other people pushed past us to get on, and the train left the station, leaving us standing on the platform, and taking with it our last chance for catching our train at the Hauptbahnhof.
A nice gentleman suggested that we take the U-Bahn in the opposite direction for a few stops in order to get on the right train before all the other people got on. So we did. And about 25 minutes later we were back at the Ostbahnhof, only this time we were already on the train packed with people going to Oktoberfest. About 5 stops later, we squeezed our way out of the train at the Hauptbahnhof having long since missed our train to Günzburg.
Joe figured out when the next train was, and we settled onto the platform for the 30-minute wait. Amazingly, this train was a more direct route, and even though we had wasted an hour trying to get to the Hauptbahnhof, we would only arrive at Legoland 30 minutes later. Our new estimated time of arrival: 1:20pm. We boarded the train, and the kids got out their books satisfied that we were finally on our way to Legoland. The rest of the train ride was uneventful, even enjoyable.
They announced that the next stop was Günzburg, and we started collecting our things again. The next few minutes are a blur. There was a stuck train door, too many things that didn’t get repacked, kids that were a little slow… Joe was taking off the luggage while I corralled the kids, and as he came back on the train to grab more bags, the doors slammed shut and the train started pulling out of the station. We were banging on the doors, pushing buttons and yelling “Stop!” knowing full well that there wasn’t anything we could do, as the whole car of passengers looked on in horror. Emily finally lost it when she saw her suitcase sitting on the platform as we raced away toward the next station.
Each member of our family handles stressful situations in a different way. There was some yelling, some crying, some whining. It was like we all went through all 5 stages of grief, from anger through acceptance, in about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, a well-meaning passenger and a ticket-taker helped us figure out a plan. We got off the train at the next stop and went over to yet another platform to board a train going back the other way. Remarkably, when we got back to the Günzburg station 40 minutes later, our luggage was sitting on the platform right where it had been left.
Now we just had to get from the train station to Legoland. But, when Joe checked the bus schedule, he discovered that the Legoland bus doesn’t run for several hours in the middle of the day. So, we waited at the taxi area for about 15 minutes before a taxi came and dropped us off at Legoland Deutschland at 3:05pm.
Legoland is just 120 kilometers outside of Munich, but it took us 6 hours to get there. (That’s an average of 12mph). And for the next two days, I had this song stuck in my head: