Day 0 - Flying from SFO to Frankfurt

Aug 4, 2023

Checked into our hotel (Frankfurt Sheraton) across the street from the airport; dropped off the bags we were carrying, and headed back to the airport to fetch our bike boxes. It took us 45 mins to cross the street to the hotel with the bike boxes, mainly due to having long queues at the elevators. Some elevators were too small, so we had to do multiple trips, and stack the boxes. We had to go backwards though customs to access one of the elevators; wheel chair access is not like it is in the US. We assembled our bikes in the hotel corridor, this took about 1h15m. When I booked the hotel, I asked about bringing the bikes to the room; they said no problem. They saw we had a reservation 3 weeks out and said we could keep our bike boxes in their storage room until our return! We were able to fit one box inside the other so we didn't take up too much space. Went to the train station, printed our tickets for the following morning, grabbed some quick food, and off to bed!

Quick note about buying train tickets

I booked train tickets though DB, this is the best phone number I found for english speakers: +49 30 311682904. I spent a solid hour on hold until someone answered after being transferred to an English speaker. I even called at 4am (Pacific) when they said the English speaker started work. Their phone service is terrible.

Ask for an "international ticket with bicycle", it can't be bought online, you have to call. You can search online for the train ticket with bicycle option and find the cheapest option, but the ticket still needs to be purchased on the phone. Tell them you need a ticket for Frankfurt to Basel SBB (the last German stop in Basel). Then Basel SBB to Göschenen as a second trip, (with bicycle). They originally told me a ticket from Frankfurt to Göschenen was impossible. Next book Göschenen to Andermatt. If you book Basel to Andermatt as one ticket, the price was outrageous, like 3x the price, so break it up and save about $100

The Swiss don't really do bike reservations on their trains, but it wasn't an issue for us getting bikes on, even with a long queue of bikes on the platform. For the Frankfurt to Basel train ticket, we needed to print the ticket from a DB Kiosk in Germany, they give you an Auftrag (NVS) number with instructions on how to enter it in the kiosk.

The train car for bikes is usually the first car. There are seatbelt straps on the train to prevent your bike from falling over, definitely use them. Our bikes fell over on a crowded train and it caused a bit of chaos.