Sunday, December 15th, 2019
The Germans have long been interested in the train journey of a single traveler: Greta Thunberg drove through Germany on her way home from the climate summit in Madrid and posted a photo of this trip on Twitter. So banal, so indisputable.
However, it was not entirely clear what exactly the picture was about. It shows how the 16-year-old sits next to a number of pieces of luggage in the aisle of an ICE. The activist wrote that the train was overcrowded, and: She is happy to finally be on her way home.
At Deutsche Bahn, the joy about this tweet was obviously not quite as great. In a first reaction on Twitter, the Thunberg company wished them a safe journey home and promised improvement in terms of "trains, connections and seats".
In another post, however, it said: "It would have been even nicer if you had also reported how friendly and competent you were looked after by our team at your seat in first class."
So had Thunberg lied? No, it really does not look like this: In a press release, Deutsche Bahn made it clear that Thunberg between Kassel and Hamburg in ICE 74 was "looked after in a friendly and competent manner by the DB train team at their first-class seat". "According to our on-board staff, Greta Thunberg's fellow passengers were already sitting there from Frankfurt."
This fits in with what Thunberg himself finally added to the debate on Twitter: she had to sit on the floor in an ICE that she boarded in Basel because of a train cancellation. As a result, she had a seat from Göttingen – on that part of her trip that is also the subject of the train's opinion.
In the video: Thunberg's speech in Madrid
A month-long trip for the "Fridays for Future" initiator ends with the train journey through Europe: Thunberg, who recently named "Time" magazine Person of the Year, had sailed across the Atlantic twice on sailing yachts. Because airplanes emit particularly large amounts of climate-damaging CO2, they generally reject flying.
Thunberg apparently didn't get angry about the reproachful tweet from Deutsche Bahn or the overcrowded ICE in Basel: "Of course that's not a problem, I never said that," she wrote on Twitter. "Overcrowded trains are a good sign, because that means that the demand for train travel is high!"