Rail travel in Germany is fairly similar to England but take note that if you use the ticket machines and select all travel but not ICE then you need to find the local train travel desk (near reservieen) who will print out your details (stations changes/times/platforms/train number). The yellow train timetable (fahrplan) displayed is for 'fast' trains only (ICE etc). It is cheaper to book over the Internet but i've yet to try this out myself and know what you do. I'll find out. My slow train to Hamburg had me stopping at some little known villages/small towns. If this happens then go out and look around. I was delighted with seeing Verden (Aller) with its charming cobbled side streets. A real treat before I headed in the city of Hamburg. Travel books write about Hamburg and the ports and they really are a sight to see. It's a very large area and the skyline is quite full with cranes and other contraptions that haul things around. Very big boats and some charming old ones such as the Rickmer Rickmers and East India windjammer of 1896.