Heidelberg, Germany 17:30 Thursday afternoon (delayed post)
Here's how good the public transportation system is in Germany. I left the Hilton in Berlin this morning, walked across the street to the U-bahn station, and took the U2 subway to the Zoologischer Garten Bahnhof in Berlin. From there, I caught the ICE 877 train to Mannheim.
Coming into Mannheim, my arriving train was about five minutes late, so I missed my scheduled regional train from there to Heidelberg. No problem. I look at a timetable, and see that there's an S3 train leaving from track 10 in less than 15 minutes. It's going to Heidelberg, with just a few intermediate stops. The regional train would have been non-stop to Heidelberg, but so what.
I get off the S3 at the Heidelberg Hauptbahnhof, and walk seven or eight minutes to the Heidelberg Marriott. Note that at no time did I have to drive, or even hail a taxi. Nothing but trains and my own two feet, and I didn't even have to walk that much. And when I go downtown for dinner tonight, I'll walk one block to the strassenbahn (street car), and walk a short way to where I want to eat.
We take a lot of what I think is unfair criticism from the Europeans, but when they criticize our mass transit system, they know what they're talking about.