Bhavna's Europe and UK Trip

Staff member: Bhavna // Trip date: Oct 2008


Paris Visite Pass

The Paris Visite pass is an Underground and Bus Metro Ticket for Paris. It is very handy. No need to line up to buy tickets as you start using it as you get there. Most trains and bus routes are numbered so it is very easy to use as you can just follow the arrows for the route number at the station to get to the platform. There are information desks at most train stations from where any information regarding trains can be obtained. All metro is underground and is really fast and runs very frequently. It is very handy to have a Paris Visite pass when going to Paris.

Hop on Hop off City Sightseeing Pass

A very handy pass to have when you go there for a short time as it will take you to all the main attractions sites and they run very frequent as well so can see a lot more in a day. All the buses are double decker and the top is open so you can get a much better view and pictures. All the buses have commentary in lots of different languages. Headphones are provided on the bus as well.

Paris to Milan

Before boarding this train I had to validate the Eurail Pass. I had to go to the station to one of the counters where I gave my passport and pass to the lady at the counter who cross-checked my name with the pass and filled in the passport number and validated it. I filled the pass in with the date before boarding the train. First class carriages were at the front of the platform. I got on the train and found our seats and got our luggage on the luggage rack above the seat. The seats were nice and big and very comfortable. The seats can be slightly reclined and also has a foot rest as well. It had a power point for laptop and mobile charging. You can purchase meals on board which is brought to your seat in first class. Conductor came and checked the ticket and stamps it.

Milan to La Spezia

Milan to La Spezia was a connecting train. We had an hour in between connection. On the platform there are timetables for the day from where you can get the platform numbers for your train. The train was half an hour early so got on the train when it got there and got our luggage on the luggage rack above the seats. The seats were nice and comfortable. There was a restaurant car in middle of the carriage from where meals could be purchased and the food trolley is there as well from where snacks can be purchased. Conductor came and checked tickets a few minutes after the train left.

La Spezia to Pisa - Return Day Trip

It was a regional train so just got on the train with the pass and took an empty seat. No food trolley or restaurant as it was a regional train. All one class only, conductor came and checked the tickets. The seats were ok. As it is a regional train it does stop at loads of stops.

La Spezia to Rome

The train was a few minutes late but the announcement was made advising people that the train will be a few minutes late. The seats were nice and big. They had overhead luggage and a luggage rack in the middle of the carriage as well. There was also a table in between. There was a charging power point for laptops and mobile phones. Food and snacks could be purchased from food trolley. The conductor came and checked our tickets.

Rome to Florence

Nice and comfortable adjustable seats. Luggage can be put at the end of the carriage on luggage racks or overhead. There were tables in between all the seats. It had a food trolley and restaurant car as well in the middle of the train. They have announcements in a couple of different languages including English. The conductor came and checked our passes a few minutes after the train had started. They also had free refreshment drinks and biscuits for 1st class passengers.

Florence to Venice

This was a Eurostar train. The seats were nice and comfortable. It had a cup holder, power point for laptops and mobile phones. They had overhead luggage racks but not suitable for big suitcases. It could only fit small cabin bags. They didn't have any luggage racks at the end of the carriage so people either put their bags on the side near the entrance or in between their seats. This train also had free refreshments as well in first class only. The conductor came and checked our tickets and passes a few minutes after the train left. It was a compulsory reservation train.

Venice to Milan

This was a Cisalpino train so it was a compulsory reservation train. It had nice and comfortable seats. They had free newspapers. It only had overhead luggage racks. There was a food trolley and restaurant car in the middle of the train. The tickets were checked a few minutes after the train started.

Milan to Tirano to St Moritz

This was a regional train so seat reservation was not required. We jumped on the train with our passes and found some empty seats and sat there. It had overhead luggage racks. As it was a regional train it had no food trolley or restaurant car. The whole train was 2nd class. The conductor came and checked our tickets a couple of minutes after the train started. Once in Tirano I had to get the train to St Moritz. To do this you exit the station you arrived at and turn left and go to the Swiss Travel System office and station. I checked with the lady at the counter on the next regional train to St Moritz and was advised it was in half an hour so sat down near the platform. Since it was a regional train I didn't have to get a seat reservation. The train came about 20minutes before departure time. I got on the train and found ourselves seats. They had overhead luggage. There was no food trolley. The conductor came in a few minutes after the train departed and checked tickets. It was a very scenic train. They had big windows which could be pulled down and people could take photos.

Glacier Express Package

We started our glacier express package in St Moritz. We stayed in Hotel Soldnella which was a 3* hotel. It was about 20 - 25 minutes walking distance from the station. You can also take a bus from the station which can get you to the hotel. The hotel was a very nice hotel and the room was spacious and nice. Our balcony had a very beautiful view of the lake. Next morning we went down for breakfast which was all included in the package. They had a very good range of food for breakfast. After breakfast we checked out and went to the St Moritz station where we went to the station counter to validate our Swiss card and found our carriage and got on the Glacier Express train. We had a panorama carriage train. They had a luggage area in the front and end of the carriages and they also had coat hangers for coats. We were in first class and they had nice and comfortable seats. All the seats had a table in between. All tables had a pair of headphones and a book giving all details about the Glacier Express train and all the routing in different languages. Once the train starts the staff come and give you menus for lunch. The conductor comes after a while and checks your ticket. After that one of the staff comes and takes any drink orders. They also have a trolley to purchase any souvenirs. Credit card is accepted (Visa, Euro/MasterCard, Amex) with a minimum of CHF20. They have a very good range of food including vegetarian meals, a bit expensive but very nice. After the drinks order, lunch orders are taken.

It is a very scenic train ride passing through beautiful mountains, lakes and beautiful little towns. Lunch is served from about 12.30. They come and put all cutlery and napkins before lunch is served. You can have lunch served at the table or the restaurant car in the middle of the train. The staffs are really friendly. The overall train was very beautiful. Once we got to Zermatt we stayed at Hotel Sarazena which is about two minutes walk from the station. It was a 3* hotel. It was a very nice hotel opposite the Gronargrat railway station.

Zermatt to Luzern via Visp and Bern

From Zermatt to Visp it is a regional train so seat reservation is not required. They have 1st and 2nd class carriages. They have nice big seats as well. They had overhead luggage racks. There was no food trolley. The conductor came and checked our ticket a few minutes after the train started. They have announcements on the train in a couple of different languages. Once in Visp we looked at the timetable and got to the platform from where the train would take us to Bern. From Visp to Bern to Luzern it was an Intercity train. Reservation is not compulsory. Again it had overhead luggage racks. The seats were nice and big. It was a fairly empty train. Tickets were checked a few minutes after the train started. There was also trolley service on the train.

Luzern to Zurich

This was an intercity double decker train. It was not a compulsory reservation train. There were overhead luggage racks. There was a food trolley from where light snacks and meal can be purchased. The conductor came and checked the tickets a few minutes after the train started. This was a very short train ride, just 1hour.

Zurich to Frankfurt and Frankfurt to Amsterdam

This was an ICE train. Reservation is not compulsory. They had big seats. It also had footrests as well. There was an overhead luggage rack. There was free newspaper given to all in first class carriage if you wanted it. You can order food which is served at the table. They also give a free chocolate to everyone. The tickets are checked by the conductor once the train left Zurich.
Amsterdam to Bruxelles
This was an intercity train. Reservation is not compulsory. The train came 10 minutes before departure. It had nice good seats. There was an overhead luggage rack and at the end of the carriage as well. There was a food trolley. There were power points for laptops and mobile charging as well.

Bruxelles to London - Eurostar

You have to get to the station 45 minutes to an hour before for check-in. Check in procedure is just like an airport. First your ticket is scanned, then you have to go through passport control and then you have to put your luggage through a scanner where your entire luggage is scanned. Then you have to go to London immigration where all non EU have to fill in a UK entry form and go to immigration where a UK visa is granted. After that you have to wait in a waiting room where there is a restaurant and also the Business Class Lounge. Fifteen minutes before train's departure they started boarding the train. All the carriages have luggage racks for big suitcases at the front and end of the carriage. The overhead racks are suitable for backpacks only. There was a restaurant car in the middle of the train from where meals could be purchased for 2nd class. The seats were nice and comfortable with a footrest as well. It was a very fast train ride. Once in London you have to get out of the station. They have immigration people there as well but they only check people whom they have doubts on. From there you can go to the metro station and catch the metro tube to wherever you need to go.

Oyster card

I had a £15 card which I started using straight away on the metro train. It's very useful and works out cheaper then getting a day pass which is roughly £7. It gets you around everywhere in the London Underground. The tube runs very frequent and very fast. You just need to know which line you need to catch and you can just follow the signs for it. There are tube maps in all stations and you can also go to one of the information desks. Most of the underground trains do take you to the main attractions. I would highly recommend getting an Oyster Card before going to the UK.

London to Edinburgh - Return

I used my Britrail pass to do these trains. A reservation is not compulsory. The platform from where the train departs is announced about 15 minutes before train's departure. We got on the train and found seats which had no reservation. We then put our luggage on the overhead luggage racks. There was a table in between which had cups, spoons and sugar. There was a free newspaper and refreshment drink and light snacks free throughout the train ride in first class carriages only. The conductor came and checked our tickets a few minutes after the train departed.

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MAP OF JOURNEY
Bhavna's Europe and UK Trip map

Photos

London to Edinburgh
London to Edinburgh

Zurich to Frankfurt
Zurich to Frankfurt

London Tube
London Tube

Rome to Florence
Rome to Florence

Venice to Milano
Venice to Milano

Milano to Como
Milano to Como

St Moritz from hotel balcony
St Moritz from hotel balcony

Glacier Express train
Glacier Express train

Glacier Express bar area
Glacier Express bar area

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