Europe Trip

Staff member: Oudavanh // Trip date: Nov 2006

Hotel Link, London Tube and Golden Tours - Jack the Ripper Night Tour

Hotel Link

We arrived into London Heathrow airport mid afternoon. The Hotel Link transfer was a very convenient way to travel when transferring from the airport to the hotel, especially if you have heavy luggage with you. The trip took 45minutes.

After we settled into our hotel we went sightseeing around London before we were to meet up for the Golden Tours Jack the Ripper tour. We used our London travel card for the tube. It is exactly how we use our metro cards here in Melbourne where you just put it through the ticket machine. The underground London rail system was great. The trains came every few minutes and there were plenty of maps around to help you find your way around.

Jack the Ripper Tour

The Jack the Ripper night walk tour was great. Our tour guide Antony was a sweet old man who knew absolutely everything there was to know about anything! He was very knowledgeable and I could tell how passionate he was about his job. During the ride to the drop off point where the walking tour would start, he told us the legendary story of Jack the Ripper. The driver dropped us off and we walked to the sites where Jack the Ripper had mutilated and murdered those women. It gave me a slight tingly feeling as we walked the streets of East London where these
murders took place. The tour says it is not suitable for children under 14yrs old, but I thought a 14yr old may be able to handle hearing the Jack the Ripper story. People who go on this tour will need to wear comfortable walking shoes and warm clothes (if doing this tour in winter). Dinner was included for our tour, and we had dinner at a London pub that over looked the River Thames.

Eurostar from London to Paris and Bateaux Parisien dinner cruise along the Seine River

Eurostar

We caught the tube from Earls Court station to London Waterloo to catch the Eurostar. We had access to the Eurostar lounge which was fantastic! Here you can have refreshments, relax on the lounges, surf the internet or read magazines. You can even charge your mobile phone or iPod here!

Soon it was time for us to check in for our train. We went through customs like at an airport and they check your passport and stamp it with a little train stamp! We were in 1st class and we had brunch and lunch served at our seats. The Eurostar only travels about approximately 20mins under the chunnel. You get to see some scenery as you pass through Kent. Seats are spacious in 1st class and very quiet.

TGV Lyria from Paris to Geneve and local train from Geneve to Lausanne

We made our way to Paris Gare de Lyon station to catch the TGV Lyria from Paris to Geneve. We were in 1st class, and the seats were very spacious. There is a luggage storage area near the door where you get on the train. It doesn't have a lock as it's just a metal shelf. There is a restaurant on board the train where you can purchase snacks. Snacks that you can purchase on board are soft drinks, coffee, chips and sandwiches. This train goes very fast!

We caught the local train from Geneve to Lausanne. We didn't have reserved seating so we sat anywhere. Seats are very roomy in 1st class. This train also had room to store your luggage. The train trip wasn't very long so we arrived into Lausanne in no time.

Golden Pass Panoramic scenic train

This was my favorite train trip of all. We traveled on the local train from Lausanne to Montreux, then Golden pass from Montreux to Zweisimmen. We were booked in the panoramic carriage and had the whole carriage to ourselves! The seating arrangement was like a lounge area and the windows were huge. At the very end of the carriage is the VIP section, with only 8 seats. This section had a sign saying extra $$ needs to be paid to be seated in the VIP section. This had a perfect view of the back of the train where you can see everything. The scenery was just so beautiful on this trip.
We all turned into paparazzi and took heaps of photos when we saw the snow on the mountain tops.

We had a 3minute station change at Zweisimmen which worried some of the agents. The staff on the train assured us it was ok as we only had to walk across the platform to the next train onto Interlaken.
The train from Zweisimmen to Interlaken was pretty spectacular too. It was still much of the same scenery but it still was very pretty to look at. We caught a local train from Interlaken to Luzern. The local Swiss trains were very high standard in 1st class. They were very clean with no graffiti unlike the Connex trains in Melbourne. Even though it was just a local regional train, I was still pretty impressed.

Local train Luzern to Vienna (1 change at Zurich HB)

We caught a local train from Luzern to Zurich HB. This particular train was a double decker and so some of us moved to the top of the train. We were seated in 1st class and the seats were so spacious and comfortable. We were all very impressed with this train even though it was just local train service. We left our luggage downstairs in the luggage department.

We arrived into Zurich HB train station. This was a big station. At all the major train stations, they have train schedules displayed on a board. There are also cafes where you can purchase snacks, ATMs and money exchange stores.

We caught the 0940am train onto Vienna. This was a long train ride - it took most of the day. We arrived into Vienna about 6:30pm. The scenery on this train was also amazing. There was no restaurant on board this train. Instead a food cart is wheeled from carriage to carriage where you can buy snack foods and beverages. Even though this was a very long train journey, I still enjoyed it as you get to see so much of the country side traveling from Switzerland into Austria.

Summary

Overall the Eurail train system was very convenient and great to use. At the major train stations they have the train schedules displayed and there are information booths if you are not sure where to go. Announcements on the trains are made in English and several other European languages. Signs are also posted in English at the major stations.

If you have someone traveling through Switzerland, I would definitely recommend selling them the Golden pass train or any other Swiss scenic train.

 

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