First time in Europe

Staff member: Tracey // Trip date: Oct 2006

Rome Airport

Rome Termini (Leonardo Express)

This was our first train, after collecting our bags you go down an escalator to the platforms and the train takes you straight to Termini. You can buy tickets once you get down there from the ticket counter (it was closed when we went because it was so early) or from this little magazine stand.

Rome Termini - Florence SMN

Rome Termini is a huge station, it's more like a small shopping centre. For our first journey we actually decided to see if we could change our seat res to an earlier time, so we could get into Florence a bit earlier. There were automatic ticket machines where you could purchase seats and since our ticket was non-refundable we attempted to just buy another ticket from that, but I'm sure we were doing something wrong as it was only bringing up full fare tickets, no passholders. So we went to line up at one of the counters and a young Italian guy with a bad sense of humour changed our tickets to the earlier train, and at no charge which was good. Rome to Florence was an ES train in 1st class, the seats were spacious and pretty comfortable and we had electronic seats so you could move them forward and back and to recline which was great. A lady came around with a cart offering drinks, chips and biscuits.

Florence SMN - Venice Mestre

Florence SMN is a much smaller station. This was another ES train in 1st class, and a guy came around with a cart again and offered drinks and biscuits. We walked down to the dining car and you can purchase other stuff there like toasted sandwiches, hot drinks, chocolates, etc. The conductor came around to check our tickets and we had completely forgotten to write in the first day on our pass. He wasn't too impressed about it and said that normally you would get a fine (EUR100) but he let us off but it was something we wouldn't forget again. There was plenty of room to store our luggage in the racks above our heads.

Venice Mestre - Vienna Sudbahnhof

Our ticket was booked from St Lucia, but we checked in at Mestre station. We were on an EC train in 1st class, which was good as this was a long journey. For dinner we walked down to the dining car which had proper tables set up restaurant style and an actual menu that you ordered from.

Vienna Sudbahnhof - Prague Holesovice

Vienna Sudbahnhof was a pretty big station. We were originally in 2nd class for this train but we tried to change our ticket to 1st class, just because we had gotten used to the high life. This was pretty easy to do, and all we had to pay for was the upgrade on the point to point ticket from Breclav to Prague. There was some really nice scenery on this trip. We were in an actual compartment and we had it to ourselves which was good. The conductors and then guys in actual police uniforms came around and checked our tickets three times on this journey, twice at the start and then again after we had crossed the border. There were luggage racks in our compartment above our heads.

Barcelona Estacion de Franca - Paris Austerlitz (Talgo Night)

Barcelona Franca is a new station, we were told it has just been built to share some of the departures from Barcelona Sants. This was a really beautiful station and it's pretty much in the middle of the main touristy area. We were booked in Gran class. We left our bags in our room and were told that we could go to the dining car for dinner. This dinner was absolutely yum, I was so impressed, and it was served really quickly as well. There was an entr←e, main and dessert and we got a bottle of wine too which was good, and there was also bread rolls and breadsticks. We went back to our room and our beds had been turned down and there was a chocolate on our pillow, and also we each had a little toiletry bag that had a toothbrush, toothpaste, shaver, slippers, moisturizer, etc. The room was pretty good, our beds were comfortable and the bathroom and shower is compact but a decent size. In the morning we went to the dining car again for breakfast and this was pretty good as well, they served scrambled eggs, toast, croissants, etc. The service was excellent on this train.

Paris Nord - London Waterloo (Eurostar)

Once we got to Paris Nord we checked in and had to go through bag security and customs. We had an invite to the Business Lounge which was really good. It's a long big room with lots of armchairs and you can help yourself to hot and cold drinks, biscuits, cakes, fruit and even alcohol. And there are papers and magazines in all different languages. We boarded the train and we were in 1st class. I really enjoyed this trip, it was comfortable and the service was excellent. We got served lunch which was yum, it was like an airline meal with an entr←e, main and dessert, but nicer. We got into Waterloo and it was just so easy and hassle free, I would definitely do this journey by train as opposed to flying.

Hotelink

We used Hotelink from our hotel in London to Heathrow. We were told that we would be picked up between 8.30 - 9.00 and he came right on 9.00. He was running abit late due to traffic. The van was full of people so there was not a lot of room for hand luggage. Overall I was really impressed with all the trains. You get to see some really fantastic scenery. The metro system in Paris I thought was particularly good. Changing lines and figuring out where to go is pretty self explanatory and easy, and the trains come really quick. If we had just missed a train, the next one would come within a few minutes. Also, in a few of the cities we used City Sightseeing passes and they were such good value for money, they drive you to all the main touristy places and you can get off and spend as long as you want in each place. Well worth it.

More staff stories

Go to staff stories page

 

Back To Top