Katie goes to Europe

Staff member: Katie // Trip date: Jan 2015


My European adventure began very early on a Monday morning when I boarded a 3:45am flight to Munich via Kuala Lumpur and Dubai.

Upon checking in at the airport, I was surprised to discover my flights had been upgraded to business class. What was to be a dreaded almost 24 hour flight suddenly became much less so as I was able to recline back in a comfy seat and enjoy all the delicious food and drink on offer.

I arrived in Munich at approximately 8 in the evening and cleared immigration very quickly. After collecting my baggage, I made my way to the departure point of the S-Bahn train into the city. Before boarding a service, I got my pass validated which was a very quick and simple process. The staff checked my passport and entered the number onto the pass, stamped it and I was good to go.
I didn't need to wait long for a service into the city and when one arrived, I boarded and sat down in the first available seat as this train does not require reservations. It is like a commuter service that runs to destinations a little further away than the inner suburbs.

After I got into the main station, HBF, it was quite late so I headed straight for my accommodation ready for sleep so I could kick off my first day in Munich with a bang.

The next day, I was free of all jet lag and ready to go. I found my accommodation advertised a day tour to Dachau Concentration Camp which was something I had wanted to do but had not pre-booked. Luckily, being off peak season, there were only few people on the tour already and I was able to secure a spot. We travelled from HBF station to the small town of Dachau approximately 20 mins away by S-Bahn and local bus. As this was a tour with the ticket covering travel costs, I did not use my pass for this.

My day in Dachau will be remembered for a long time to come. I highly recommend this important place to anyone visiting Munich. I visited two days following the theft of the gates to the camp. They have yet to be found.

I had accommodation booked in Vienna that night and for the following two, so on my arrival back to Munich, there wasn't any time left to for more sightseeing, so I purchased a seat reservation from a ticket machine on the concourse and grabbed a meal while I waited for my Rail Jet service.
This train left a couple of minutes late but this had little impact on total travel time. I was one of only a handful of people on board. There were snacks offered and free wifi once the train passed from Germany into Austria. For the 4 hour trip, I relaxed in the leather seats offered in first class and watched the countryside pass me by.

It was rainy and dark when I arrived in Vienna at Westbahnhof station but I was quickly able to navigate the station and find my nearby accommodation.

Over the next three days, I visited Schönbrunn and Hofburg Palaces, Mozart's house, Prater Park where I rode their 117 year old Ferris wheel. I also went to the opera, St Stephen's Cathedral and its crypts, and Zentralfriedhof (Central Cemetary), the resting place of Beethoven, Strauss and Schubert.

On the evening of my 4th day in Vienna, I made my way from Westbahnhof to Miedling station, for an overnight OBB service to Rome. The train arrived at the platform less than 10 minutes before its scheduled departure and everyone piled on in a rush. After locating my sleeper cabin, which I had to myself, the ticket inspector made my bed and provided a gift pouch including snacks, a breakfast menu and slippers.

My sleeper was a T3 couchette which contains 3 bunk beds, however as I was the only one to occupy the room, only one bed was made.

The cabin was quite roomy for just one person, but with two or three people, I imagine it would get a little cramped. Each bed had a light and plug for electronic devices, there was also a wash basin and area to hang a coat. With the beds down, there was room on the floor for luggage.

After a busy final day in Vienna, I was exhausted and was able to sleep much of the way to Rome with the odd exception of a few bumpy spots here and there.

After arriving in Rome early the next morning, I made my way to the front of Termini station, which was hectic and didn't seem to get any better any other time I was there. I found my accommodation not far from the station and was able to leave my bags there as it was too early to check in. From there I went for a walk as the Colosseum was nearby and I had to see it. I then went to La Bocca della Verità, a place I had wanted to see ever since watching Roman Holiday.

Overall, the rail system was seamless and a great way to travel. I thoroughly enjoyed the cities I saw and being able to jump right in and see all they have to offer without the hassle of airports made the whole trip such a breeze. The rail pass just made it all so easy.

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