Austria, Hungary, Italy, Slovenia & Switzerland (1) – By Train

Since our European trip relied so much on the train, I post this entry to give you an idea of what it was like.  We travelled over 2000 kms by rail.  A First Class Euro Global Pass allowed us to take as many train rides as we wanted.  Out of the 16 days we spent in Europe, there were only 5 days we did not take the train somewhere.

First class seating doesn’t necessarily mean the same on all trains.  Depending upon the train, you may have seat like a barcalounger in soft leather and electronic button tilt or you could end up in a compartment where the seats are falling apart with broken mechanical tilts (this only happened once on a “Zug” train).  However, we took the good with the bad as an adventure.

I recommend that a person reserve their seats for any travel that is necessary.  We always booked a two seater saloon style (two seats facing each other with a table in between).  This was our favourite.

The train tracks of the Zurich HB ran behind our hotel room.  I was mesmerized by watching these trains coming and going every ten seconds.  This particular shot had 5 trains moving at the same time.

A shorter commuter train with cars which allowed bikes

More commuters with graffiti artwork

Saw the Venice-Simplon-Orient-Express at Venezia S. Lucia (Venice Main Station)

Front end view of four trains from four different countries at Venezia S. Lucia.

A shot of our favourite seating arrangement.  This particular four seater was across from our two seater.  The neat thing about First Class, is you get table service from the restaurant.  Only one time we indulged in this service when we returned to Vienna from Salzburg.  Our arrival into Vienna was late evening and we knew we’d be too tired to find a place to eat.

Some menu items on the OBB Train.

An example of tilt option.  These seats were located in a compartment style car.  Rooms, with sliding glass doors, that had either four or six seats.  If you were lucky, you might get a room all to yourselves as we were in this case.

An older style train called a “Zug”.  This was the worst of all the trains.  We were on our way from Vienna to Ljubljana and didn’t realize that we had to disembark at Jesenice and take a 40 minute bus ride into Ljubljana.  Because there were no PA system on this train, we had no clue where we were.  The attendant remembered us from our tickets and had to come and get us.

This is a local train.  These trains stop at every town outside a major city.  Mostly used by individuals who work in the city and live outside the city.   It may take you two hours to travel 100 kms because of all the stops it makes.

Video displays on most of the trains provide accurate information on the pending stops and times of arrivals.  You really have to be on the ball when disembarking and/or boarding a train.  Make sure you have your stuff and be prepared to get off or on as fast as you can.  They will not hold the train for you.

A shot of our last day of train rides, as we approach Zurich HB.  The great thing about these video displays is that they make sure you know where you are.  Zurich HB means the final destination, RJ160 is the train number, 25 means the car that you are in, 150km/h means the speed you are travelling, 15:27 means the expected time of arrival which obviously shows that we are late.

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