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Part II: Planning Your Trip to Europe in .NET framework
Part II: Planning Your Trip to Europe
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Europe s Primary Train Routes
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6: Getting Around Europe
Rotterdam Hannover Halle Bonn Frankfurt Leipzig
Trieste e Bologna Bol Florence Floren
Croatia Bosnia & Herzegovina
Part II: Planning Your Trip to Europe
Finding schedule and fare information Contact Rail Europe (% 800-4-EURAIL; wwwraileuropecom) to
receive more information about train travel in Europe, as well as automated schedule information online or by fax I ve never really needed to buy the rail schedule bible, the Thomas Cook European Timetable (available at travel specialty stores or by calling % 800-FORSYTH), through some people would never travel without this 500-page tome Updated monthly (but rumored to go quarterly soon), the timetable contains the daily schedules of all major European train and ferry routes I find looking at Rail Europe s Web site to get an idea of schedules much easier or, even better, go directly to the sources and visit the Web sites of the individual national rail systems in Europe, which always have the latest schedules and prices (occasionally even in English) You can find lots more advice on riding the rails at www europetrainsorg Most train schedules and signs use native names for cities, not the English equivalent For example, Athens is Athinai, Cologne is K ln, Copenhagen is K benhavn, Florence is Firenze, Lisbon is Lisboa, Munich is M nchen, Naples is Napoli, Pamplona is often Iru ea, Prague is Praha, Venice is Venezia, Vienna is Wien, and so on
Some of the speediest high-speed trains require reservations, including Eurostar (the Channel Tunnel train), TGV in France, Pendolino in Italy, and long-distance trains in Spain You must reserve ahead of time, for a fee, any train marked with an R on the schedule usually around $15, but the price can reach beyond $75 if you include a meal You can almost always reserve a seat within a few hours of the train s departure, but booking a few days in advance at the station assures that you have a seat You must also reserve any sleeping couchettes or sleeping berths (see the next section, Taking overnight trains for more information) Aside from those, there s no need to buy or reserve individual train tickets through your travel agent before leaving the United States Doing so only locks you into a schedule that you may want to change after you ve hit the road, and the travel agent will charge you a few extra dollars for his assistance (Remember, though, you do need to buy your rail pass before leaving the United States; see Saving time and money with rail passes, later in this chapter) I make only two exceptions to this rule: The high-speed Artesia train (connecting Paris with major Italian cities) requires a supplement If you have a rail pass, you can receive a substantial discount, but only if you buy the supplement in the United States at the same time that you purchase your rail pass
6: Getting Around Europe
Reserving a seat on the Eurostar (between London and Paris) is always a good idea Tour groups and England s frequent bank holidays (three- or four-day weekends) book the train solid, because many Londoners take short vacations to Paris Traveling without a reserved seat on a regular train is rarely a problem (unless you happen to catch a train toward the beach on a holiday weekend) though many overnight trains now require you to make at least a seat reservations for around 5 ($575), if not a couchette or sleeper (see earlier in this section) Outside each couchette, you find a little plastic window where bits of cardboard are inserted if someone at this stop or at a stop down the line has reserved a seat To save yourself the trouble of getting booted out later in your trip, check to make sure that you re occupying an unreserved seat before you claim the couchette
Taking overnight trains
Go to bed in Paris; wake up in Rome Convenience doesn t get any easier Why waste an entire day watching the countryside pass you by (no matter how pretty it is) when you traveled to see the cities On an overnight train, not only do you get a cheap (if uncomfortable) bed for the night, but you also eliminate wasted travel time To maximize your time and money in Europe, make any trip over six hours an overnight ride Don t drink the water on the trains, not even to rinse your mouth Use this water for hand washing only Trains, especially overnight trains, dehydrate you quickly, so make sure that you bring bottled water to sip throughout the night as well as to rinse your mouth and toothbrush the next morning On an overnight train, you have four sleeping choices: Regular seats: Use this as a last resort, because you won t get much sleep sitting up Fold-out seats: In regular couchettes, you can often pull facing seat bottoms out toward each other, collapsing the seat backs If you collapse all the seat backs on the couchette, you have a little padded romper room in which to nap, but usually no doors lock Your privacy isn t guaranteed, so as soon as you find an unoccupied couchette, pull out all the seats, close all the curtains, turn out the lights, and lie down as though you re asleep even if it s only 5 pm Hopefully, potential roomies will pass by your couchette in search of a more inviting one Flip-down bunks: These are always my first choice Sleeping couchettes can sleep six in minor discomfort on narrow, flip-down, shelflike bunks Doors lock (make sure they re locked before you go to bed) and the conductor watches over your car (and your passport; he holds it overnight for border crossings) For 30 ($35) a