Showing posts with label train journey. Show all posts
Showing posts with label train journey. Show all posts

03 February 2009

Highlights: European Train Journey

Seven countries in eleven days was a mission, but also a lot of fun! Owen and I started our trip in Slovakia then travelled to Austria, Czech Republic, Poland, Germany and finished in Denmark before flying back to London.

  • The flexibility of travelling by train
  • Meeting a lot of nice people, especially other travellers
  • Drinking hot chocolate to try and stay warm!
  • Not knowing where to look becuase there were so many interesting things to see
  • Managing to see a lot of places in only a few days
  • Listening to a brass band performing from the open windows of a palace
  • Being overwhelmed by the history of all the places we visited
  • The cold. I really was not prepared for it!
  • An unnecessarily expensive tram ride in Prague
  • Arriving late into strange cities and trying to find accommodation

02 February 2009

Train Journey Part Two

After four full-on days of travel it was a relief to reach Krakow in Poland where we stayed for three nights (especially since I nearly missed the train transfer!). I wasn't sure what to expect from Poland, but really liked the atmosphere of Krakow, found it really easy to get around, and met some friendly people. It was also exciting to see some snow since we don't get much at home!

Auschwitz Concentration Camp is located nearby and this was one of the main reasons we included Krakow in our trip. It was very bleak and cold when we visited Auschwitz which was how it made me feel. Even when hearing stories about the atrocities and seeing where it all took place, I knew I could never understand how terrible it would have been. I was glad that we visited though, it felt like an acknowledgement of what had happened.

We spent the rest of the time in Krakow exploring the streets of the old town, with frequent breaks in cafes to shelter from the snow.

It was another long train ride to reach Berlin but it was well worth it to visit such an interesting place. For an introduction to the city we went on a walking tour which took in a lot of the sights including the Brandenburg Gate, the location of the Nazi book burning, Museum Island, an amazing chocolate shop, and of course the remains of the Berlin Wall (which incidentally was a lot smaller than I was expecting!).

I left feeling like there was just so much more to see. Two days barely even scratched the surface of the city, and I would love to go back and spend at least a couple of weeks in Berlin.

By the time we arrived in Copenhagen I was ready to move on to a warmer climate! We only had one day to explore the city, and because of the time of year a lot of the attractions were closed. This fact coupled with an arctic wind and dwindling funds meant that sight seeing wasn't that appealing, and we ended up going to the airport quite early.

When we arrived we were met with the news that all of the early flights to London had been cancelled due to the snow storm which had brought the city to a standstill. Owen and I were preparing to spend a long night in the airport, but we were among the lucky few travellers booked on a later flight that made it to London with a delay of only a couple of hours!

28 January 2009

Train Journey Part One

It was so exciting to be travelling in Europe again, especially by train! Owen and I left London for a ten day train journey through central Europe, visiting six different countries.

We arrived into the capital of Slovakia late at night, and while wandering around the airport looking confused were lucky enough to meet another traveller who was staying at the same hostel as we were. He had spent some time in Bratislava before and helped us navigate public transport and a long walk through the streets of the city at night.

The next morning was spent exploring the old town, which was much nicer than I was expecting. After a couple of hours we made our way to the train station for our first foray into European rail travel.

It was a very short train ride from Bratislava to Vienna, but by the time we managed to find accommodation (which was out of the city) it was getting quite late and we didn't have time to do anything apart from grab a quick meal. We made up for it by spending the next day sight seeing.

After walking round the grounds of Schonbrunn Palace we headed into the city centre and spent a couple of hours taking in the sights and taking lots of photos! The Zentralfriedhof (central cemetery) is the final resting place for some of the great composers, so I dragged Owen along with me to see the graves of Beethoven and Mozart before we left Austria for our next destination.

From Vienna we made our way to Prague, which was a beautiful city but seemed to be well past its prime. It was still interesting exploring the old town, but I found it so cold we needed to stop often for hot chocolates!