Thursday, February 27, 2014

Planes, Trains & Funiculars

A few years back a co-worker had returned from Europe and was telling me about all of the different cities in which he had the chance to visit. I asked him if he took the train… a logical question I assumed, Europe = cheap & efficient train travel, right? Apparently not always. He went on to explain how the train was (expletive) expensive.

On my recently completed European adventure I had the privilege of taking all sorts of transportation in my short 10 days there. I will tell you that all are not created equal, granted location, company and a slew of other variables do exist. With that said, here are some musings about my experiences:

-As mentioned in a previous blog, if at all possible, fly direct on your trans-Atlantic journey. Create your itinerary around a direct-flight access point (something like Paris, London, Rome, Frankfurt, depending on your origin). It will save worlds of time and hassle. 

-We had a fantastic experience with bus travel between Munich and Prague with DB Bahn. The bus was spacious and barely half-full and the ride was extremely comfortable. Price was more affordable than the train option and also faster! 

-Our travel between Bergamo and Venice with TrenItalia was less than stellar. Our assigned seats were taken and we were forced to wander the train looking for a spot while hauling luggage through tiny corridors.

-Unless your Venice hotel is way out in left field, don't bother with the overpriced Vaporetto (water bus) pass or taking a water taxi. This gem of a city is much better explored on foot. It's not particularly large and it's fun to get lost! 

-When considering travel between two distant locations in Europe, check out regional low-fare airlines like WizzAir or Ryanair, their prices might surprise you. 

-If a city has a funicular (cable car) chances are it's worth checking out. Bergamo was no exception. 

-Subway access at the Prague central train and bus station is extremely confusing and they only accept Czech koruna. If your hotel is near Old Town Square you are better off walking, just watch out for luggage wheels on that cobble! 

-The Munich S-Bahn rail system is a marvel of efficiency. Never has transportation between a city's airport, main train station and downtown been so painless. 

-What's the deal with segways? 

Mike @ Palms & Pints 

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