Eurail travel - a way to extend a holiday to Europe

Written by Gareth Powell


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You can effectively extend a touring holiday of Europe by several days and perhaps save money. To do it you need a Eurail pass and a little forward planning. This is how it works. With a Eurail Pass you can go from city center to city center in Europe in great comfort at a reasonable price. The key to this isrepparttar 143172 phrase 'city center to city center'. Consider Paris. The airport, Charles de Gaulle, is 23 km north-east of Paris. If you go by taxi in either direction it costsrepparttar 143173 national debt and takes 45 minutes. There are regular buses and trains but your journey is never going to be less than 45 minutes. Leaving, you have security to go through andrepparttar 143174 airlines would like you there well before take-off. At least an hour, sometimes two hours. Thus on any flight you find that as much as six hours, never less than four, are spent getting torepparttar 143175 airport, checking in, flying, getting there and collecting your luggage. Then getting torepparttar 143176 center of your destination. By train, in every capital in Europe (I have searched and found no exception) you arrive inrepparttar 143177 center ofrepparttar 143178 city. Yes, you need to be atrepparttar 143179 train station ten minutes beforerepparttar 143180 train leaves -- make it fifteen minutes to be onrepparttar 143181 safe side -- and when you get to your destination it is instant arrival. Your baggage is with you and you are there, bang inrepparttar 143182 center ofrepparttar 143183 city. To test this stay with Paris forrepparttar 143184 moment. At Easter -- one ofrepparttar 143185 busiest times ofrepparttar 143186 year for Paris -- I arrived at Gare de L'Est, one ofrepparttar 143187 main stations of Paris. Inrepparttar 143188 station wasrepparttar 143189 tourist help desk -- every station in Europe has a help desk. There I explained what I wanted -- an inexpensive (as in under 50 Euros a night) room in a hotel near Place Republique with a view overrepparttar 143190 rooftops of Paris. And I got it confirmed in ten minutes and went happily on my way. (In passing, it wasrepparttar 143191 most romantic room I have ever had in a hotel anywhere and this was Paris inrepparttar 143192 spring andrepparttar 143193 chestnuts were in bloom and, alas, I was alone.) On this trip I traveled from Salerno in Sicily right through Italy and then France, on to Spain to Barcelona to wonder atrepparttar 143194 work of Gaudi, back to Greece and then up again to Germany to Mainz. I had a lot of ground to cover and this wasrepparttar 143195 best and least expensive and most pleasurable way. I saved a lot of time and a lot of money. (And, if you are interested in old motorcycles you should know that I spent my birthday touring Sicily on a 350cc Royal Enfield which was an exact replica ofrepparttar 143196 sixties model but made in Madras. I could have hiredrepparttar 143197 500 cc model but thought that going a bit overrepparttar 143198 top.) You will typically only be dealing with relatively short travel times -- Paris to Lyon is two hours, Amsterdam to Cologne three hours, Geneva to Paris three-and-a-half hours and so on -- and these will be pleasurable experiences becauserepparttar 143199 trains are fast, comfortable (especially in first class) and wonderfully quiet. The best example ofrepparttar 143200 modern trains of Europe arerepparttar 143201 TGV trains of France, which are part ofrepparttar 143202 EuroCity network. I am writing this while I travel onrepparttar 143203 TGV express -- TGV stands for Train a Grande Vitesse which translates, roughly, as high speed train -- from Paris to Avignon. The quietness -- we are running on rubber tyres -- is eerie. This is first class, and there is a three seat configuration inrepparttar 143204 carriage -- two and one. I am inrepparttar 143205 single seat, which is adjustable and comfortable. There is a tip-down table, on which rests my computer. We are now nipping throughrepparttar 143206 suburbs of Paris at more than 200 kilometres an hour. We will eventually reach our maximum cruise speed, which is more than 270 kilometres an hour. There is no sway, no rattle, no lurch, no jerk. A gentleperson's conveyance forrepparttar 143207 grand tour of Europe. For trains between big cities,repparttar 143208 best bets arerepparttar 143209 super fast name trains like (ah !repparttar 143210 romance inrepparttar 143211 names) Catalan Tago, Maria Theresa, Voltaire, Leonardo da Vinci, Etoile du Nord. These are very fast and are almost never late. Sometimes you will userepparttar 143212 train only as high-speed, economical and comfortable transport, but at other timesrepparttar 143213 train ride can be a sightseeing trip as well. Bernina Express in Switzerland,repparttar 143214 Bergen Express in Norway,repparttar 143215 Loisirail in France are examples whererepparttar 143216 journey is part ofrepparttar 143217 scenic holiday. Important points to remember: Bear in mind that Europeans very sensibly use a 24-hour clock in matters of this sort. That is: five o'clock inrepparttar 143218 afternoon becomes 1700 hours and half-past nine inrepparttar 143219 evening is 2130. Easy once you getrepparttar 143220 hang of it. As you start your train journeys you need to have your Eurailpass validated, for which you will have to show your passport. Do it before you get on any train atrepparttar 143221 information window of any largish railway station. You will be given back your ticket and a validation slip.

Packing: pack light, pack tight, pack carefully

Written by Gareth Powell


There are three areas of expertise when it comes to packing to travel: frequent travelers, airline cabin staff, butlers and valets. Strangely, all seem to come up withrepparttar same advice: fold it carefully, pad it well, pack it tight. The definitive authority on packing is Stanley Ager, who was butler torepparttar 143171 second and third Lords St Levan. He would pack a suitcase for their lordships for a sea voyage to East Africa. If, on arrival,repparttar 143172 clothes were not instantly ready to wear, he felt he had failed. These are heights to which few of us can aspire, but it is something to aim for. Rules for packing a suitcase for overseas travel Place on a bed everything you simply have to take, pared down torepparttar 143173 bare essentials. Then deduct 50 per cent. Brush clothes with a clothes brush before you pack them. Shirts that have been torepparttar 143174 laundry should not be unpacked from their laundry wrappings. Fold clothes on a bed or on a flat table. Have a pile of tissue paper for padding. It is agreed generally byrepparttar 143175 experts that you simply cannot do a half-way decent job without using tissue paper. Use tissue paper to line any folds that you make and to separate garments. Load a suitcase inrepparttar 143176 following order: Heavy dresses should be laid towardsrepparttar 143177 bottom ofrepparttar 143178 case withrepparttar 143179 front facing upwards. Same with men's suits. Trousers atrepparttar 143180 bottom, withrepparttar 143181 crease towardsrepparttar 143182 handle. Heavy or tweed skirts also go atrepparttar 143183 bottom. Jackets are packed next. It depends onrepparttar 143184 length ofrepparttar 143185 jacket andrepparttar 143186 size ofrepparttar 143187 case. In a very large suitcase you can place them withrepparttar 143188 collar facingrepparttar 143189 handle and thenrepparttar 143190 jacket folded in with one centre crease. If this is not possible, lay it lengthwise acrossrepparttar 143191 case. Make surerepparttar 143192 collar side faces towardsrepparttar 143193 centre ofrepparttar 143194 case, rather than being pressed to one side. Wrap socks around shoes, so thatrepparttar 143195 heels do not damage other goods, before wrapping them in plastic. Fold ties into their own folder of tissue paper. Use socks, gloves, handkerchiefs to fillrepparttar 143196 spaces.

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