Riding the Rails

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Champa and I have become fans of Europe’s rail system. We used trains recently to travel from Vienna to Budapest to Bratislava and we found them to be reliable and fun to ride. They were also easy to navigate even though we didn’t speak the local languages.

All of the ticket vendors spoke English. The automated ticket machines were available in English. So were the signs. The schedules were online. Our Visa cards were accepted everywhere. The seats were comfortable. The toilets were clean. There was even free wifi on some of the trains.

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Vienna’s central train terminal, Wien Hauptbahnhof, and the Austrian trains we rode were the most modern. Like some of our own train stations back in the United States, the ones we used in Budapest, Keleti and Nyugati, felt much older, as did the main Hlavná station in Bratislava. However, we felt safe and comfortable in all of them and were impressed by the architecture and design, as with the mural in the Bratislava station shown above and the exterior of Budapest’s Keleti station shown below.

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We’d heard good things about Europe’s trains but were uncertain since we’d never ridden them before. Now we plan to use them often if we visit Europe again after we finish our Peace Corps service in Moldova. We expect many of them to be even nicer than what we saw, especially in western Europe. All aboard.

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5 thoughts on “Riding the Rails”

  1. Hi David and Champa:
    Although I haven’t been consistent, I’ve very much enjoyed your reports from the Peace Corps and Moldova; what you’ve done is terrifically inspiring to the rest of us. Your family must be so proud of you both!

    I hope you continue to explore and enjoy Europe’s trains. Henry and I have happily used them for 40 years and we are especiallly familiar with the Wien Hauptbahnhof since Henry has cousins and an uncle living in Vienna (we visit them about every 2-3 yrs). Except for one minor unfortunate incident in Italy, we have always been glad to be on the train in Europe.

    Keep the posts and photos coming!

    Katie Hicks

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    1. Katie Hicks! What a WONDERFUL surprise to hear from you. Thanks so much for getting in touch — and thanks also for the kind comments and for sharing your experiences with European rail travel. Please give my best to Henry! We’ll hope to see you after we get back.

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  2. Hi David and Champa,I personally think the train is nice for short trips in Europe. But, for longer ones planes are both easier and cheaper. We just got back from Italy. We took a train from Rome to Naples.  Just over an hour!I have ridden on long haul night trains on previous trips, eurail pass, and decided after mostly sleepless nights, that I would disembark to sleep in hotels.Have a great trip around Europe! Where are you planning to go?Dave Fryer

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Dave. So nice to hear from you and thanks for sharing your own experience. We look forward to riding European rails next in northern Italy, after we complete our Peace Corps service in two months. We’ll be traveling with some friends there.

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