4 European countries in 7 days ~ 11 trains & 2 ferries

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Bob Dylan

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The remainder of the trip to Munich -> Paris -> Moulins will be completed in about 10 days as we must at short notice return to the UK to finalise documentation for our move to France.
So it's Goodbye to the Old Sod!😉
 

JontyMort

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I'm planning an early 2022 Europe trip, since it's looking a little more practical than the US right now, and was looking for a hotel option near the HBF. (I'd love to do the Schweizerhof, but the budget disagrees.)
I did do the Schweitzerhof a few years ago. It was certainly expensive, but I thought it was worth it, and you get this view (the original train shed in vv’s photo runs left to right within the building I have photographed). I wanted to do London to Florence via the original St Gotthard route (the base tunnel opened later that year).CA350CCE-FABF-4FFC-A956-24773467C615.jpeg
CA350CCE-FABF-4FFC-A956-24773467C615.jpeg
 

jiml

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I did do the Schweitzerhof a few years ago. It was certainly expensive, but I thought it was worth it, and you get this view (the original train shed in vv’s photo runs left to right within the building I have photographed). I wanted to do London to Florence via the original St Gotthard route (the base tunnel opened later that year).View attachment 24500
View attachment 24500
Thanks so much! My two options are either the direct day train between Frankfurt and Milan or build in a stopover in Zurich. (We plan to fly into FRA and back from MXP.) It's been years since we've been to Zurich and didn't have nearly enough time there. Other than the S'hof, the hotels close to Zurich Main don't review too well. I have Marriott points to burn, but it's a bit of a walk with luggage in February-March.
 

JontyMort

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Thanks so much! My two options are either the direct day train between Frankfurt and Milan or build in a stopover in Zurich. (We plan to fly into FRA and back from MXP.) It's been years since we've been to Zurich and didn't have nearly enough time there. Other than the S'hof, the hotels close to Zurich Main don't review too well. I have Marriott points to burn, but it's a bit of a walk with luggage in February-March.
Well, at the risk of influencing you one way or the other, the breakfast was sufficiently good for me to photograph it…
 

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v v

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Sixth section ~ Achensee/Jenbach, Austria -> Munich, Germany - Friday 10 September 2021


Jenbach station with a mountain backdrop. Change of plan as Express trains are currently not calling at Jenbach due to trackwork. We arrived early which allowed us to catch a local train up the line to Worgl HBF, Austria where we board the Innsbruck - Munich Express, 8th and 9th train on this trip so far.
n2935a.jpg

Worgl HBF
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Munich Express arriving
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Munich HBF terminus. Lots of walkers were onboard.
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Looking across the platforms saw these three
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Is it possible the US will have trains like these one day?
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Interesting arrivals and departure board
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We booked a hotel close to the station, didn't really expect it to be so Bayern. Interesting hotel as it was comprised of a 3 star front section, and a 4 star rear section. Staff were superb, the desk wouldn't accept a tip for something they did for us and instead put the note in a charity box. Room was more than adequat and only a 2 minute walk from the HBF.
N2951a.jpg




To be continued...
 

v v

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Sixth section continued ~ München, Germany - Friday 10 September 2021

Friday afternoon we planned to visit the river Isar which runs through the city. It lies on the opposite SE side of the city from the HBF and hotel, a tram journey was planned to take us to one of the river bridges.
Something had happened to the tram system that afternoon as there were only a few trams running, the stations were filling to overflowing with waiting people.
We decided to walk across the city, after all we had time. We were so pleased we did as walking in an arc around the old town (we had visited the center on previous visits) we walked through areas where real people lived, and very vibrant it was too, most enjoyable.

Here are a few photos for Deni but they are not very relevant to the journey.


A tram roundabout or traffic circle. Inside this pretty large area was a beautiful park with a natural water feature, very thoughtful
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There were quite a number of these small bier gartens/cafes on the west side of the river. Not busy mid-afternoon as most people were at work.
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Through the whole city there was a friendly and relaxed atmosphere
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Nicely laid out. River, walking path, grassed with shade area, cycle path and behind the camera another walking path through a treee lined avenue.
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The reason for our Munich pilgrimage, the island which has our family name but no other connection is known.
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I thought I had given up being interested in exotic cars, does anyone know how crowd funding works?
s64707a.jpg



To be continued... the following day a high speed return to our cottage in France via Paris
 

v v

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Seventh section ~ Munich, Germany -> Paris, France -> Moulins sue Allier, France... heading home - 11 September 2021


Early start for the short walk round to the Munich HBF, our French Duplex TGV is there waiting for us. We are booked through to Moulins in First Class, never used it before so quite interested in the difference. The tickets for this section were booked through DB, the extra for first class including the 2 1/2 hour French TER express south from Paris was Euros 28, a real bargain.
N2954a.jpg

This is what upper level first class looks like, cozy.
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The largest marshalling yard I have ever seen
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It was here
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The journey from Munich to the French border was at high express train speeds, once into France the speed increased dramatically. Maximum I saw was 326 kph (203 mph) about 1 1/2 hours out from Paris.
I am not a big fan of high speed trains for pure leisure travel purposes, too fast to just stare at something outside that catches your eye. I see them as a better more human alternative to flying if the objective is just to get somehwere in a hurry, but there is an element of excitement too at the acceleration and the speed these trains glide past the fastest traffic on interstate type roads.

All that said this 6 hours from Munich HBF to Paris Est was the most comfortable we have ever travelled by train, maybe a combination of first class and a superb train?

Last on this. The French regional TER express trains are very comfortable in 2nd class, the first class seating on this TER journey was little if at all any better. Also there was not a lot more space either, so we'll stick with 2nd class from now on... unless a 1st class TGV ticket at bargain prices pops up maybe.

Paris Est / Gare de l'Est, our first time here
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It's a beautiful station, busy too
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West side exit for the short walk to Gare du Nord...
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... but first you have to climb this beautifully ornate double flight of stone steps. Do this with 2 good sized bags on a warm day and you'll never forget them.
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You arrive first at the new Gare du Nord
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Attached to the old Gare du Nord
N2970a.jpg



Continued below, out of photo space here...
 
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v v

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Continuation of seventh section ~ Munich, Germany -> Paris, France -> Moulins sue Allier, France... heading home - 11 September 2021


Gare du Nord main entrance
N2968a.jpg

It's a magnificent facade
N2971a.jpg

Inside the main entrance. Stairs on the far left to an upper level for Eurostar to the UK. Passport control, ticket inspection and lounge are on that level. To board a London bound train you have to return to this ground floor via a controlled exit on the other side of the station.
N2966a.jpg


To the right of the above photo are the RER platforms, these are express suburban trains that run through and outside Paris. We travel 2 stops south to Gare de Lyon, then walk through to Gare de Bercy for our south bound TER train.

Back to where we started, this is the original arriving back photo
N2972a.jpg

It was a pretty special week. Met up and spent time with 2 sets of long time friends, travelled through beautiful scenery, had hours on two lake ferries, visited one of our favourite cities, and travelled everywhere by train, fabulous.

Up next is a visit to Ireland to visit various family who have settled there. Then a 'Sail and Rail' journey from Dublin to London for a big family 'event'. Followed by back to France either by camper or Eurostar, yet to be decided.

Next February, Amtrak around much of the USA.

Personal view. Travel during Covid times is a risk, but it has been heavily reduced due to vaccination. Most things in life are a risk, the level is the only difference. Most of our recent journeys which were mainly France-UK-France would have been very difficult without a vaccine passport, the journey above would have been close to impossible as just getting into shops and restaurants would not have been allowed to start with.

We live most of the time in rural isolation and took months on deciding whether to travel, in fact applying to become resident in France meant we had to travel at least 3 times between countries, no options. In hindsight we are pleased we have made the choices we have, we are always fully aware there are situations where we are/would be uncomfortable, but also while taking all sensible precautions possible accept the risk to get some of our old life back.

As said, this is a personal opinion, no politics involved.
 
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Willbridge

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Continuation of seventh section ~ Munich, Germany -> Paris, France -> Moulins sue Allier, France... heading home - 11 September 2021


Gare du Nord main entrance


It's a magnificent facade


Inside the main entrance. Stairs on the far left to an upper level for Eurostar to the UK. Passport control, ticket inspection and lounge are on that level. To board a London bound train you have to return to this ground floor via a controlled exit on the other side of the station.



To the right of the above photo are the RER platforms, these are express suburban trains that run through and outside Paris. We travel 2 stops south to Gare de Lyon, then walk through to Gare de Bercy for our south bound TER train.

Back to where we started, this is the original arriving back photo


It was a pretty special week. Met up and spent time with 2 sets of long time friends, travelled through beautiful scenery, had hours on two lake ferries, visited one of our favourite citiies, and travelled everywhere by train, fabulous.

Up next is a visit to Ireland to visit various family who have settled there. Then a 'Sail and Rail' journey from Dublin to London for a big family 'event'. Followed by back to France either by camper or Eurostar, yet to be decided.

Next February, Amtrak round much of the USA.

Personal view. Travel during Covid times is a risk, but it has been heavily reduced due to vaccination. Most things in life are a risk, the level is the only difference. Most of our recent journeys which were mainly France-UK-France would have been very difficult without a vaccine passport, the journey above would have been close to impossible as just getting into shops and restaurants would not have been allowed to start with.

We live most of the time in rural isolation and took months on deciding whether to travel, in fact applying to become resident in France meant we had to travel at least 3 times between countries, no options. In hindsight we are pleased we have made the choices we have, we are always fully aware there are situations where we are/would be uncomfortable, but also while taking all sensible precautions possible accept the risk to get some of our old life back.

As said, this is a personal opinion, no politics involved.
Thank you for taking us along! Sometimes it's easy to be depressed when well-intended projects go awry but so many rail services that you enjoyed were only a dream when I first went to Paris.

I rode the last steam-powered rush hour and then on Sunday the new electric suburban line took over from 'Nation' to Boissy-St. Leger. That was it, under the name "Metro-Express" - the RER network was only a dream.

ParisTrip1969 037k.jpg

ParisTrip1969 087k.jpg

1969 007.jpg
Metro-Express: It's rolling [idiomatic for "it's all okay" or in railroading "highball"]
Open to the public tomorrow
 

v v

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Thank you for taking us along! Sometimes it's easy to be depressed when well-intended projects go awry but so many rail services that you enjoyed were only a dream when I first went to Paris.

I rode the last steam-powered rush hour and then on Sunday the new electric suburban line took over from 'Nation' to Boissy-St. Leger. That was it, under the name "Metro-Express" - the RER network was only a dream.

View attachment 24856

View attachment 24858

View attachment 24857
Metro-Express: It's rolling [idiomatic for "it's all okay" or in railroading "highball"]
Open to the public tomorrow
The RER will never be the same again, thank you Willbridge
 

oregon pioneer

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Loved your stories and photos, thank you! I know that TGV stands for "train à grande vitesse," but what does TER stand for?

I did that walk between Gare du Nord and Gare de 'Est in 2015, when I went to France with my sister. Here are a few photos (we took an older, slower train about 4 hours ESE of Paris):
france15e.jpg france15f.jpg france15g.jpg

Can't wait to share train adventures with you in February!
 

v v

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Loved your stories and photos, thank you! I know that TGV stands for "train à grande vitesse," but what does TER stand for?

I did that walk between Gare du Nord and Gare de 'Est in 2015, when I went to France with my sister. Here are a few photos (we took an older, slower train about 4 hours ESE of Paris):
View attachment 24901 View attachment 24902 View attachment 24903
Transport Express Regional. I think there are 3 types of TER denoted by the number of digits in the particular service number. 4 digits appear to mean least number of stops, faster trains. A 6 digit service gives many more stops with a different style of train, usually very modern. I think there are a 5 digit services too.
Anyway, train knowledge is not my thing, but I bet there are people on this forum that would know all about this, where is Willbridge when you need him?
You managed to get yourselves infront of the station in the first photo, we haven't seen that as yet.

Can't wait to share train adventures with you in February!
Thought we would get away without anyone knowing we would all be travelling together, now we'll just have to make up agreed stories to describe how wonderful each of us are.

We're looking forward to it too Jennifer, can't wait to hear all about your adventures.
 

Willbridge

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TER Grand Est - Wikipedia as a sample.

TER networks were set up to regionalize the planning, marketing and service for rail and connecting bus lines focused on commuters and suburban travel. They're integrated with the national tariffs and on-line ticket sales unlike many North American commuter rail lines.

Some regions took a while to get going and/or were pretty tacky in their marketing (see photo in Basel) but overall I think they're better than what was reluctantly provided before.

I admit to not knowing their numbering system although I am certain that it is very rational!

P1050535.JPG
 

slasher-fun

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To the right of the above photo are the RER platforms, these are express suburban trains that run through and outside Paris. We travel 2 stops south to Gare de Lyon, then walk through to Gare de Bercy for our south bound TER train.
Any reason not to use the metro? Line 4 from Gare de l'Est to Chatelet, line 14 from Chatelet to Bercy, and voilà.
 
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slasher-fun

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Transport Express Regional.
Used to be Train Express Régional, but since the Régions took over regional transport, regional bus lines are also included, therefore Transport instead of Train now.
I think there are 3 types of TER denoted by the number of digits in the particular service number. 4 digits appear to mean least number of stops, faster trains. A 6 digit service gives many more stops with a different style of train, usually very modern. I think there are a 5 digit services too.
4 digits are former Intercités lines, that have been transferred from national to regional in mid 2010s
5 and 6 digits are the same, sometimes a "8" is added before the other 5 digits.
Some régions use the Krono+ / Krono / Citi / Proxi to differentiate the different patterns of service, but that's far from common.
 

jiml

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Up next is a visit to Ireland to visit various family who have settled there. Then a 'Sail and Rail' journey from Dublin to London
Look forward to your report on this. We've penciled-in Ireland as our destination for next vacation, with extensive train travel involved. The "Sail and Rail" via Holyhead has been on my bucket list ever since seeing Mark Smith's (Seat61) report on it some years ago.
 

v v

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TER Grand Est - Wikipedia as a sample.

TER networks were set up to regionalize the planning, marketing and service for rail and connecting bus lines focused on commuters and suburban travel. They're integrated with the national tariffs and on-line ticket sales unlike many North American commuter rail lines.

Some regions took a while to get going and/or were pretty tacky in their marketing (see photo in Basel) but overall I think they're better than what was reluctantly provided before.

I admit to not knowing their numbering system although I am certain that it is very rational!

View attachment 24907
Constantly amazed at your breadth of knowledge of transport, in so many countries too, thanks for that background.
 

v v

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Any reason not to use the metro? Line 4 from Gare de l'Est to Chatelet, line 14 from Chatelet to Bercy, and voilà.
The Paris metro is a favourite and feels exotic after having grown up with the London tube system. Used to ride the tube with my brother at weekends and school holidays as children, we'd have passes that gave us the freedom of London.

That said during Covid times we are trying to spend as little time as possible underground, therefore using the faster RER. Plus we have just sat for 6 hours and the short walk round to Nord for a little excercise felt like a good idea. Also walking from Lyon to Bercy was built in for excercise.

I think in better times we would use your route, it is beauitifully simple and didn't occurr to me, thanks.

Another factor is our most used route is Eurostar London to Paris Gare du Nord where the RER is located anyway so a simple change in the same station. We gave up using the metro from Lyon to Bercy as soon as Covid appeared.
 

v v

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Used to be Train Express Régional, but since the Régions took over regional transport, regional bus lines are also included, therefore Transport instead of Train now.

4 digits are former Intercités lines, that have been transferred from national to regional in mid 2010s
5 and 6 digits are the same, sometimes a "8" is added before the other 5 digits.
Some régions use the Krono+ / Krono / Citi / Proxi to differentiate the different patterns of service, but that's far from common.
Thanks for that, you have a great deal of detail on French rail, do you work in that area?
 

v v

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Look forward to your report on this. We've penciled-in Ireland as our destination for next vacation, with extensive train travel involved. The "Sail and Rail" via Holyhead has been on my bucket list ever since seeing Mark Smith's (Seat61) report on it some years ago.
I'll certainly try to document the Sail and Rail for you but leaving all the arrangements to cousin Bernie. We may travel from Longford to Dublin by train or car, then Dublin to Holyhead ferry. He has mentioned there is a direct train I think to Euston station in London but the majority of these journeys require a change somewhere, I'll write it up in Travelogues when we know.

Just a thought for you and your vacation, take a look at Thurles, medium sized Irish town that Rosie and I fell in love with. Nothing special there except a national stadium for Gaelic football and hurling, but to us it has all that is good about non tourist Ireland... except climate (rain).
 

jiml

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I'll certainly try to document the Sail and Rail for you but leaving all the arrangements to cousin Bernie. We may travel from Longford to Dublin by train or car, then Dublin to Holyhead ferry. He has mentioned there is a direct train I think to Euston station in London but the majority of these journeys require a change somewhere, I'll write it up in Travelogues when we know.

Just a thought for you and your vacation, take a look at Thurles, medium sized Irish town that Rosie and I fell in love with. Nothing special there except a national stadium for Gaelic football and hurling, but to us it has all that is good about non tourist Ireland... except climate (rain).
Thanks! I was just telling another friend on AU that we've narrowed down to Ireland or Germany as the ideal spots for fully-vaccinated Canadians to travel in the reasonable future without extra tests or quarantine. It will come down to final cost and right now Ireland is winning.
 

v v

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It depends what you want from your vacation as to which to head for, both countries have lots to offer. That both are in the EU that means the paperwork is minimised as are border crossing formailities.

As you are into trains you could overnight ferry from Rosslare to Cherbourg, train to Paris, and from Paris train into anywhere in Germany you want to go. That would allow you to have it all and ride very varied train types.
 

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"The Paris metro is a favourite and feels exotic after having grown up with the London tube system. Used to ride the tube with my brother at weekends and school holidays as children, we'd have passes that gave us the freedom of London. "

I well remember the "Red Rover" go anywhere London Bus passes, but I can't remember what the Tube pass "Rover" was called?
I agree that the Paris metro is often more interesting, with more upmarket buskers, etc...
 

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"The Paris metro is a favourite and feels exotic after having grown up with the London tube system. Used to ride the tube with my brother at weekends and school holidays as children, we'd have passes that gave us the freedom of London. "

I well remember the "Red Rover" go anywhere London Bus passes, but I can't remember what the Tube pass "Rover" was called?
I agree that the Paris metro is often more interesting, with more upmarket buskers, etc...
Yes, the Paris metro is where I heard quite a lot of classical music live for the first time.

Can't remember one either Ed, maybe just bought one or two stop tickets and just kept riding until we got bored. Do know we saw a lot of the London underground as kids, pretty exciting to have that freedom at 8 or 9 years old.

Where did you live in the London area, somewhere posh?
 
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