Sunday, November 19, 2017

50 Things To Do Before I'm 50 - Travel On A Train

I've ridden on a train several times in my life (the Texas State Railroad train tour, New York subways, Universal Studios' Hogwarts Express), however, when I added "travel on a train" to my list of 50 Things To Do Before I'm 50, my goal was to travel from one city/town/state/country to another on a train rather than driving or flying.

I checked this item off my list on our recent trip to Europe. In fact, we traveled by train several times.

First, we took a Netherlands Railway train from Amsterdam to Haarlem, then all the way to Zandvoort - the end of the line. Traveling by train for this day trip was quick and easy and gave us plenty of time to enjoy Haarlem and a walk along the North Sea beach before heading back to Amsterdam!


Next, we took a Thalys train from Amsterdam to Paris - a three-hour non-stop train ride through Belgium. This trip was a little different as we had to haul our luggage onto and off the train ourselves. I was also surprised that no one checked our tickets until halfway through the trip and we were never asked for any type of identification. (I learned later that the Schengen Agreement eliminates internal borders between 26 European countries, so a passport is not needed to travel between those countries.)


We had first class seats, which included a selection of light eats (some good, some...uhm...interesting) near the beginning and again near the end of the trip. It was a comfortable ride and we arrived in Paris right on schedule.


And, finally, three days later, we rode the Eurostar from Paris to London. The UK is not a part of the Schengen Agreement, so our passports were checked this time. We also had to go through security, which was somewhat different than airport security since there's no checked luggage. We had to place all items, including our 50-pound suitcases, on the scanner belt ourselves.


Once again, we had first class seats, which were very comfortable despite the fact that I had unknowingly booked seats riding backwards.


We had plenty of room to enjoy the countryside flying by, as well as the (uhm...interesting) meals that were served shortly after we left the station.


We also had onboard wi-fi, which made it easy to track our progress . . . until we disappeared off the map as we entered the tunnel under the English Channel. (It was like watching someone's movements on the Marauder's Map, then he suddenly disappears as he enters the Room of Requirement.)


The best part of all this travel by train, of course, was being on vacation together, visiting new places, trying new things, enjoying each other's company!


Here's a look at the page in my 50 Things To Do Before I'm 50 album! I'm so glad I had this item on my list, and I'll definitely consider this mode of travel again when it's available.


5 comments:

Karen said...

Train travel in Europe is so much more pleasant than it is here. I spent a summer in Europe with a Eurorail pass the year I graduated from college. It was fast and efficient. I used to travel by train from Rochester to Poughkeepsie when my father was alive. We were rarely on time and often over an hour late! Looks like you had a fabulous trip.

Ruth said...

I love travelling on trains! Be it the London Underground, the UK inter-city or the Eurostar. Once it has departed the station, there's nothing to do except enjoy the ride!

Becky said...

I love travelling by train. In my old job I got to go inter-city to Leeds first class and it was so nice! And of course we always travel on any steam railway we find and some of them are quite long journeys! Glad you were able to cross something else off your list.

Patio Postcards said...

Happy Thanksgiving. Train travel is a great method for getting around in Europe & back home here it's my go to for long journeys away.
All those meals looks so yummy. Cheers to 50 Before 50 getting another entry.

Missus Wookie said...

Another who loves rail travel - we did it in the US as well to the bemusement of most people we told, 'you could have driven it' was the usual response.

Glad it was fun. Princess loved the first class Eurostar (upgraded her v cheap tickets regularly) as she'd get fed and have free wifi, two student essentials.