Train junkies in Eastern Europe


Picture 1984…cold war raging (hmm, not that different from now). Me going on a train to my grandmother’s cabin. 2nd class as Czechs can’t afford 1st class which is for the few foreigners that you see in the country. The train cabins are packed, a bit dirty as people use the curtains to wipe their nose. The bathroom is about as close to atomic bomb as I can imagine… even today. It is bottomless and you can see the fast moving tracks as you sit on it. Even my grandfather who worked for the Railways recommended bathrooms at home –  the one in the rail station with the pee smell everywhere was even more toxic.

So when the kids mentioned train in Europe, I was not jumping up and down with joy. Seriously? This is my week off – a week in North Korea sounds more enjoyable.

But we persisted. I booked us tickets from Prague to Vienna and then to Budapest. Very smooth online, even though half in German. Suspiciously cheap and until the last minute I was nervous I under – purchased because the prices were just hard to believe. The 5 of us in 1st class to Vienna cost $200, to Budapest $75.

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Amazing and the way to go. Gorgeous seating, great food and service, wifi, great view. I mean super comfortable and fast. 4 hours to Vienna and 2 hours to Budapest went by quickly and we all loved it.

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You notice that electronics was popular and Brian was about to jump out of his skin 🙂 That’s how I feel right now – after 10 days of 24/7 with my lovely munchkins. I am so ready to send them to school tomorrow, you have no idea. While they were lovely during the day, the constant interaction was a bit too much for all of us. If I could fly off on vacation by myself tomorrow, please sign me up – even to North Korea since I will be alone, in maybe a quiet place?

Overall – thumbs up for trains in Europe. The website are awesome, trains on time, comfortable, train stations on metro stops so easy to get to the cities…. We opted to do no taxis so took metros to all of our Airbnbs an everywhere… which took the adventure level to a new high since deciphering the tickets, the stops and the walking from metro stops was a bit of a scavenger hunt and getting to know locals – but we loved it !

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