Not sure if I already blogged this picture, but the place I can’t stop thinking about on our Europe trip is Vernazza and the Cinque Terre. It really was a beautiful combination of scenery, solitude, great food, and old world charm that is hard to find, especially in the big cities where the frantic pace combines with the dirt and grime to make things interesting and stimulating, but not very relaxing.
I want to throw in a few tips for others travelling in Italy by train:
1. Italy seemed to have a greater number of late trains than other countries, so keep this in mind if you have tight connections. If there are frequent trains to your destination this won’t be a problem, but probably best to allow at least an hour transfer time if at all possible if you have “essential” connections such as for overnight trains.
2. Note that sometimes the “R” on timetables or other papers means “regional” rather than “reservation required”.
3. (NOT SURE ABOUT THIS AT ALL BUT….) Rail pass holders may be able to get on “Reservation Required” trains without a reservation if you are willing to stand up or sit in isles. Still not clear about this but some Canadians were doing this on a long stretch from La Spetzia to Rome after they were unable to get reservations.
4. In my opinion first class was generally not worth the extra fees we paid for those reservations. For example the wonderful X2000 trains in Sweden had a Eurail Supplement of 17 Euros for first class but only 7 euros for second class. This was nice and included free internet, fruit, coffee, and nicer seats, but for a 3.5 hour trip most people would probably be fine in second class and with the family this meant an extra 40 euros I could have better spent elsewhere.
5. Supplement fees will add up. Eurail passes do NOT cover reservation and supplement fees and you’ll run into a lot of those across the continent. Also, your cost for beds on overnight trains is not included with a Eurail pass. Expect about 3-10 Euros per trip reservation fees, and about 35 Euros per person for a “couchette” bed on overnight trains. More on train couchettes and overnight trains later.
Note: A special thanks to Eurail for the passes we used to take 26 trains from Norway to Italy and back on our amazing European Railroad Family Adventure.