Sunday, March 25, 2012

Train travels in Europe ~ Paris ~ Milan ~ Venice

Our travels through Europe were done mainly by train and we were able to see some beautiful scenery.  The windows on the trains are tinted and a bit dirty and scratched but the photos I was able to take through the window are still worth sharing.  I have tried to eliminate some of the reflections that did show up and hopefully these photos will show you the countryside of France on our travels from Paris to Milan then onto Venice.

Misty morning sunrise in France
 We left the Paris Lyon station early one morning and were on our way by the time the sun came up over the misty countryside.  We had a seven hour ride ahead of us to get to Milan where we would make a very fast transfer to continue another 2.5 hours onto Venice so we sat back to enjoy our ride. We had about 920 km (575 mi) total to travel for our trip to Venice on the fast train.
Scenic farmland of France
We travel southeast from Paris to Milan for about 640 km (398 mi) then Venice is about 280 km (175 mi) east of Milan, which is a very busy connection for train travels between France and Italy.  We saw a lot of farming country on this part of the trip. 

Country town in France

We had chosen day trips so we could enjoy the view rather than the overnight train which offers a lower price.  We didn’t choose the Eurail Pass tickets as our travels didn’t work for us but there are several options to choose from when planning train travel.
Quiet river in French countryside
The train made stops along the way and at each one the passengers would come and go so our passports were checked after each stop, but we remained in the comforts of our seats.  No lineups to deal with like there are in the airport and our passports were given only a brief glance with no questions asked. 
Vineyards in rural France
The train did offer a lunch counter but only premade sandwiches and a small choice of those plus a few other snacks. They don’t have a dining car to sit down and enjoy a meal so I would recommend packing a nice picnic lunch for long day trips. 
The Swiss Alps 
 I thought the biggest treat to see on this day of travel were the Swiss Alps.  Our train ride took us past them on this September day so we weren’t seeing snowcaps but the rugged mountains were great to see.
A raised highway follows the train route

We were not sure but this looks like an elevated highway that followed the same route that we were travelling for quite awhile.  
A town nestled at the bottom of the Alps

These trains move very quickly while travelling through the countryside then slow down as they pass through town sites, even if they’re not stopping.  We understand that the fastest speed we were moving at was 200 km per hour (125 mph) but there are some that travel faster.
Farmland prairies near Milan, Italy
We would recommend this travel mode for those that have the luxury of choice. The train stations were located quite central in the big cities we visited rather than the airport which wasn’t as they’re usually several miles outside the main city.  Our total time for travelling this longest day went by quickly and I don’t think it actually took anymore time of our day than it would have had we travelled by plane.  We sure enjoyed our day watching the beauty of the French countryside pass by on our day of travel..


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