Although we were only staying in Switzerland for less than 6 full days we purchased the Swiss Travel Pass 8 days. This covered travel to and from the hotel in Zurich from Zurich airport and unlimited travel on most trains and trams within Switzerland during our stay. Some recommended trips are between Luzern and Interlaken in both directions, a trip to the town of Brig especially in winter and a trip down to Lugano via Gotthard Basistunnel. Swiss train travel offeres an extensive network, is very clean and on time.
Arriving back into Sydney late on a long weekend Monday evening we realised our plan to catch a train home involved all stops and the train did not actually go all the way to our closest final station meaning we would have to supplement trains with taxi. Quickly checking expedia and then the hotel site direct we noticed Stamford Plaza had room only available for around $135.00, we have stayed at the Stamford Plaza previously and always found it to be good so we booked a room for the night.
Once again this was a clean and affordable first class train trip on Trentalia Frecciargento 9431 from Venezia S. Lucia to Roma Termini.
The day we took this trip was freezing in Venice and we had a wait at the station due to checking out of the hotel and making our way to the station in good time.
After the earlier really bad trip on SBB to Milan this train was a welcome relief. Booking and paying for this train in advance from Australia was easy and first class was only around 20 euro each!
I made a mistake selecting seats while booking and we were seated back to back but no problem on an Italian train! We were given the ok to move to facing seats and someone else was moved to the other pair. Several other passengers were moved about so they could sit together etc.
This would be without a doubt the absolute worst train trip we have ever experienced and that includes Sydney rail experiences! We have used London metro, Paris metro, Los Angeles trains, Tokyo metro, Kyoto metro and Japan rail, Hong Kong Rail, Italian Rail, Barcelona metro, German trains, Finland, Swedish, Danish and Singapore trains, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane rail and yes this Swiss one is without doubt the very worst by a long margin.
Attempting to book a train like this from Australia will continually divert you to the rail Europe Australian site. Using a UK IP address avoids this and you can access the UK booking site.
Total price was 236 euro for 2 people in first class which they call LYRIAPREMIERE PICCOLO.
Service on board was a meal at your seat which neither of us really ate and a drink with one refill offered.
Booked this train online direct with the Thalys site from Australia easily. Price was 79 euros each for first class and it is first class.
Free wireless on board after registration, a good meal at your seat with choice of drinks etc. The train is fast and comfortable and service from staff exceptional.
While waiting to board the train, after clearing immigration we decided to sit at a table with around 6 stools down either side which had no one sitting at it but there was a bag and something thin flat and square wrapped in cardboard leaning against one end.
We had observed this spot for at least 15 minutes and no one was sitting there but there was a long queue waiting to be served by the lone person behind the counter.
Here once again there were discrepancies with Eurail cost expectations and problems with booking compulsory reservations.
We caught the Paris Metro from La Tour Maubourg across to Gare de Lyon firstly to checkout the trip to the station we planned to leave from and to make reservations for travel using Eurail passes to Amsterdam then on to London from Amsterdam.
We arrived at Gare de Lyon and proceeded to make the compulsory Eurail reservations. We must have had a trainee or something serving us as this took more than an hour.
This was the same type of train as the night train from Milano to Barcelona.
Scheduled to depart Barcelona Franca at 21:05 and arrive at Paris Gare de Lyon at 09:01 this train was close to scheduled arrival.
Didn't bother with the dining car on this one after the last experience from Milano to Barcelona a few days earlier.
This was actually the only Eurail pass train we could get out of Barcelona and the compulsory reservation cost was once again 110 Euro each or 220 Euro in total.