Today I arrived in Berlin, where I will attend the ITB, which starts tomorrow.
I wrote a post about my decision, to take the train to Berlin some weeks ago and it was a long journey, but it was a pleasant one.
Some remarks about the Deutsche Bahn: the staff is very friendly and they know what they are doing. I especially liked the guy from the board restaurant, who invited the passengers to visit his restaurant at every stop, in a quite funny way.
What came as a surprise to me was, that the Wifi was not for free. Its rather difficult for people who are not customers of the German Telecom to use it.
I was especially impressed by the Frankfurt Skyline, which can be seen from the train rather well.
I have not seen to much of Berlin so far, as I only checked in at my Hotel and visited a sports bar to have some dinner and watch Arsenal vs Milan.
Tomorrow I will visit the first day of the ITB – so stay tuned …
Today I would love to introduce you to a very convenient way to travel Austria – by railway. A lot of the major cities, in Austria are connected that way.
I just recently wrote a guest article at Voyage Articles – Three Cities to visit in Austria. There I wrote a short review about the three major Cities, tourists visit in Austria. The nice thing about Vienna, Salzburg and Innsbruck is, that they are very well connected – not only by car, but also by train. They are all part of the Westbahn-Trasse, which connects Bregenz (Vorarlberg) to Vienna – this route is one of the backbones of the Austrian railway system. This way you can go from Vienna to Salzburg in approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes. Innsbruck – Salzburg are another 2 hours and to go to Vorarlberg you will need another 2 hours. But it is well worth the way, as the railway tracks between Innsbruck and Vorarlberg run over high bridges and through narrow alpine valleys.
A lot of trains are on international routes – there are a lot of trains from Vienna to Zurich (via Feldkirch, Innsbruck, Salzburg); there are trains from Munich to Rome (via Innsbruck) and from Munich to Vienna (via Salzburg) – others run from Bregenz to Budapest (via Innsbruck, Salzburg, Vienna).
There is a second major route – the Südbahn. It takes you from Vienna to Carinthia (via Graz) and connects to Venice.
Visiting Europe by train is a very good alternative, as it is convenient, safe and gives you a lot of opportunities to see rural Europe. I love to travel by train, as it gives me time to read, to meet people or to work (I prefer it to flying – check out this article) There are international train tickets for Tourists who want to use the railway system in different countries – you can find information for international visitors at Eurails Homepage - European Travelers can use the Interrail System.
Image via Wikipedia
Other important links:
ÖBB (Austrian railways) Route planner: click here
Westbahn (private operator from Vienna to Salzburg): click here
In March I will attend the biggest tourism fair worldwide – the ITB Berlin. I am really looking forward to this, as I have never attended this fair before and I never visited Berlin, either. I will use the ITB to meet potential partners for my company (www.happyheartofeurope.com)
Today I was planning my trip to Berlin and after checking flights and connections I also checked the train schedule.
This was my outcome:
Best way to get to Berlin by Plane is via Zurich Airport: It will take me 5 hours 30 minutes to get from my place to Berlin City Center and it will cost me €310 (with 15 minutes estimated from arriving at Berlin Tegel to leaving the Airport)*
To go there by Train it will take me 9 hours and 10 minutes – for €88. This is possible due to a special offer of the Austrian Railway Operator. I am not allowed to change my schedule (but I am not allowed to do this on the plane, too).*
* both options with my house as starting point
I went for the train option – for several reason:
- Costs – €230 are good money, and as I am setting up a company, this is something I have to consider.
- I do like train rides – I have always plenty to do: read a book, have some coffee, work on my net-book or prepare my appointments… if the train is not too crowded, a lot of work can be done. Moreover I will be able to SEE a lot of Germany, just by passing through it – and I am looking forward to that.
- My carbon footprint – train rides are more ecological. I did some very long flights in December (to and from India) and I believe its time to be more aware of my carbon footprint again.
- Social aspects – I somehow tend to be get drawn into interesting conversations, while taking the train – and I can remember only one conversation to a stranger on a plane. This might be connected to my
- Slight feeling of shakiness, whenever I am flying. I know its safe, I know nothing will happen – but still I am getting nervous during when starting, during landings and whenever we hit the slightest turbulences.
As you can see, the time factor was not my decisive for flying. As I am using my train time to do some work, I do not feel I lose that much time, that it weights up all the other upsides of taking the train.
So, what are your thoughts … is time so valuable that you always take the fastest options? Have you suffered too much on trains to consider them (I have friends who tell me just that)? Are you a airplane enthusiast? – or would you have made the same decision?