Our train experience in Europe
We decided to use the trains when we travelled from country to country, we figured it would be a great way to see the countryside and experience something different from flights.
Our first train ride was from London to Paris - which means under the English channel. The train station was similar to an airport with security checks, passport / immigration stamps and scanners - which made me feel a LOT more at ease. Once we boarded I couldn't believe how much room there was ! We had chairs which faced each other like a booth so was fantastic. We were served crossaints, muffins, tea, coffee, juice and some brownies.
Now what I wasn't prepared for is how fast these trains go ! It was like in the aeroplane where your ears pop - but mine were popping non stop and it was the weirdest feeling - especially going under the channel. I was expecting a nice scenic train ride where it was more like a bullet train ! The kids thought it was fantastic although one got a little motion sick, but luckily for once, no vomiting.
Our next ride was Paris to the French Alps - which was just beautiful, although a little eery at times as we passed a lot of little towns that were just blanketed with fog with spooky little houses in the middle of nowhere - It reminded me of something out of a horror movie! This train seemed to go a little slower so coming into the mountains and seeing the snow was incredible. We weren't served food on this one but had a cart offering snacks and meals come around which were great.
Our trip from Modane to Venice was a long day - stops in Milan and Bologna but was beautiful as we passed alot of towns being snowed on ! Again we had a booth and spent the hours playing UNO, reading, drinking the wine on offer and eating. My son was really unwell with a flu so he struggled a bit this day as he didn't like most of the food on offer on the trains and there were limited places to buy when we stopped. We had a man help us load our cases onto the train in Milan which we thought was so helpful - until he demanded a ridiculous amount of money and got angry at us when we didn't pay him that much ! We arrived in Venice very hungry, very tired and ready for bed.
Venice to Rome was where I had my first panic attack haha. It all started when there were lots of people arguing in Italian, refusing to sit down and just looking very unsettled. I managed to ask someone what was happening and they said an empty suitcase had been left behind from the previous trip so they were asking the train driver to take it and check it. He checked it, all seemed ok and he took it out of our carriage which made me feel better - But being only 3 weeks after the terror attacks in Paris I was on edge a little. I was VERY glad to get off that train !
All in all my experience on the trains was brilliant. A much more pleasant way to travel than short flights if you can. We paid for first class seats on them all as there wasn't much of a price difference and all trips were great - some had free food, some had little carts where you buy from or some had a proper little "cafe" . The seats were so comfortable, and we enjoyed our time playing UNO and gazing at the Italian Alps, and french countryside. I highly recommend using the trains, especially with kids as a way to get around each country 🙂