SPECIAL REPORT March 26-27, 2011
Europe by rail
Scenic and seamless
Train v plane
On the Paris to Amsterdam route
Journeys from a bygone era
Top tips for a smooth trip
The Sydney Morning Herald SPECIAL REPORT March 26-27, 2011 EUROPE BY RAIL 3
On the IRELAND
BELGIUM Aachen Cologne
High-speed rail has made Reims Strasbourg Karlsruhe Munich SLOVAKIA
Rennes Mulhouse Freiburg Vienna
Europe more accessible, Dijon Salzburg
Tours Basel Zurich Innsbruck
writes Megan Johnston. Nantes Bern AUSTRIA HUNGARY
Geneva SWITZERLAND SLOVENIA
High speed rail lines
ew forms of travel hold as much FRANCE Lyon Brescia Trieste CROATIA
romantic appeal as the railway. With Proposed Milan Venice
panoramic views, plush cabins and spa- high speed rail lines Valence Turin Bologna
cious seating, the pleasure of the journey BOSNIA AND SERBIA
is as much a part of the trip as the destination. Montpellier Avignon Florence
Faster trains and cheaper tickets are now also
Toulouse Marseille ITALY
making rail travel a reality for more Australians Vitoria Perpignan MONTENEGRO
“It’s now very easy to travel across most areas Valladolid Huesca Figueres Rome
of Europe,” the Australasian manager of Rail Barcelona
Europe, Richard Leonard, says. Naples Bari ALBANIA
“The rail service is sophisticated, reliable and Madrid Salerno
not so weather dependent. It’s also very safe and Sardinia Lecce
quick – and it’s very, very comfortable.” Valencia Lamezia
The growing expanse of the network and the SPAIN
extensive use of high-speed trains, which travel at Lisbon Calabria
more than 300km/h along key corridors, now Cordoba Alicante
make rail a viable alternative to air travel, Sicily
Leonard says. Seville
Rail also takes travellers directly to and from Malaga
city centres – and avoids the time and hassle of
airport security. ney but that journey now costs about $10. And the introduction of the euro currency and open- travellers and family groups are all catered for.
“[Usually] there’s no check in – you simply turn because Australians tend to book much earlier border travel, getting around Europe by train is “[There’s] everything from wide, comfortable
up and get on the train,” he says. than European travellers, they can also take easier than ever. seats to large, panoramic windows ... and power
The price of British point-to-point tickets in advantage of some of the best promotional fares “Trains will get people to where they want to sockets and Wi-Fi on some trains,’’ Leonard says.
particular has dropped dramatically for Australi- and discounts. go – country to country, region to region, city to As a popular mode of travel for many Euro-
ans who buy their tickets before leaving for Euro- The growth of e-ticketing and integrated ticket- city,” Leonard says. peans, rail is also a great way to mix with locals.
pe. Two years ago, passengers from London to ing is taking the hassle out of buying passes for Faster trains and denser networks are not the “Europeans love to talk, they want to engage
Oxford might have paid about $90 for their jour- longer or complicated journeys. Combined with only improvements. Up-market tourists, business and find out where you are from,” Leonard says.
A Herald Special Report ■ Editor Bellinda Kontominas ■ Advertising Jessica Jenkins, 9282 2307; JJenkins@fairfaxmedia.com.au
Readerlink 9282 1569 ■ Cover Switzerland’s Glacier Express
WIN A EUROPEAN TRIP FOR TWO
WORTH MORE THAN $15,000!
Europe is shrinking The Prize Includes: To Enter:
thanks to high-speed rail.
· Return economy airfares for 2 people ex Tell us which 3 countries you would most like to
Sydney with choice of ﬂying into or out of experience by high-speed train and why?
5 French destinations.
· Eurail Select Pass 1st class for 2 people 15 days europeisshrinking enter your details and you
travel in 2 months covering up to 5 countries. and a friend could zip off to Europe very soon!
· Swiss Rail Pass 1st class for 2 people with
Win this fantastic prize and
unlimited travel on train, bus and boat for 1 month.
experience Europe shrinking thanks
· 5 nights’ accommodation for 2 people in Accor to high-speed rail.
TGV travelling at 300 km/h Hotels throughout Europe including breakfast.
· 7 nights’ holiday package for 2 people in
Enjoy distinctly French styled service from Australia Switzerland. A 3* hotel of your choice in the
into 5 French destinations with Air Austral, ‘the Jungfrau region, on a half-board basis.
French Airline of the Indian Ocean’. Explore
Europe from cities to regions to countries on Rail
Europe’s high-speed rail network. Experience
European hospitality thanks to Accor Hotels and ENTER HERE
a Swiss holiday experience in the Jungfrau region www.smh.com.au/competitions/
courtesy of Switzerland Tourism. europeisshrinking
Air Austral’s Premium Economy Cabin
4 EUROPE BY RAIL March 26-27, 2011 SPECIAL REPORT smh.com.au
for the senses
A walking tour of Burgundy’s villages reveals culinary and
cultural delights, writes Louise Southerden.
t’s 10.28am, Gare de Lyon, walk through forests of black
Paris. Our high-speed TGV pines and oak trees (used to make
is on time, of course. In wine barrels). Now and then we
comfortable first-class seats, emerge at storybook villages with
we watch the countryside scroll ivy-covered walls, roses leaning
past our large windows like a over picket fences and melodic
French movie: villages, clock names such as Morey-St-Denis
towers, green hills. The trip is and Chambolle-Musigny. One
about as long as a movie, too; an reminds me of the movie
hour and a half after leaving Paris, Chocolat, which, we discover
we’re in Dijon, the largest city in later, was indeed shot in Bur-
Burgundy, just in time for lunch. gundy, in Flavigny-sur-Ozerain.
What better way to begin a We stop for wine tasting at ’’Golden slope’’ ... vineyards of the Cote d’Or; (left) Burgundy pinot noir. Photos: Getty Images, Louise Southerden
tour of Burgundy than by sam- Chateau de Clos de Vougeot, built
pling local specialties such as by Cistercian monks in the 16th
oeufs en meurette (eggs in red-
wine sauce) with a glass of kir, an
century at the edge of the largest
grand cru (highest-quality wine)
aperitif of local creme de cassis (blackcurrant vineyard in the Cote de Nuit. The charming som- Getting there Thai Airways has a fare to Getting around UTracks has guided and
liqueur) and white wine? By mid-afternoon we’re melier, Claire Naigeon, explains that Clos de Paris for about $2170, flying to Bangkok self-guided itineraries throughout France,
ready to stretch our legs on a walking tour of Vougeot’s wines are all organic, like most Burgun- (9hr), then Paris (13hr). This is low-season including a seven-day Burgundy Vineyard
Dijon, which is a petit Paris. There’s a little dian wines, and made by hand – or foot. ‘‘We return from Melbourne and Sydney Walk between April and October. It costs
Champs-Elysees shopping street, a mini Arc de crush grapes with our feet, as we did 200 [to] including tax and allows you to return from from $1850, including accommodation
Triomphe, even a bike rental scheme called 300 years ago,’’ she says. another European city. A point-to-point en route, most meals, welcome briefing and
Velodi, after the original Parisian version, Velib. Such is the food culture of Burgundy that even Paris-Dijon ticket costs $27 second class, transfer, maps and itineraries, wine-tasting
Dijon is one of the best-preserved cities in in the village of Vougeot, a short stroll from the $48 first class and $134 for flexible first tips and recommended restaurants, picnic
France. We walk down cobbled streets, step chateau, our lunch includes Burgundian truffles, class. We travelled on Rail Europe’s France spots and cellar doors. Your luggage is
inside churches that have wooden chairs instead snails, Charolais beef and, for dessert, ile flottante Rail Pass, which was valid for four days transferred between hotels, so all you carry
of pews and look up at mediaeval turrets and gar- – a ‘‘floating island’’ of meringue, almonds and within one month and cost $289 second is a day pack. See utracks.com.
goyles, stopping for treats along the way: caramel vanilla-bean custard. class or $356 first class, plus a $10 booking More information See bourgogne
eclairs, gingerbread owls (a symbol of Dijon) and Our day walk ends in Beaune, the unofficial fee. See raileurope.com.au. -tourisme.com.
sweetly boxed chocolates at Fabrice Gillotte, one capital of the Cote d’Or, where we visit the Hos-
of France’s top chocolatiers. pices du Beaune, a hospital for the poor, built in
The next morning, we drive 20 minutes south the 15th century. Today its Hotel Dieu (church) sweet delights such as cassis jams, creme de cassis Our last stop is the Fallot moutarderie (mus-
of Dijon to Gevrey-Chambertin to walk in the looks much as it did then, sans patients: there are liqueur, cassis concentrate (poured over white tard factory) in Beaune. We taste mustard seeds,
Burgundian countryside. There are more than 30 beds, each enclosed by red velvet curtains but cheese or added to water like Ribena) and even see centuries-old granite millstones and learn
100,000 kilometres of marked walking trails in open to the vaulted ceiling, all the better to pray cassis-flavoured ketchup, mustard and vodka. what makes Dijon mustard special: verjus.
France and because they all use the same ‘‘sign- for a speedy recovery. Because this is Burgundy, It’s still raining when we pull up at the Olivier Apparently, touching mustard seeds brings
posts’’ of painted lines on walls, posts and trees the hospital has its own vineyard. Patients drank Leflaive winery, run by brothers Patrick and good luck, not that our 9.16am train the next day
it’s easy to go self-guided. We opt for a wine with every meal and there’s a display of Olivier Leflaive. During a pre-lunch tour, Olivier, needs that – it’s on time, bien sur. We head south
10-kilometre trek through part of the Cote d’Or, antique silver wine-tasting cups, tastevins, once an 18th-generation winemaker, says his mission is to Avignon, Provence, watching vineyards and
the ‘‘golden slope’’, a 50-kilometre stretch of wine given to boys to teach them how to taste wine to make wines more accessible, while also being villages flash by. Burgundy is an adventure for
country divided into the Cote de Nuits in the (girls apparently used goblets). inventive: ‘‘When I meet a wine, I don’t want the the senses, with its cassis farms and mustard
north and the Cote de Beaune in the south. We plan to go cycling on our third and final same one as yesterday. I want to every day dis- shops, not to mention its friendly, unpretentious
History infuses this place. Our ‘‘vineyard walk’’ day (Burgundy has 800 kilometres of signposted cover something new.’’ The degustation lunch at people. And for all its foodie fame, it still feels like
starts at a 12th-century chateau and the first vines bike routes) but rain spoils that idea so we tour by winery restaurant Olivier’s Table is one of the high- a well-kept secret.
were planted on these hills in 603BC. We follow car instead, starting at the Fruirouge cassis fact- lights of our trip: six courses, 14 wines and by the
narrow lanes edged with wild red poppies, past ory. Inside its all-pink showroom we discover that time we’re offered coffee and Valrhona chocolates, Louise Southerden travelled courtesy of Rail Europe,
men faithfully tending their bonsai-like vines and cassis is good for more than kir while tasting my palate, not to mention my head, is spinning. UTracks and Thai Airways.
The Sydney Morning Herald SPECIAL REPORT March 26-27, 2011 EUROPE BY RAIL 5
‘Tortoise’ and the air
compares plane and train
travel on the route from
Paris to Amsterdam.
rain travel is the new black. On some
European routes, such as Paris to Brus-
sels, flights have been phased out alto-
gether and it’s not hard to see why.
Europe’s trains are, on the whole, clean, comfort-
able and punctual.
For journeys of less than four hours, high-
speed trains such as the TGV (which travels at up
to 320km/h) can be faster than planes, particu-
larly when you include the time spent getting to
the airport, checking in, passing through security
and waiting at the departure gate. Trains usually
arrive in the city centre instead of the outskirts,
where airports often are, saving taxi and shuttle
fares to a final destination.
You don’t have to remove liquids from your
hand luggage when you travel by train, luggage
doesn’t have to be weighed and train passes offer
the freedom of flexible travel dates and discounts
on accommodation and attractions.
Staying on the ground has the advantages of
scenery and the use of electronic devices as soon
as you’ve boarded. And you’ll also be travelling
‘‘green’’. Rail Europe says high-speed trains gener-
ate 96 per cent less carbon dioxide than other
modes of travel. Some trains, such as the Euro-
star, which links Britain with France and Bel-
gium, are carbon neutral due to offsetting (at no
extra cost to the traveller).
Here we compare a journey from Paris to Am-
sterdam by plane on Air France with the renov-
ated Thalys train, which has travelled high-speed
call your own
all the way on this route since late 2009.
Plane Takes one hour and 15 minutes (direct), Air v rail ... train travel is more technology-friendly and luggage isn’t weighed. Photo: Getty Images
TRAVELLERS who want to make the most of plus check-in 40 minutes before departure (if
their visit to France can splash out on a new rail travelling with luggage) or 20 minutes before ing up to 23 kilograms for premium economy Holland Herald), French and international news-
concierge service to be launched next week. departure (no luggage), plus pre-boarding secur- and business class, respectively. papers. No interactive entertainment provided on
From Friday, the new France Rail Pass ity check (for bags; there’s no passport control be- Train Seats are 55 centimetres wide in Com- short flights.
Premium ticket will include a private concierge tween France and the Netherlands). Total time: fort 2, 65 centimetres wide in Comfort 1; some Train An on-board magazine titled Thalyscope;
whose job is to offer personal assistance to about 21/2 hours. There are 12 flights a day. seats face forward, some backwards. Renovated newspapers and magazines are available free to
luxury passengers. Train Takes three hours 18 minutes (direct), plus 18 months ago, Thalys trains have new features Comfort 1 passengers.
After booking their ticket, travellers either boarding (10-15 minutes before departure; plat- in both classes, such as individual seat lights,
phone or email their concierge, who can then forms close two minutes before departure). Total wide armrests, wool-velvet seat coverings and Technology
organise all of their requests on their behalf. time: about 31/2 hours. There are 44 trains a day. space for mobile phones. Each carriage has toilets Plane Electronic devices such as laptops can be
Requests can range from booking hotels or at one end and luggage storage at the other. Lug- used except during take-off and landing but there
restaurants to tailor-made activities such as Cost gage allowance is two suitcases and one other is no in-seat power source; mobile phones can’t
VIP events or shopping with a personal stylist. Plane $463.20 (premium economy) or $766 (pre- piece (no weight limit), which can be stored on be used. No Wi-Fi internet access.
The concierge can also book tickets to mium affaires, also known as business class), overhead racks, between back-to-back seats or at Train Mobile phones and laptops can be used at
exhibitions and galleries, reserve last-minute including taxes, plus a $20 online credit-card the end of the carriage. any time throughout the journey. Every seat on
seats at the ballet or opera or arrange a booking fee. (There is no economy class available the Thalys has a 220-volt power point to
personal chef. They will also have access to the on this sector.) Food and beverages recharge devices. Wi-Fi internet access (since
best luxury deals and discounts and can even Train $110 second class (called Comfort 2) or Plane Beverages including alcohol and a snack 2008) is free in Comfort 1 and costs €6.50 ($9.20)
arrange special trips via boat, helicopter or $123 first class (called Comfort 1), plus $5 online are part of the fare. an hour or €13 for unlimited time in Comfort 2.
sports car. booking fee. Train In Comfort 2, meals and alcohol are avail- There is a talking area at the end of each carriage
The ticket costs ¤255 ($362) for one able to buy at the bar, including salads, hot dishes, so the use of mobile phones doesn’t disturb
traveller over three days, ¤462 for two adults Comfort organic food and sandwiches. In Comfort 1, other passengers.
over four days and up to ¤1260 for five adults Plane Seats in the Airbus A321 are 45 centi- meals, including alcohol, are brought to your seat
over five days. Services booked by the metres wide, all face forward, recline and have a and are included in the fare. Costs and travel times are for a one-way flight from
concierge are at the customer’s expense. reading light and tray table. There are toilets on Paris Charles de Gaulle to Amsterdam Schiphol with
See francerailpass.com. board. Carry-on baggage limit is 12 kilograms. Entertainment Air France and a Thalys high-speed train from
Megan Johnston Checked baggage: two or three items, each weigh- Plane Inflight magazine (Air France Magazine or Paris Gare du Nord to Amsterdam on Friday, April 15.
The Sydney Morning Herald SPECIAL REPORT March 26-27, 2011 EUROPE BY RAIL 7
Find the right ticket to ride
Megan Johnston lays out
the rail-pass options — and
there are plenty of them.
eciphering the range of ticket combin-
ations can seem complicated and con-
fusing. Your first step is to choose
where you want to go, then decide
between a rail pass or point-to-point ticket. Here
is a brief guide to which option is best for you.
These are the cheapest options if you are plan-
ning to take more than three or four rail journeys
and know which countries you would like to visit.
After you buy a pass, most high-speed, panor-
amic and overnight train services require a seat
reservation for an extra fee. Passes must be
bought before travelling to Europe and seat book-
ings made before you leave home in order to
ensure you aren’t left standing. Passes must also
be validated at a ticket office before use. Pass
holders can access special benefits such as hotel
discounts, bus tickets and other offers. Of the
various country rail passes, Eurail Select Pass and
Eurail Global Pass are among the most popular. Decisions, decisions ... there are many ticket choices for the rail traveller in Europe — even before the dilemma of first- or second-class seats.
Discounts are often available for young people,
couples, seniors and groups. Eurail Select Pass local trains throughout 22 countries. There are First-class seating
If you want to travel throughout three to five bor- different pass formulas that are valid for up to If you opt for a first-class ticket, expect to pay
One- or two-country rail passes dering countries that are directly connected via two or three months of travel. about 50 per cent more than second class. For
Most European countries allow extensive travel the Eurail network, then this pass allows six to your money you’ll get wider recliner seating,
within their national rail networks. Depending on 10 days of travel for up to two months from the Point-to-point tickets quieter carriages and more privacy. Some first-
the countries you are travelling to, different pass date of validation. If you plan to only travel up to four times via class seats will also offer meal service as well as
formulas are valid for up to one or two months train between specific cities, then point-to-point Wi-Fi connections.
over different combinations of days. The Swiss Eurail Global Pass tickets will be your best option. Tickets are
Pass and France Rail Pass are some of the most If you want to travel widely across Europe, this cheaper if you can buy them before travelling To decide where you would like to travel to, use the trip
popular among Australians. pass covers a vast network of high-speed and to Europe. planner at raileurope.com.au.
Make a meal of fast food
European train travel offers sophisticated fine dining — at 300 exhilarating kilometres an hour, writes Kate Gibbs.
ow that we have modern, high-speed Somewhere between departure and arrival, the tled over the snow-capped foothills of the Pyren-
services running to the heart of cos- buffet car fills up, while polite, British queues wax ees and through olive groves with a menu and
mopolitan European cities, trains are lyrical about their South-of-France weekender. glass of fino sherry in hand. In Club class, a green
no longer the dog-eared refuge of rail Eurostar knows a culinary crowd and now salad with cured duck breast, mango and poppy
enthusiasts or those who can’t afford to fly. Ams- does hot and cold options all day. A light after- seeds arrives as the train pelts between Seville
terdam is brought an hour closer to London, and noon meal can be an organic Camargue brown and Madrid.
Seville 40 minutes closer to Madrid as high-speed and wild rice salad with celery and English cox On the Thalys trains that operate in Germany,
links have significantly cut journey times be- apples and toasted sunflower seeds. Or a pan- Belgium, France and The Netherlands, the soph-
tween European destinations in recent years. fried chicken breast with sage and onion stuffing, isticated evolution of train food is perhaps most
There are still some networks offering food olive and tomato sauce, roasted new potatoes and evident. First-class passengers travelling from
that is, in train terms, stalling somewhere be- spring greens. Brussels are served dishes concocted by Michelin-
tween steam and diesel. But many European Even in standard class, most inter-country starred Belgian chef Alexandre Dionisio and
trains are now offering in buffet carts food to trains now offer trolley services where you can chocolate macaroons by renowned Belgian pastry
match that found in the villages, castles, hillside pick up a packet of cheese biscuits, a proper cof- chef Jean-Philippe Darcis. Pork pies, celeriac in
chapels and farmhouses blurring past. fee and a made-that-day croissant. A bistro cart in remoulade, rich chocolate cake and tarte tatin
The Eurostar leaves from London’s St Pancras most TGV trains through France will at least turn with vanilla are standard fare.
terminal and spends about 45 minutes in dark- out a decent Croque Monsieur, if not a four- As long as they’re serving food like this on
ness under the English Channel before reappear- course meal. high-speed trains across Europe, it’s almost a
ing in the poplar-lined expanses of France’s fields. On Spain’s high-speed AVE trains you’re skit- shame the journey is over so quickly. Speed eating ... indulging on the Eurostar.
Accor and Rail Europe, your
ticket to the best of the continent
Rail Europe can get you where you want to go efﬁciently, affordably and in
style. And when you arrive, Accor has over 2500 hotels across Europe – many
centred near train stations, so you will have a wide range of accommodation
options for every budget and taste.
8 EUROPE BY RAIL March 26-27, 2011 SPECIAL REPORT smh.com.au
Kristie Kellahan nominates six picturesque rail journeys that
combine history and grandeur.
West Highland Line See raileurope.com.au for rail tickets. See
Consistently voted the best train journey in the viator.com for Magical Mystery Tour tickets.
world, the West Highland Line from Glasgow up
the west coast of Scotland is an incredibly scenic Class act
railway trip of lush green hills and valleys. It has Leave the jeans at home for this trip and – oh hor- Golden age ... (from top) the Jacobite steams through Scotland; luxury lodgings in the British
been immortalised in film – in Trainspotting and ror! – don’t even think about wearing sneakers. Pullman, which departs London’s Victoria station. Photos: Getty Images, Simon Brown
as the site of the Hogwarts Express in the Harry When the British Pullman Golden Age of Travel
Potter series – making it a big drawcard for movie steam train pulls out of London’s Victoria station in the world, it weaves its way through Snowdon- made the history of this part of the world so rich
buffs. During the warm summer months, a steam for a four-hour round trip, its hosts will be ia’s impressive scenery. Joining with the Welsh and fascinating.
locomotive-hauled daily return service, the Jacob- dressed to the nines in 1930s garb. Guests are Highland Railway, it is heritage steam rail at its See railplus.com.au.
ite, operates between Fort William and Mallaig. asked to wear smart day wear. As the Orient- best: trainspotters welcome.
This is one very Scottish experience. Express people say: ‘‘Dressing down is just not See festrail.co.uk. Luck of the Irish
See raileurope.com.au. our style.’’ Enjoy views of the sweeping scenery and grand
Every detail of the train’s interior and exterior Royal treatment landscapes for which Ireland is famous on this
A trip down Penny Lane has been considered and appointed to reflect the An adventure on the Royal Scotsman is regarded three-day rail trip to Cork, Blarney Castle, Ring of
A musical odyssey awaits fans of the Fab Four on golden era of travel, when manners and style as one of the great iconic travel experiences. Kerry and the Cliffs of Moher. Departing from
the 14-hour Beatles Liverpool Rail Day Trip from were paramount. A five-course lunch is served by With only 35 guests on board, each is guaran- Dublin, you’ll travel to the Blarney Castle for a
London. Arriving at Lime Street, you’ll consult liveried waiters, along with fine champagne and teed dedicated service and attention to life’s lux- quick kiss, before heading to Cork. Two nights in
the provided city map and information booklet to wine, before returning to Victoria station. uries, such as a glass of rare malt whisky at the bed-and-breakfast accommodation in Killarney is
make your way to the Beatles Story. Map in hand, See orient-express.com or email railjourneys end of the day. State cabins are decked out with included, as are castle and cliff tours in Limerick,
you’ll retrace the steps the Beatles took on their @railplus.com.au for details and bookings. wood panelling, tartan trim and private bath- Moher and Galway Bay. This is a great taster tour
way to fame: from the Cavern Club, where the rooms. The Scotsman departs Edinburgh and of the many attractions of Ireland.
boys played 292 times, to the pubs where they Steaming ahead explores the rich landscape of the Scottish High- See raileurope.com.au for rail tickets and
drank and dreamt of success. In the afternoon, The Welsh Ffestiniog Railway is just the ticket for lands on journeys that last two to seven nights. viator.com for tour options.
the two-hour Magical Mystery Tour takes in the anyone keen to take in North Wales’s spectacular, Feast on authentic Scottish cuisine and be
homes, schools and birthplaces of the Fab Four, mountainous landscape from the comfort of a entertained after dinner by a Highlander with For more information on rail travel throughout Britain and
before it’s time to head back to London. passenger seat. One of the longest steam railways stories of the battles, myths and legends that have Ireland or to buy tickets, see raileurope.com.au.
ALL ENGLAND, SCOTLAND & WALES TRAINS
10 EUROPE BY RAIL March 26-27, 2011 SPECIAL REPORT smh.com.au
Follow the laugh lines
On a journey from Lucerne to Lugano, Lance Richardson discovers storybook towns and the Swiss sense of humour.
urich Airport is a temple in steel and via a boat and two trains, Lucerne in central and ferries are simply capillaries connecting the
glass, full of cavernous spaces and long Switzerland with the wealthy lakeside playground country’s far-flung places to its central routes.
boulevards lined with terminal gates. of Lugano, near the Italian border. ‘‘Express’’ may On the express to Lugano, we change trains for
To reach the city centre, most travellers be something of a misnomer in this case, as the the second time at Bellinzona. We’ve travelled the
descend from its main building into a subter- focus of the trip is on luxurious appreciation of the length of the Reuss Valley and the Gotthard Rail
ranean train station. Everything is automated countryside over several languid hours. Tunnel, which burrows directly through the
here; a driverless shuttle arrives to collect passen- It’s Sunday morning when I step out from the mountain’s base for more than 15 kilometres.
gers and shoot them down a tunnel in what train station in Lucerne, grab a fresh pretzel and Amazed by an apparent lack of industry to sup-
appears to be the human equivalent of a pressur- board a white paddlesteamer heading south. port such feats of infrastructure, I ask a Swiss
ised message tube. When people say something looks Swiss, they’re man what people around here actually do.
It’s part-way through this transit that the car- often referring to the storybook quality Lake ‘‘Well, we enjoy life,’’ he replies. ‘‘And count
riage fills with the sounds of cows, bells and Lucerne exemplifies. money.’’ This is said, of course, with that same
yodelling. Everybody laughs, the nervous jitter Fog-clad mountains and tiny lakeside towns sardonic humour I recognised at the airport and
of a crowd in a confined space. But behind the appear to be spring-cleaned daily. Docks are trim- moments later the snow-capped Alps and breath-
comic soundscape it’s possible to imagine med with flowers. There are swans in the water taking villages out the window are joined by
another laugh, this one from the Swiss who and a young nun moves past me on the boat quarries and factories. They’re so fastidiously
recognise the old-fashioned stereotype of yodel- holding a map and wearing a backpack. As the clean, one wonders how productive they are.
ling milkmaids and, tongue-in-cheek, contrast it boat moves from stop to stop I dine in the first- When we arrive at our destination of Lugano
with a transport system so modern that Sydney class restaurant and my Swiss guide tells me the Night and day ... Gandria on Lake Lugano; (top) in the canton of Ticino, we’ve moved from the
and Melbourne’s trains seem steam-powered lake is so clear you can drink out of it. Perhaps the old town of Lucerne. Photo: Remy Steinegger German section of the country to the Italian-
by comparison. sensing things are becoming perilously twee, she speaking region; architecture and food has shif-
Tall mountains are rendered no more frustrat- adds: ‘‘I’ve never seen anyone do it, though.’’ ted accordingly. Lugano is filled with designer
ing than a temporary impediment to views as one From the city of Lucerne – where Renaissance- The Swiss are famously stubborn when it shops and expensive real estate (it isn’t nick-
enters yet another tunnel and there’s an extraor- style buildings nestle harmoniously alongside the comes to change. France and Germany had laid named the Monte Carlo of Switzerland for noth-
dinary ease to how rail travellers can jump from gravity-defying black slab of the KKL convention thousands of kilometres of train track before they ing), though the sight of the city accreting up the
bustling metropolises to high-altitude country centre – we travel three hours across the tur- bothered to lay a single sleeper. But when the hillsides like lines of oysters makes it a must for
retreats in a single day. Both are experienced on a quoise lake to Fluelen. The train station here is Swiss decide on something, they take the deci- travellers on any budget.
trip on the Wilhelm Tell Express, which connects, conveniently located directly opposite the dock. sion very seriously. If it were to end here, this would be an
That first sleeper turned out to be an import- impressive journey across one of the country’s
ant one and it’s arguable that no integrated trans- most beautiful routes. Instead, I walk down to the
Premium-class panorama portation network today is more impressive than
the trains, boats and buses now connecting
Switzerland’s 26 cantons.
Giardino dock on Lake Lugano, determined to
have a final adventure in one of the country’s far-
flung capillaries. Bodies lie prostrate in the neigh-
LIKE most places in the world, ultra- tour guide, as well as a three-course meal Say you want to get up Monte Generoso with- bouring Parco Civico in an attempt to escape the
luxurious first class on trains waned in on the paddle-steamer in its first-class out taking a single upwards step. Then take the the thrumming heat.
Switzerland with the rise of the middle dining room. rack-and-pinion train, which rumbles past cows After a short boat-ride I’ve reached Gandria, a
class and the increasing availability of But it is the unusual swivel-chair coach in misty paddocks almost to the summit. If you traditional village otherwise connected to Lugano
quick flights. on the train from either Lugano or Fluelen want to walk on top of the Rhone Glacier in the by a lakeside trail called the olive path. Walking
What was once second- and third-class that is the highlight. Passengers are canton of Valais, it’s no problem. (And since its labyrinth of steep streets is to be transported
accommodation became, in 1956, the first escorted into a panorama carriage filled you’ve come all this way, they’ve drilled a back in time so I wander into the trees behind the
and second class we recognise today. But with comfortable free-standing chairs that 100-metre tunnel into the ice so you can duck in belltower and sit down to watch the lake in the
history often repeats itself and the launch can be turned in a full revolution, meaning and have a glass of glacial wine). afternoon glow. Hours later, tired but content, I
in May last year of a premium class on the the best view no longer requires a crane of To the outsider, the combination of trains, walk back to Lugano. From high-tech airport to
Wilhelm Tell Express heralds a renewed the neck. There’s also an attentive wait boats and buses is marketed as the Swiss Travel historic olive groves – a journey of hundreds of
demand for refined travelling. service for the full journey. System, though locals rarely think of it as a single kilometres over difficult terrain – and this is the
A premium ticket comes with a number These carriages only run once daily, so entity. It can seem dizzying in complexity but it’s furthest I’ve had to walk all day.
of benefits: a welcome drink and travellers should check the schedule. Visit actually fairly straightforward. Intercity trains
personalised attention from a multilingual swisstravelsystem.ch. connect the major cities and act, metaphorically, Lance Richardson travelled courtesy of Swiss Tourism
as arteries across which regional trains, postbuses and Swiss International Air Lines.
The Sydney Morning Herald SPECIAL REPORT March 26-27, 2011 EUROPE BY RAIL 11
Mercury, heavy metal
and a jazz explosion
Kristie Kellahan discovers a
monument to the Queen
frontman in the festival town
hhh, Switzerland: postcard-pretty
mountains, stylish timepieces, creamy
milk chocolate and Freddie Mercury.
Hang on a minute ... Freddie Mer-
cury? As in the outlandish late frontman of
Mercury fans travel from all over the world to
pay homage at his striking three-metre tall statue
on the banks of Lake Geneva at the foot of the
Alps in the Swiss town of Montreux. Visitor
numbers swell for Freddie Mercury’s Montreux
Memorial Day, held annually in September.
You see, Montreux was the home of Mountain
Studios, bought by Queen in 1978. The town was
the inspiration behind the 1995 single A Winter’s
Tale on the album Made in Heaven, one of the last
songs Mercury ever recorded.
It’s one of the many surprises in store in Mon-
treux, an alpine town of fewer than 25,000 peo-
ple. That number swells almost ten-fold in early
July each year for the Montreux Jazz Festival.
Considered one of the most prestigious music Swiss ease ... next stop Montreux; (below) the statue of Freddie Mercury. Photos: Getty Images, AFP
events in Europe, it has attracted high-profile per-
formers including Nina Simone, Ella Fitzgerald, and hotels buzz with a friendly atmosphere. simply cross the street with luggage in tow, check
Sting, David Bowie and Paul Simon. Festival- Switzerland is also surprisingly affordable for in to the hotel and enjoy an evening cocktail on
goers enjoy concerts, intimate performances, Australian travellers, with the Swiss franc trading the terrace. Like many visitors to town, we make
FAST FACTS themed dinners and a roaring trade in local bars
during the two-week event.
at close to parity with the Australian dollar. This
makes accommodation, meals and tours easier on
a stop at the casino, a glittering behemoth of
entertainment and gaming opportunities. More
Getting there Swiss International Air British band Deep Purple headlined the festival the hip pocket. sedate thrills can be found at Chateau de Chillon
Lines has a fare to Zurich for about five times, and even wrote the famous song At the Grand Hotel Suisse Majestic, a classic la- (Chillon Castle). Switzerland’s most visited his-
$1950, flying to Hong Kong (about 9hr) Smoke on the Water about the events of 1971, keside European-style holiday resort, a deluxe toric monument, the castle has 1000 years of his-
with Cathay Pacific or Qantas, then when a fan wielding a flare gun set the Montreux room with lake view, including breakfast and din- tory and guided tours are available.
Swiss to Zurich (about 13 hr). This fare Casino ablaze. ner at the nearby casino, costs from $180. It A gentle stroll along the lake or through the
allows you to fly via a number of Asian Montreux is the sort of place where million- would be difficult to find a prettier spot for a main square, Place du Marche, is a great way to
cities and to travel beyond Zurich to a aires retire and minor European royalty spend hotel. Opening to the lakefront and with the Alps get a feel for Montreux, an unexpectedly diverse
number of European cities. Fare is non- summer breaks, when they’re not in residence in in the distance, the hotel is conveniently located pocket of Switzerland.
seasonal return from Melbourne and Monte Carlo. But the attitude here is not elitist; across the street from the train station.
Sydney, including tax. travellers are welcome and the local restaurants Once we arrive by train in Montreux we Kristie Kellahan travelled courtesy of Rail Europe.
Getting around The Swiss Pass is
your best option. Available for four,
eight, 15, 22 days or one month, the
Swiss Pass must be bought while still
in Australia. Along with unlimited Getting there A four-day first-class
travel over the entire network, it also Swiss Pass costs $416 for unlimited
gives you access to more than travel across Switzerland’s train, bus
450 museums across the country. and boat network.
A first-class 15-day adult ticket costs For online bookings and to check
$727; see raileurope.com.au. schedules see raileurope.com.au.
The first-class Swiss Pass or Eurail Staying there Grand Hotel Suisse
passes are also valid for the Wilhelm Majestic is centrally located near the
Tell Express. Standard or premium train station on Avenue des Alpes. It is
travel requires a supplement of in the Belle Epoque style but recently
39 Swiss francs ($42) or 79 Swiss underwent a major renovation. Rooms
francs, which includes seat start from 163 Swiss francs ($180);
reservation, lunch and a travel guide; suisse-majestic.com.
12 Europe by rail March 26-27, 2011 SPECIAL REPORT smh.com.au
On the shores of Lake Como, Sue Wallace finds a playground
of the rich and famous. But where’s Signor Clooney?
hauffeured limousines, speedboats and is no wonder one guest booked in for two weeks
private helicopters are the usual form and stayed two years.
of transport to Lake Como’s most fam- Lake Como is close to the Swiss border in the
ous address. Instead we are dragging northern Italian Lake District and is Italy’s third
our bags over the cobbled roads of the village of largest lake. Like Villa d’Este, the lake itself is a
Cernobbio. It’s a noisy exercise but the gate- magnet for actors, artists, poets, musicians and
keeper of Villa d’Este assures us we aren’t the first fashion designers. Charming villages dotted
to arrive in this fashion. around the lake are full of expensive shops, chic
Wearing the mantle of one of the world’s best cafes and restaurants.
hotels, Villa d’Este serenely overlooks the blue- We pass by the Villa’s Veranda restaurant with
green waters of Italy’s popular Lake Como. Our electronically controlled glass screens that disap-
animated Italian bus driver says you can’t move pear into the ground at the touch of a button and
around here in the warmer months and we’re I spot the hotel’s famous floating swimming pool
pleased it’s the end of the season and the num- that appears to sit on top of the lake. It’s appar-
bers have dwindled. ently where Arnold Schwarzenegger loves splash- She recalls Hitchcock was paranoid about the work of art and tastes sensational. The next
We have had a dream run getting here – first ing around with his children. paparazzi and when he spotted photographers he morning I join him for a tour of the chef’s garden,
a quick trip on a high-speed train from Bologna Our spacious suite, decorated in sumptuous demanded staff throw them out. Only later did he which features an array of herbs and vegetables,
to Milan in reclining first-class seats, with a com- Como silk, overlooks the manicured terraced gar- discover they were covering a society wedding. and he shares his risotto secrets: don’t wash the
plimentary drink and newspaper, before chan- dens and the lake and is full of artwork and Winston Churchill was also a regular and rice before cooking and don’t overcook it – it
ging to a regional train. An hour later we arrive at antiques. The bathroom has a large marble bath would come with the sole purpose of painting. should take no more than 20 minutes.
Como Station and catch a bus to Cernobbio. and shower and there’s a dressing room. And it was here that the first photo of Ed- I explore the historic gardens where a 600-year-
Built in 1568 as a summer residence for Car- Each of the 152 guest rooms and suites are dif- ward VIII and Wallis Simpson was taken. old plane tree takes centre stage. It’s believed to
dinal Tolomeo Gallio, Villa d’Este has been a lux- ferent in size and decor and although modern be among the oldest in Lombardy and over the
ury hotel for the past 138 years.
The rich and famous come here to play (along
facilities such as plasma televisions have been
installed, the rooms have lost none of their old-
It is no wonder one guest centuries kings, queens, cardinals, empresses,
aristocrats and heads of state have sat in its shade.
with a few curious onlookers) and never want to fashioned grandeur. booked in for two weeks and I climb to the fortifications that overlook the
leave. The hotel registry dates from 1873 and lists I wander through the villa looking at its his- gardens and take in the views below before head-
Mark Twain, Winston Churchill, Elizabeth Taylor, toric artworks and discover that even as recently stayed two years. ing to the Fountain of Ercole, where water flows
Clark Gable, Jose Carreras, Mel Gibson and as 2004, exquisite late-18th-century frescoes were over 130 granite basins and leads to the
Madonna among its guests. uncovered during renovations in the Column Nymphaeum. As I stand there, taking in the
George Clooney, who lives nearby, is also a reg- Room. ‘‘Workmen saw them through a hole in splendour, a motor bike pulls up ... could it be? I
ular visitor and is often spotted riding his motor- the ceiling and the ceiling was then torn down,’’ Now, about George Clooney, I ask. ‘‘Oh, we see hotfoot it back to the foyer – just as a leggy
bike along the cobbled streets. says the villa’s historian, Jean Govoni Salvadore, him all the time,’’ I’m told. But not tonight. blonde removes her helmet.
A first glimpse of the lake lives up to the who has been the public relations director here The villa’s executive chef, Luciano Parolari, is All too soon our stay is over – but this time we
description penned by the English romantic poet for more than 40 years. known as the ‘‘King of Risotto’’ and it seems only leave in style – a chauffeured limousine whisks
Percy Shelley: ‘‘This lake exceeds anything I ever At dinner Salvadore shares wonderful stories fitting to order a specialty he taught Elton John’s us to the nearby station and for 10 minutes all
held in beauty.’’ about the villa’s history and many who have chef how to cook. eyes are on us.
Standing on the shore, looking out across the stayed here. Alfred Hitchcock, for example, We order lemon and shrimp risotto followed
lake as the sun shimmers on the water, and with decided to shoot his first movie, The Pleasure by a chocolate bauletto with a white chocolate Sue Wallace travelled courtesy of Leading Hotels of the
historic villas and magnificent gardens in view, it Garden, on the premises in 1925. sauce, pistachio sorbet and wild berries – it is a World and Rail Europe.
The Sydney Morning Herald SPECIAL REPORT March 26-27, 2011 Europe by rail 13
Watering holes ... canalside diners at dusk; (below) Cantina do Mori. Photo: Getty Images
of the city
Kate Gibbs samples bars and restaurants favoured by the
locals among Venice’s network of canals.
he writer Truman Capote once
remarked that going to Venice was like
eating an entire box of chocolate
liqueurs in one go. Rich, in all the ways.
Luxurious. Inducing a little giddiness, perhaps. It
is, as well, the romantic idyll.
It’s no wonder 18 million tourists pile into the
floating city each year.
Chocolate metaphors aside, Venice is not
known for its epicurean strengths. But amid a
sea of tourists, residents of the sinking city man-
age to carve out a home town for themselves via
a pastiche of restaurants and bars hidden
throughout the intricate network of streets, pas- with the addition of grappa (found all over town)
sageways and canals. is a warming solution to the cold weather.
Venetians know the best places to eat and To combat the city’s reputation for high prices
drink. One authentically local pastime is bacaro and mediocre food, a consortium of restaurants
snacking. The small and crowded food-and-wine has formed the Restaurants of Good Welcome or
bars are short on tables but habitues typically Ristoranti della Buona Accoglienza
stand by the counter to consume local wine by (veneziaristoranti.it). Under this umbrella, res-
the glass and fresh titbits known as cichetti, the taurants pledge pricing transparency and commit
Venetian version of tapas. to culinary traditions.
Salt cod or baccala is beaten into a creamy Among the outstanding members of this club
whip with olive oil and milk; tender baby octopus is Osteria Alle Testiere (Castello 5801;
is served fried or fritto, or warm, tossed with bit- osterialletestiere.it), a tiny, 20-seat restaurant
ter purple radicchio leaves. Artichoke hearts, ri- known for its seafood and wine. Sweet spider
sotto in cuttlefish ink, the Venetian soppressa crab comes laden with herbs, brandy and scallops
salami, polpette (meatballs) and even nervetti – with wild fennel. Owner-chef and recent cook-
boiled and chewy bits of calves’ hooves served book author, Bruno Gavagnin, will help pair the
with olive oil and parsley – are bacari specialties. extensive menu with wine.
In Venice, maps fail. To be in this city is to be In summer Venice is a torrid, tourist-
FAST FACTS disoriented, as if in a labyrinth of romantic cli-
ches and real-life rabbit holes. But getting lost is
overwhelmed city. Visitors clog its famous
bridges, swell its gondolas and vastly outnumber
Getting there Catch the high-speed the whole idea – it’s how a traveller will make locals turning the city into a floating Disneyland,
train from Rome to Milan (3hr 30min) or discoveries. Stumble, for example, on Mascari a Venetian-masked, kitsch shadow of its real self.
Bologna to Milan (1hr 5min) on the in the Rialto Market, where whole candied cit- In the cooler months, pigeons peck about in
Trenitalia line. Change at Milan for a ron, saffron, condiments containing white truf- ones and twos. The light is either brilliant and
regional train to Como S Giovanni — a fles and local quince mustard are bought to fill clear or grey and water, sky and land merge. It’s
direct train takes 33 minutes or 1hr local kitchens. brisk and damp but much easier to explore (and
17min if changing at Monza. A Eurail Find Cantina do Mori (Calle dei do Mori, near get lost), all the while pretending to be a local.
Select Pass allows five days’ travelling the Rialto Market), a bacaro that since 1462 has
over two months in three countries from been famous for its ambience and legendary vis-
$474 first-class or from $403 second-
class. Book a Eurail pass and compulsory
its by Casanova.
Sample tramezzino, a sandwich found all over
seat reservations before you leave Venice that encloses an infinite variety of stuff- Getting there Catch the high-speed
Australia. As well, the Eurail Select Pass ings, from truffle-laced prosciutto to grilled vege- train from Rome to Venice (3hr 48min)
allows unlimited rail travel on the tables, often slicked with mayonnaise. Here, tra- on the Trenitalia line. A second-class
national rail networks of any three, four mezzini are stuffed with truffles or goose breast ticket will cost $116, or a Eurail Select
or five neighbouring countries that are and accompanied by a glass of ombra. Pass is better value — from $475 first
connected by the Eurail network or ship. Osteria al Mascaron (Calle Lunga Santa Maria class or from $403 second class — if you
Reflections of grandeur ... (clockwise from See raileurope.com.au. Formosa 5225) is a short walk from Piazza San plan to travel further, as it allows five
main) Villa d’Este overlooks the stunning Lake Staying there Villa d’Este has rooms Marco in the Castello district. It’s a popular spot days’ travelling over two months in three
Como, the hotel’s garden featured in Alfred from ¤295 ($419.72) for a single with excellent wines, long queues outside and a neighbouring European countries that
Hitchcock’s first film, The Pleasure Garden; courtyard-view room or ¤1320 for a one- front door completely plastered in guide-book are part of the Eurail network;
the lake is a favourite haunt of the rich and bedroom lake-view suite; see lhw.com. recommendation stickers. And in the winter raileurope.com.au.
famous; garden artwork. months a caffe corretto, or espresso ‘‘corrected’’
14 Europe by rail March 26-27, 2011 smh.com.au
Catch the French fast train
and travel in style
Go fast, relax and enjoy travelling through France at 300km p/h!
Travel to Bordeaux, Brittany, Burgundy, Champagne, French Alps, Normandy, Provence...
all within 3 hours from Paris with TGV!
• Paris - Dijon : 01h37
• Paris - Avignon : 02h37
• Paris - Aix en Provence : 02h54
• Paris - Marseille: 03h02
• Paris - Reims : 00h45
• Paris - Strasbourg : 02h20
• Paris - Tour : 00h56
• Paris - Bordeaux : 02h59
The Sydney Morning Herald SPECIAL REPORT March 26-27, 2011 Europe by rail 15
Inside scoop on
riding the rails
Long-time train traveller Andrew West offers his tips: slow
down, always pick the middle bunk and never overpack.
ong ago, I determined the only civilised few years ago, a French friend was ‘‘embarrassed
ways to travel were by boat and train. for France’’ when I told her I had taken the five-
Sadly, passenger ships no longer oper- hour train between Strasbourg and Paris. For me,
ate, other than for commercial cruises, the trip was a highlight.
so from Australia we have no choice but to fly
into Europe. Pack light and efficiently
But I cannot fathom why anyone would fly This does not mean two tracksuits, a pair of jog-
within Europe. A one-hour flight between capitals gers and a bumbag. That would make you an
is likely to become a four-to-six-hour ordeal when embarrassment. In Europe, intercity trains are
you factor in transport to and from the airport, integrated with local metros, trams and buses.
pre-flight security, boarding time and the likeli- If you have, at most, a medium suit-
hood of delays. Unnecessary flying is also bad for case on wheels, one piece of
your carbon footprint and deprives you of an hand luggage and, in
authentic travel experience. winter, an
Here are seven tips to get the best out of rail overcoat,
travel in Europe. you will be
able to save
Be sure you like trains money using
It’s not all Hercule Poirot, with compartments public transport
draped in velvet and chintz, three-course meals instead of taxis. Your
and well-cushioned berths. In fact, unless you’re luggage must be light
prepared to pay up to $17,000 for a suite on a lux- enough to carry up and
ury train – such as the Venice Simplon-Orient- down stairs at older metro and
Express between Paris and Istanbul – it is never underground stations that don’t
like that. Mostly in western Europe you will be have lifts or escalators.
aboard trains that are modern and crowded
(which is good because high patronage keeps the Eat and drink sparingly
service going). In eastern Europe, the trains will Even aboard the modern fast trains of western
sometimes be old, poorly ventilated and a rough Europe, 60-plus passengers can take their toll on close to the ceiling, while the bottom bunk, used travel. Ride the slow, all-stops trains on branch
ride. This has its own appeal but you need to the hygiene standards of a bathroom. Unless you as the seat during the day, is often too narrow. It’s lines through the English countryside, rural
enjoy rail travel. There’s nothing worse than shar- are travelling in a first-class sleeper with private better to upgrade to a four-berth room. While France and the Swiss and Austrian mountains.
ing a compartment with a whinger. bathroom, do not attempt a shower en route. Just more expensive, it’s cheaper than a hotel room Remember, the journey itself is the objective.
floss, brush and wash your face. During a Euro- and you will sleep restoratively. The overnight
Slow down pean winter, you can comfortably skip a shower train from London to Cornwall is a particular The Man in Seat Sixty-One
If you’re on holidays, what’s the rush? By all here and there. In eastern Europe, the carriages pleasure, its only downside being the brevity – a Go to seat61.com and you will see why this
means, take the high-speed trains – the Eurostar are often not cleaned until the train reaches its mere seven hours – of the journey. award-winning website is an indispensable
between London, Paris and Brussels, the TGV in final destination. resource for true adventurers. Its founder, Mark
France, the ICE in Germany – once or twice for Get off the highway Smith, is an authentic railway man who habitu-
the experience of an intercity service that oper- Book the middle bunk You wouldn’t spend a motoring holiday on an ally favours seat 61 on the Eurostar out of Lon-
ates quickly and efficiently. But aboard the TGV If you’re travelling overnight and on a budget, six- eight-lane freeway; you would explore the wind- don towards the great mysteries of the east. His
you may feel like you’re travelling in a first-class berth sleepers (three on either side of the com- ing lanes, with their hedgerows and stone walls, website won a top travel award from the Guard-
airline seat. There’s comfort and speed but the partment) are the cheapest. Try to get the middle as we did in the Cotswolds and Chilterns of Eng- ian and a TV series is in the making. Routes are
landmarks and beauty of the country flash by. A bunk. The top bunk is often claustrophobically land recently. Apply the same principle to rail listed for every continent.
A EUROPEAN TRIP FOR TWO
Tell us which 3 countries you would most like to experience Win this fantastic prize and experience Europe
by high-speed train and why? Visit www.smh.com.au/ shrinking thanks to high-speed rail.
WORTH MORE THAN competitions/europeisshrinking enter your details and you
$15,000! and a friend could zip off to Europe very soon! ENTER HERE:
ALL TRAINS AND TICKETING INFORMATION:
Book European rail travel now on
www.citrail.com.au www.railplus.com.au www.harveyworld.com.au
visit your travel agent.
Rail Europe distributes all
European Rail Products
through the following agents: www.travelscene.net.au www.ﬂightcentre.com.au
USEFUL WEBSITES: Accor: www.accorhotels.com Italian Tourist Ofﬁce: www.italiantourism.com.au
Air Austral: www.air-austral.com Jungfrau: www.jungfrau.ch
France Tourism Development Agency: www.franceguide.com Switzerland Tourism: www.MySwitzerland.com
French Travel Connection: www.frenchtravel.com.au Swiss Travel System: www.swisstravelsystem.ch
16 Europe by rail March 26-27, 2011 smh.com.au
Europe on Sale… Book now!!!
Now is the time to discover Europe… Thanks to Rail Europe’s 16th Birthday
specials, ride the European trains at prices never seen before and benefit
from 1st Class upgrades and discounts up to 60%.
Available for a limited time, these amazing deals include the most popular
train tickets and passes. Check it out:
Rail Passes: Swiss Pass, France Rail Pass, German Rail Pass, Eurail Select
Pass and Eurail Austria Pass
Train Tickets: Eurostar (London, Paris, Brussels), Thalys (Paris, Brussels,
Amsterdam, Cologne), TGV Lyria (France, Switzerland), Elipsos (France,
Italy, Spain, Switzerland), Artesia Night (France, Italy), TGV (France)
and X2000 (Sweden).
BOOK NOW! Consult your Rail Europe accredited travel agent for more details.
www.raileurope.com.au Enjoy Europe… Travel by train!