As an alternative family city break, train travel is fun, relaxing and certainly greener than jet travel.
Our recent city break to Barcelona was a hit, with our first ever experience of the Eurostar, a day taking in the sights of spring-time Paris, and an overnight sleeper train to Spain.
Our day in Paris was spent walking and boating along the Seine on the BatoBus (http://tinyurl.com/27hpv8). With its hop-on hop-off ticket, it’s a good way to see the Eiffel tower, the Louvre and Notre Dame. After a leisurely day we strolled into the station to catch our train to Spain.
TrenHotel (http://tinyurl.com/26q5h2) run regular sleeper trains all over Europe. When the friendly steward came round and lowered the bunks the children were too excited to sleep, but the motion of the train worked magic. We arrived non-jetlagged ready for our first day in Barcelona.
Barcelona is incredibly intense, with tiny alleys filled with amazing shops, art galleries and cafes. The unified public transport ticket includes travel by train, metro, bus and cablecar. It’s very easy to get around the city and a car would be a liability - parking is a nightmare in Barcelona. The Busturistic (http://tinyurl.com/28pqwt) covers all the tourist sights, including Gaudi’s wild architecture!
Our holiday ended with a 22 hour train journey from Barcelona to our local station in Devon. Which isn’t as awful as driving for a full day to the Mediterranean. Nor does it leave you feeling as fragmented as air travel. I usually have to drive so I end up frazzled and irritable: it often takes a couple of days to wind down after arriving. This time, I was Mr. Relaxed. Our homeward journey included a picnic tea of Catalonian olives, cheese and chorizo on the train as we climbed into the Pyrenees, breakfast in a friendly Parisian cafe and a good rattle around on the London Underground!
We arrived home to a beautiful Devon evening feeling relaxed and happy.
Written by Adam Golding
First published issue 50 (Autumn 2007)
Disclaimer – details were correct at time of going to press, but may now have changed. Please make your own checks.Make a comment here