The Great Railway Adventure

2 Jan
I love to travel by train. Even hours and hours is fine by me. Train travel beats air travel and its many indignities. Four hours in a plane makes me want to slit my wrists whereas four hours in a train is just a good start.
The Bernina Express on the famous Brusio spiral viaduct.

The Bernina Express on the famous Brusio spiral viaduct.

To my husband, trains are a religion. Not only does he enjoy riding in them, he can watch them for hours. He delights in rolling stock of all types, and thrills at seeing railroad workers address their tasks. How many thousands of photos he has taken! He also is fascinated by all types of transportation from pedicabs to delivery vehicles. There’s not an Ape 50
Action shot.

Action shot.

that escapes his camera’s eye.
When I suggested London for Christmas by train, with a stop in Paris and return through Switzerland, he had agreed before I finished saying “Bernina Express.” While we did, in fact, sleep in four countries over the two-week period, this was not “If it’s Tuesday it Must be Belgium.”
I’ll leave you at the end of this post with a few photos,  but first the route. The final plan included nine train trips in 15 days. Good thing we have time.
Roma to Milano – 2h:55m
Milano to Paris – 7h:26m
Paris to London – 2h:17m
London to Paris – 2h:29m
Paris to Zurich – 4h:03m
Zurich to Chur – 1h:15m
Chur to Tirano – 4h:13m
Tirano to Milano – 2h:32m
Milano to Roma – 3h:55m
During the last segment, the full-to-capacity train broke down and we had to transfer to a new train resulting in a 1-hour delay. We were only a little annoyed, and we got a partial credit from Trenitalia as a result of the delay.
Yes, that is a remarkable 32 hours-or-so in trains, blissfully snoozing, chatting, reading, writing, and watching the lovely scenery. I would not recommend this type of schedule for people on their average trip to Europe. One would not want to spend as much transit time as we did on a typical two-week vacation; However, we have time, a true blessing of retirement and living in Europe.
I have more to blog about in the coming days. Stay tuned! Click on any picture for a slideshow or a closer look.


18 Responses to “The Great Railway Adventure”

  1. Marcia Kakiuchi January 4, 2016 at 16:25 #

    That tree made of stuffed animals is AMAZING. And how many people can just say….’hey let’s go to London for Christmas with a stop in Paris and back through Switzerland’? For us, we say ‘let’s see what after holiday sales are going on at the local Walmart’ and that’s a big trip! HAHAHAHAH


    • gooddayrome January 4, 2016 at 16:47 #

      Shopping here is too much trouble. Traveling is easier. 🙂


  2. Anita January 3, 2016 at 22:26 #

    The train sounds like the way to go! It all sounds very relaxing and fun, which is what retirement is all about. 🙂


    • gooddayrome January 4, 2016 at 06:23 #

      Our constant mantra is “We have time.” Yet we are always busy with something!


  3. John Henderson January 3, 2016 at 18:21 #

    You forgot to mention how miserable some second-class trains are in Italy. Mussolini got the to run on time but Italians haven’t improved them much. Plus, it is getting outrageously expensive. Try comparing train travel in Italy to 12 years ago. It’s probably doubled in price. Flying isn’t as fun but it’s cheaper.

    John Henderson
    Dog-Eared Passport:


    • gooddayrome January 3, 2016 at 21:17 #

      We take so few regionale trains. They are not too pleasant. The Swiss certainly have nice trains on all of their routes, though! I find the cost acceptable. I try to jump on the 120-day advance tickets with TI. That helps. And I just won’t get in a plane if I can help it. Too damn much like a cattle-car. I remember the ’80s when air travel was still kind of nice.


  4. mvaden1948 January 2, 2016 at 18:50 #

    Once I’m finally living in Venice I plan to travel by train almost exclusively. I can’t imagine anywhere I want to go that would require flying. I’ll even take a ferry to visit my friends in Greece.
    Anyone who asks the question “did you have a good flight” hasn’t flown coach in a very long time. And definitely not from Seattle to Venice (which with getting to the airport early, etc) takes about 23 hours (although Delta claims it’s only 13.5 hours….okay…that’s actually in the air).
    And in Venice you have to also consider the logistics of getting to and from the airport!
    But then, like you, I have the luxury of being retired and having all that precious commodity….TIME.
    Lovely pictures. My late husband was also crazy about trains and their workings/workers.


    • gooddayrome January 2, 2016 at 19:13 #

      It’s nice to know not everyone thinks we are crazy! I wish we could do such travel in the U.S!

      Liked by 1 person

      • mvaden1948 January 2, 2016 at 19:31 #

        I remember thinking that exact same thing while traveling by train in the UK.
        Way back in the day (I was probably 18 or 19) my parents or my boyfriends parents would drive us to the train station in Fullerton, CA and we would catch the train into Los Angeles (big beautiful Union Station) and we would walk from there and catch a play or a musical show at the Music Center (yes, it was relatively easy walking distance and was a matinee so we were pretty much walking in daylight), on the way we would stop at Olivera Street (the old Mexican street) for lunch and after the show walk back and catch the train home and one or the other parents would pick us up. It made for a great and yes, cheap, outing.


  5. Chloe Erkenbrecher January 2, 2016 at 18:14 #

    That is some traveling on trains. The last time we took a train from Paris to Rome, it took so many hours that we swore we would never do that trip again. Maybe we can change our mind now that they have speeded thing up.


    • gooddayrome January 2, 2016 at 18:17 #

      We just hate to fly, and when you figure you have to allow about 3 hours to go to FCO before a flight, a couple of hours in the air, and another 1-2 hours to get into Paris, a 7.5 hour train ride with 30 minutes of transport on either end doesn’t look so bad. We bring a light lunch, read, nap, and you can get up and walk around.


  6. Maarja January 2, 2016 at 14:58 #

    I can hardly wait to get on a train when we are in Europe! I love it as much as you do!


    • gooddayrome January 2, 2016 at 15:04 #

      We are already planning a return to London and Paris in April!!


  7. Little Miss Traveller January 2, 2016 at 13:49 #

    I love long. Rail journeys too!


    • gooddayrome January 2, 2016 at 15:04 #

      Hi LMT! What’s the longest trip you’ve taken?



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