Europe Transportation Tips by sourbugger Top 5 Page for this destination
Europe Transportation: 292 reviews and 272 photos
The alternative to Eurostar - low cost flights
LONDON and PARIS
Connections between London and Paris are superb. The Eurostar trains whisks you betwen the two cities, via the channel tunnel, in under three hours.
And most of that feels like the trundle through south London.
As the number of trains expands, it will be possible in time to get more direct connections, or even through trains from place like Peterborough or Doncaster. I can see Eurostar will have a ready market in those place for short-breaks in Paris, but the other way round ?
Can you imagine the advertising "Bored of Art , culture, fine architecture, superb food and elegant fashion ?.....then find the opposite in rainy Doncaster....once visted, never remembered."
ABOUT LONDON St Pankers :
The impressive station is in effect a very large airy glasshouse that snakes it way along the northern edge of the main Waterloo Terminal. Connections from here are excellent.
From Nov 2007 you will be able to arrive at the new Eurostar station built at St Pancreas/King's Cross, that will cut out the need to trundle through the South london Suburbs at about 20 Mph in a train built to do 200MPH +
ABOUT THE THE GARE DU NORD : IT is nowadays the Parisien terminus of the Eurostar trains coming in from London.
The station has recieved a 'makeover' in the last few years. Just consider these lines from a travel writer in the Guardian newspaper : "Arriving at the Gare du Nord by métro in the early '80's, was like ascending from a colorful coal mine to a dark hanger, full of smoke."
Few people hand around the place when coming or going, but it is worth looking at the Facade of the building which feature nine statues symbolising Nine Northern French towns or cities that can be reached from this station.
I also like the 'atmosphere' of the departure board, with destinations listed right across Northern Europe - London, Germany, Holland and even up to the Scandanavian countries.
A boring, ultilitarian name for a station it might be - but it does exactly what it says on the tin !
Another one for the road, please !
A few years ago the EU gave Ireland 45 million Euro for road improvements. One wag commented that this must work out to about 23cent a pothole !
Ireland is however preparing to massivley invest in it's transport infrastructure :
With the launch of the glossy 'Transport 21', Ambitious schemes are on the cards.
The largest chunk of the money will inevitably be spent in Dublin. A two line metro, extensions to the tram (LUAS) and DART systems will all go ahead. St Stephens green will apparantly becom Dublins' answer to 'Grand Central Station'. Therefore expect major delays all over the place (no change there then !).
Out in the country there will be motorways built from Dublin to Galway, Cork, Limerick and Waterford. There will also be a 'western corridor' stretching from Letterkenny in the north to Waterford in the south, by way of Sligo, Galway, Limerick and Cork.
Not to be outdone, the railways will also get a boost and the Western rail corridor between Sligo and Cork will be partially reopened.
All this work comes at a price - expect major delays in the years to come. Expect riches beyond your wildest dreams if you are a concrete supplier.
ENGLAND - FRANCE
The big hole in the ground between England and France is one the largest, costliest and most impressive pieces of major engineering completed in the 20th century. Some have called it one of the seven wonders of the modern age.
The project cost billions, and it is still very deeply in debt.
You can get you car across to England (or visa versa) for about 100 pounds, depending upon time of travel. There are also special offers from time-to-time.
You have to drive your car onto a train, before it zooms across in about 35 minutes. It all works very efficiently and smoothly.
Rather oddly, although foot passengers cannot use the service, those with bicycles can. You put the bike on the train and travel across ina minibus on the train. At 32 pounds return - that is good value.
Ferry, cross the mersey...etc...ad nauseum
The ferry between Liverpool and Birkenhead (UK) was at one point the busiest in the world, even busier than the Staten Island ferry in New york, or the Star ferry in Hong Kong.
It went into decline with the building of the rail and two road tunnels under the river. Thankfully a bridge was never built so the full sweep of the Quayside can be seen - a vista that will soon be acknowledged as a UNESCO world heritage site.
The River explorer fare of Two pounds 40 pence is reasonable as you do get a taped commentary talking about the Liverpool riverside, Birkenhead and New Brighton along with a compulsory short burst of the "Ferry 'cross the Mersey" song.
The circuit takes about 50 minutes, although you can break your journey in a couple of places.
It is however only half that price for a short 10-minute hop across in the week on the regular commuter ferry.
The pierhead complex on the Birkenhead town side is certainly worth a stop with several artefacts, and a whole tram to look at, along with an impressive cafe. Just outside the building an historic tram travels about a mile up to the museum.
Norse Merchant ferries operated a service between Birkenhead (opposite Liverpool) and Dublin, it has now been taken over by a company called Norfolkline. Fares and service don't seem to have changed.
Most of the sailings are overnight, although some 'daybreaker' sailings are timetabled.
The company is mainly reliant of freight transport, and takes car and foot passengers as something of a sideline.
From Birkenhead you board around 8PM, before sailing at 10PM. This gives you chance to settle in to your cabin and enjoy a surprisingly good four course meal in the restaurant. Both of these 'frills' are included in the price of the ticket, as is a cooked breakfast in the morning.
It's unusual to find a company these days that believes in adding 'frills' rather than taking the 'bare bones' approach to transport.
They are also often a good bit cheaper than ferries on the shorter Holyhead-Dublin or South Wales - Rosslare routes. Routes from Scotland to Northern Ireland are shorter and cheaper, but you have to go to Scotland first (sorry, that sounds awful doesn't it, but you know what I mean)
Welcome on board
National Express coaches are one of the main budget options to travelling around the UK. Some fares area as low as one pound, whilst they often have promos offering no trip for more than about 10 pounds.
One of the downsides of coach travel has been the high probability that a 'complete nutter' will accompany for your entire journey.
National express have now solved thus one by allowing you to buy the next seat to you at a reduced price. The extra legroom will no doubt be a bonus, but you will feel a complete prat when the Swedish exchange student in the tartan miniskirt fails to ask if the seat next to you is taken, because you reserved it. oops.
Vatican city railway station
Here's a good trivia question :
What has the Vatican city got 862 meters of that Afganistan and Malta have none of ?
Answer : Railway line.
This knowledge will make you an anorak, but you will still need to use the Metro (Ottaviano on Line A) to get to the Vatican and walk, as the railway station is only used for supplies to the papal state.
I can't be arsed to walk up
One of the delightful features of English Seaside town is the 'cliff railway'
Southend-on-sea, Essex, UK in common with many other such seaside places dotted around the coast has one of these funicular railways, which climbs the cliff face.
These were all the rage in the late Victorian period and every new seaside resort needed it's cliff lift (unless they were utterly flat like Skegness)
Southend's is a compartively late development as it was only opened in 1912.
The 'Cliff railway' as it is grandly called, runs from the seafront promenade (to the London side of the pier) up to an area called 'Clifftown' which is well worth a wander as it was developed with cresents and villas to kick-start the tourist trade in the early part of the 20th century.
Usually open from Easter through to October
"Your only supposed to blow the bloody doors off..."
Torino, italy is of course the setting for one of the most famous comedy films of all time.. the classic 'italian Job' starring Michael Caine from 1969.
For those who have never seen film, the basic plot is that a group of London Gangsters take a pile of FIAT gold by causing a massive traffic Jam in Turin. The only way out of the city is my the nimble mini-coopers decked out appropriately enough, in red white and blue.
The chase sequence at the end of the film is possibly one of the longest and most fondly remembered in cimema history.
There is a company that will escort you around the sights, or for an extra charge actually in a mini. They website is wonderful and shows that they are true afficianardos of the film.
You could of course do the same thing yourself armed with a portable DVD player, a good city map and a bit research off the net !
Update : May 2004.
The company was featured in the 'Driving' section of the Sunday times on the 9th May. I also learnt there that the head of Fiat talked the Torinese authorities into staging a real traffic jam for the cameras - many of the reaction shots on the film with people slamming their hand on horns and the like are in fact real - it could only happen in Italy. Bravo !
Update : Aug 04. The company mentioned above have just e-mailed me. They point out that to find the locations yourself would take ages - they have put a great deal of time and effort into finding virtually every location - look 'em up if your in town.
Type: Car/Motor Home
landlocked San marino
San Marino is not exactly blessed with flat land.
The San Marino Grand Prix (Formula 1) thus takes place in Italy at Imola rather around the narrow cobbled streets of this tiny country : now that is a thought - that really would be a test for the Ferrari's and Williams !
In a similar way the nearest airports to San Marino are definetly in another country. Rimini airport is not very far at all and now has a regular service to London by Easyjet.
Forli airport is also quite close and it too has a daily service to London, this time by Ryanair.
Unless you are hiring a car, connections are much easier from Rimini airport. Indeed from Forli they are virtually non-existent, and a friend of mine also claims it is also not signposted in any way either !
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