"AROUND THE WORLD BY TRAIN #4 EUROPE" Personal Page by DennyP
Moscow was such an enjoyable experience although the time there was shorter than I would have liked..but a good excuse to Return..I was overwhelmed by the friendliness of the Russian people that I dealt with..The city of Moscow just had so many things to see and so many things to do time just seemed to evaporate in all that lovely sunshine that I had enjoyed..after the coldness of Siberia and the Urals the sun was a much welcomed friend and to feel its warmth was a real treat.
Having witnessed as many of the sights that I had time for, I booked my onward going ticket from Moscow to the city of Tallinn in Estonia.The ticket window was #26 at the rear of the main booking hall of the station which I found after a long search..here at Leningradsky Station the crowds were big, as was the station and I was wondering if it was maybe a holiday time as there were just so many people queing for tickets at so many different ticket windows .I had difficulty finding the correct window to make my booking..I was surprised that being such an International location nobody spoke english..
The day that I left Moscow was late afternoon and made my way to the Main Railway station "Leningradsky" for my journey west. Like"Yaroslavsky "station that serves trains from the Eastern routes ie: Vladivostok (Trans Siberian), Beijing (Trans Mongolian) and Harbin(Trans Manchurian) at this station "Leningradsky" is just as big and impressive so, after all the wonderful weather I had while in Moscow I no sooner got to the station and the sky suddenly opened up and it poured with rained very heavily for quite sometime.I thought how lucky I was while here to have such good sunny days.Always on such large railway stations while waiting to board the train "people watching" is at its best...and here was no exception...so many travellers look lost ,struggling with so much luggage , so many boxes ,some tied togeather with string ..and their faces with expressions of uncertainty about where they are !!
The 18.05 "Tallinna Express" was available to board about 20 minutes before leaving...I showed the "provodnik" my ticket and was shown to my berth ..A comfortable 4 bed birth that I shared with one other traveller returning to Estonia..I thought to myself as I looked out at the rain pouring down how good it was that trains don't have flat tyres!!..The trip was a pleasant one as we cleared the outlying suburbs of the city and as it was now quite dark, we were not long under way and was served hot coffee..my companion in the berth was pleasant and we talked of the economy and the hard life in Russia of the not so well off..I made my bed with the clean sheets etc supplied and settled down to sleep for awhile before being woken by Russian border and immigration officials..we quickly had passports scrutinised and stamped and the same with entering into Estonia.I was now in the EU and able to travel visa free for the rest of my European Journey.I awoke to somewhat different countryside...seemed more organised somehow..lovely farms and much more orderly infrastructure..streets and signs etc..I arrived in Tallinn at around 6.15 am..and ready for a shower and more sleep..Welcome to this beautiful medieaval city of Tallinn..
MOSCOW TO TALLINN 1000 KMS PLUS..COST US $130.00
The trains within Estonia,Latvia and Lithuania were all local trains and not international and it was very hard to co-ordinate them for my Journey south to Warsaw ,and as my time to reach there was a limited one,although I much prefer to travel by train, I chose to travel to the various cities by bus..Euroline busses are comfortable,cheap and fast..my first journey was from Tallinn to Riga the capital of wonderful Latvia..The next journey after a really enjoyably interesting stay in Riga would take me from Riga to Kaunus in Lithuania ,and then on to Warsaw in Poland.I will write of these wonderful friendly places on their appropriate pages...
The Intercity express from Warsaw to Krakow was a short journey of just under three hours..the carriages were full and the berth was a six seater with all the fellow passengers returning to Krakow or heading there on Buisiness..This was the first small local train journey that I had done travelling and speaking with the locals rather than international travellers.The train was warm and comfortable travelling through some very scenic farmland set out like a patchwork quilt and very easy on the eye...The journey was fast and after some conversation and a serving of coffee and biscuits I arrived in Krakow..I had finally made it to Krakow for the big European VT meet of 2010..I had my doubts about arriving here on time especially after being robbed of my wallett and bank cards in Mongolia..
WARSAW TO KRAKOW 295 KLMS
The "Silesia Express" is a really comfortable train and my berth which I shared with a Danish VT friend from the big VT meet in Krakow and now were both heading for the beautiful city of Prague in the Czech Republic..The train departed Krakow "Glowny" station at 10 .25 and after a really good nights sleep in such a good two berth compartment we pulled into Prague "Hlavni "station at 06.55 the following morning..This was a really well appointed berth, with sink, towels ,soap and fresh water in sealed cups.all powerpoints for recharging of phones or cameras etc..lovely clean made up bed with very helpful staff..we were advised to make sure we were in the correct berth as the train had many different destinations being changed during the course of the night..said goodbye to Tim (Budapest)as he was on his way back to Budapest and on the end of the same train..Across on the other platform ,Hansi ,Claus,and a group of many other VTer's waiting for their train to take them on their way to Minsk...we all waved and departed Krakow.
The train to Berlin departed Prague early morning so it was a quick get up and go to the Main "Hlavni" Railway Station .. My compartment on this train was also a 6 seat compartment..this time with only four Passengers..I was out of puff after a brisk walk to the station..having previously purchased my ticket found my carriage and compartment # and fell into the seat..The trip to Berlin was pleasant as not long after leaving Prague Station two of the passengers in the compartment got off the train..so I had one side of the seats to lay out in..also my fellow passenger,a very friendly,polite and well spoken German Girl on her way back to Berlin to play in the local orchestra, and also, returning home for a brief visit with her family from studying Music in Vienna. Comfortably sprawled out on the other side of the compartment and explained that she was recovering from a late night of celebration the previous evening and was looking forward to seeing her family again..We spoke of many things , she appologised for her "not so good English" but it was, I thought ,very good. I wished that my German was as good, she also mentioned how happy she was that we had the compartment to ourselves and she could lay down and get some needed rest ..We had the compartment to ourselves all the way to Berlin..as we crossed the border from the Czech Republic into Germany the local immigration police paid scant attention to us both...I was really impressed upon arrival at the Berlin Hauptbahnhof...what an amazing ,impressive new building it is....really large with three levels of trains ..and all glass..I felt there was a certain excitement getting off the train at how good it was to be back in Germany once again...and knew what my first thing to do in the station was..and that was my find my favourite ...A German Sausage a"Bratwurst with Senf "(mustard)and kartoffel salat ( potato salada) and a cold German beer..excellent..nobody does it better..
After a quick visit to the Information office on the staion I was given a map of the city..(always a neccesity ) found my way through the usual crowd and out into the sunshine.and thought.. Hey Denny! "Welcome to Berlin".. a place that I had so long wanted to visit.... .. I had not far to go to my accomodation as it was located very close to the Station..I always, if possible, try and get the accomodation close by the Main Railway Station which is usually close to the City Centre...
During my stay in Berlin I decided that I would have to change my plans due to the fact that I was running out of funds...after being robbed of my wallet.. my finances were just about expired..so...instead of taking the "ICE TRAIN" from Berlin to Cologne ,and then the "THALYS" to Brussells and "EUROSTAR" to London as I had planned..I had to take a cheap flight from Berlin to Edinburgh..I could then take the express train from Edinburgh to London..so after sending my daughter in OZ all relevant flight info booked and flew to Edinburgh in Scotland..
The flight arrived in Edinburgh on a cold and wet summers day,,did the neccesary immigration check and was so glad when not questioned about my financial situation as that would have taken some explaining..I then made my way by bus to the main Central Railway Station..here I booked my ticket south to Darlington ...stored my luggage and set out for a good look around Edinburgh and to find the Hardrock cafe for something to eat. so many years since I was previously here but it could have been yesterday.Once again I was more than happy to be travelling by train so, at 16.10 boarded the Edinburgh to Bristol Express to get my 33 pounds worth ..
The late eveningI arrived in Darlington and I was picked up by a great friend ..and it was here that I stayed for two weeks..Having travelled extensively while working in the UK this was a part of the country that I had not seen much of.. also it was here that I picked up my new bank card that was waiting for me..I was elated, once again I was financial..I could book ongoing fares and accomodation.This was a wonderful two weeks spent with friends here in Stockton (so famous for its industial production )and also a lot of excursions into the countryside..visiting ,Durham,(famous for the cathedral) Whitby,(home of Captain Cook) Goathland (famous for popular the TV series"Heartbeat") and numerous other very regognisable places..I booked my train tickets here at the local station at Thornaby to York and then ongoing tickets from York to Manchester.
The journey from Thornaby to York on The "Trans Pennine Express" was comfortable and fast as it was here in York that I have always wanted to visit the world famous train Museum and see some of the worlds most famous trains and if you have a list of Museums to see on your travels..this British Railway Museum in York is "a must see" to look upon these engineering marvels in such pristine condition is really something to ponder about our magnificent bygone railway history......Then after spending a wonderfully memorable day in the ancient Roman walled city of York ,also noticeably famous for its Cathedral it was then onto the city of Manchester..
There were so many things that I wanted to see while in Manchester that I had previously missed.. although one was new since my last visit ,and that was the new Military "Imperial War Museum North".. My stay in Manchester was also highlighted by my visit to the small outlying town of "Bury" the home of the Lancashire Fusiliers and it was here that I especially wanted to visit their Military Museum..I was given a warm welcome as is usually the case with these small local military museums and although not large it was packed with the history of this famous regiment..
The chance to visit the HardRock Cafe was also on the list of things to do here ..
The London Express was waiting at the platform when I arrived at Manchester "Picadilly" Station..once again this was the fast Virgin Service south to London "Euston Station" via Stoke on Trent, Rugby,and Milton Keyes departing Manchester at 15.15 and arriving Euston at 17.25..This really is a fast service with well appointed carriages with all neccesary power outlets etc..a good buffet car..with expensive drinks etc. The trip was comfortable and fast..The arrival at London Euston was virtually on time and once again I'm back in London one of my favourite places..then made a "B line" by tube to Earls Court and my favourite pub "The Kings Head" for a "few beers and a nosh"and find my accomodation... I have finally made it !! ...SINGAPORE TO LONDON BY TRAIN ..Just a little different than I had planned but nevertheless completed....I will endeavour to write up seperate pages on these many places mentioned in these travelogues.
I intend also when possible to return to London so that I can take the train journeys that I was forced to postpone on this trip and those being THE EUROSTAR to Brussells, THE THALYS to Koln and the ICE TRAIN to Berlin.
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