I use train for most of my trip. Except for my round trip Indonesia-Europe flight, i flew once inside europe with Ryan Air. I rode bus round trip Dortmund-Berlin. The rest was train. Why? Because, after browsing a lot, i found that train was the most common option to travel in europe. Some say that train in europe become more and more expensive lately, even more expensive than flying!
There are also option, name “car-share”. My CS guest told me about it. I tried to look further about this car-sharing. I joined carpooling.uk. I didn’t find any car goes the same direction with me, in the same date i want. Anyway…… I have learn to trust strangers, more than 5 years in CS, but i still a bit reluctant with this car pooling system. So, i didn’t try it, i stick on train.
I booked almost all my train ticket from Indonesia. Because, i read everywhere in the net, booking in advance would be so much cheaper! And YES it is cheaper to book 1 month in advance, except for short ride. It would be the same price anyway. So, i booked almost all my ticket, and got it printed. It is impressive, we can booked the ticket via internet, print the QR code or save them on the smartphone, and pay it with either credit card or even paypal! It is damn convenient!!
For traveling inside Italy, i’m using Trenitalia. They except payment via paypal. Don’t forget to tick the “find best price” box on the search box. Be careful, this website using Italian and English, but….. all the cities are in Italian. Some cities in Italian have a very different version in English. For example, the real Italian name for Florence city is Firenze.
Beside Trenitalia, i also using thalys to travel from Paris (France) to Rotterdam (the Netherlands). It is expensive! Around 56 EUR. I have another option, they’re bus. Of course they’re slower a lot that hi-speed-Thalys….. Too bad, i was in a rush. I need to see an old friend in Rotterdam, i’d rather spend more time with her, than saving some euros, so….. i took Thalys.
Another train i use was SNCF, to travel from Bassel (Switzerland) to Strasbourg (France). This one i booked in in Dortmund (Germany). Because, they didn’t gave “ticketless” option for me. It was weird! They put the option, but i couldn’t tick it. I was thinking it is probably because i’m not in EU area. But, i was wrong! When i was in Germany, the option still off. So, i asked them to mailed it, at least it was free of charge to mail around EU. They can mail it to Indonesia though, but….i don’t trust Indonesia mail service….. Sorry….
I bought my ticket from Pisa to Florence on the spot. Most of the time, i bought my ticket on the machine. It was convenient, they always have english option on the machine. I was commuting from Mestre to Venice for 2 days, of course i bought the ticket on the spot. In the Netherlands, the machine only except payment from particular card, and of course i don’t have it. So, i bought it in the counter.
For the short ride, they didn’t gave us seat number. It means…… the train sometimes got really full, so u can not seat. Well, it is short ride anyway, stand up for 30 min would not kill. Yes, train in Europe sometimes got really full! But none of the passenger climb to the roof, unlike in Indonesia. I guess, seating outside the train during autumn and winter time are not so fun. Something i envy about short ride train in europe is, they’re a lot! It leaves almost every 15 min! So, if u missed your train, no worries, wait for the next one. In short ride train, ticket are hardly checked. I would say never checked. So, if you think that traveling by train in europe without buying a ticket is kinda cool and adventurous, u can try it.
Another option to move from A to B in Europe are bus. I traveled to berlin by Meinfernbus. The website is in Deutch, sorry….. They’re a lot cheaper than train! It is around 30 EUR round trip. It took 6 hour from Dortmund to Berlin. Meanwhile, train would took only 4,5 hours, the cheapest would be 29 EUR single journey!!