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I am a new wife and a new addition to the adult world. I have finally started my career as a teacher and I am trying to live my life while waiting for the next step (house and family). I am trying to keep up with my love for writing. I do it because it allows me to relive an adventure already taken or to create an experience I may not have had. I am currently teaching, trying to write a book, working on this blog, and loving on my adorable and awesome husband.

Aug 5, 2014

Trains in Europe / Using a Eurail Pass

Trains and eurail passes are difficult to use but not impossible. Warning: buying 1st class eurail passes does not guarantee you a seat in 1st class or even on the train. You DO need to make a "reservation", which really is an extra charge to be able to have a seat on the train. While eurail suggests making reservations 90 days in advance. We found we could get 1st class tickets by purchasing them just 3 days ahead or so (Traveling July 25th - August 12th). Our first ticket we bought day of and couldn't get on a very direct train and were only offered standard seats. Bottom line, even with the eurail pass you have to get an actual ticket per train ride and pay extra for each ticket if you want a seat. Also you must fill out the eurail paperwork attached to your pass BEFORE the train conductor checks your ticket, or he will be happy to lecture you about how it's fraud not to and may even fine you. Expect your conductor to be unfriendly and unhelpful. Another notable tip if someone's in your seat: old people, families, mean looking men, just tell them it's your seat. They risked not having a seat because they probably aren't going far but they will sit wherever and even if you give them the "Ah that's my seat LOOK and BODY LANGUAGE" they won't move unless you speak up. And they may give you the stink eye but do you really want to stand with all your luggage when you just paid an extra $30-$90 for a seat??
Buying your ticket is another task. You can go to the ticket window where you have to get a number in most places like we used to at
the deli but it will be awhile. Maybe even an hour or two. Another option is buying your ticket at the self service machine. Which you can do with your eurail pass and we tried to show you how here. All in all the trains vary in niceness (the longest rides won't always be on the nicest trains), they are mostly on time, and they are the best financial choice for traveling Europe.
OH! And there is this ear thing no one has ever mentioned. When you are on a train, especially the high speed trains,  and it goes through a tunnel your ears react like you're on a plane. Doesn't seem to happen in the subway, guess those are not going fast enough. But consider yourself forewarned.

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