I recently blogged about renting a car in Panama. As I stated, I almost never rent a car when I travel outside the US. I love taking trains, particularly in Europe. I find them very reliable, fairly comfortable, safe and clean.
When my daughter was 10 months old, she and I took a train trip across Europe. We visited 6 countries in 28 days – Italy, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Germany. We used trains to get between the countries and it worked well.
Just two things I would like to share in particular. The train stations in Eastern Europe did not usually have elevators. I had to often ask for help as I had a baby, a stroller, two suit cases and two carry-ons. As you can see from my photo, I got it down to a science. I actually had a crib in one of the suitcases.
When I was doing hospitality stays (3 countries) there was always someone to greet me and help! Priceless! Another great benefit for staying with people!
One other thing to mention. I always dreamed about an exciting overnight train ride in a sleeper car. On the same trip above, I booked Ellie and I an overnight ride from Bucharest to Budapest. It wasn’t as wonderful as I had imagined. We got in one car and just as we were settling our porter said we could move to a bigger private cabin at no charge. Of course I moved! The rooms are like my old bunk on my navy ship, only smaller ;-0. It as very difficult to sleep with the loud noises of the train. When I finally passed out there was banging on the door, it was Romanian Customs looking for my ID at the border. Then as I fell back to sleep I was awakened by Hungarian Border Patrol looking for my passport. Finally, I was free from ID checks and at 5 was awakened by my porter. He said I had to move back to my original car. UGHHHH!
Next time I do a sleepover car it will be in a country where I don’t have to cross borders. Lesson #59