Experiencing my first night train from Berlin to Vienna, of interrailing this trip and ever, was a learning experience simply from making the reservation; seat, ‘cushette’ (6-bed wagon in a carriage) or private room with shower. I opted for the ‘cushette’ to remain in budget as it only came to 15 euros, and shared a room with a lovely family. However, I spent most of the evening from the 1823 departure and 0609 arrival sat at the window in the corridor blogging and reflecting.
I was on day eight of my two month trip and it felt both like an eternity and no time at all. Was I really en route to my fifth country and sixth destination? It felt like everything was going to plan so far, even though some of the actual train travel aspects have been confusing and challenging; the queuing and ticket systems have already varied greatly and the manner in which the staff greet you seems completely random! If you can, book online to avoid queues for international journeys, which often have less delegated staff and long waiting times. I choose to do it in person because I like to have everything confirmed with a human being and to know I have the ticket or reservation in hand, no worries. If you’re the same, turn up early or get your departure reservation sorted when you arrive at the train station you’ll also leave from, rather than waiting for your departure date.
The eleven hour journey reminded me of the train from Bergen to Olso, as a lot of scenery passed by, however this time in a golden haze. In particular, Dresdon was a highlight to see from the tracks.
In Austria, I have the morning to myself before meeting with my old workmate and friend Ali, whose in the middle of a cycling tour across Europe. I’ve taken a £35 hit to see him as I’ve changed hostel adresses, but he is caning it across the continent to meet me in time!
Enjoying the night train?
The accommodation on the train is as you’d expect; efficient with space, fairly comfortable and with the little tiny reminders of the Harry Potter films (if you’re one for utilising a bit of imagination). For me, spending the night on a train was quite exciting and as I took to my bunk I relished the thought that as I slept I was being taken across the Germany-Austria border and back in to my unlimited data package 🙂
I was a bit nervous about re-entering the cabin as I was essentially invading a family holiday! Once in, sleep wasn’t hard to come by as I’ve been travelling for just over a week and needed to get some extra forty-winks in. It was however quite warm and the door had to be locked. As we boarded the train the evening before, our tickets (so my interrail pass) were taken from us at the same time as we were offered tea or coffee in the morning. I hadn’t realised they did this before, obviously for security reasons, and it felt as if someone had taken my passport as it had become such a precious document to me.
Woken up by the guard forty minutes before arrival was quite pleasant with a little tap and a ‘morning’ call through the cabin door, after which he presented each of us with a hot drink and a chocolate croissant. I had no idea they gave you breakfast included, so this was a nice sleepy bonus. Otherwise on the journey, they don’t offer food or a buffet, only drinks, both soft and alcoholic, so try and have a hot meal before boarding.
Pass returned to me in the morning, I was greeted with Austria in a stunning light. I sleepily exited the train to navigate the metro to the latest hostel, the whole day ahead of me. The city was showing some signs of activity, in my view, mainly from backpackers and train staff…