The glaciers are retreating, the snow is falling later and more lightly and melting sooner in the spring. If you're going skiing in the alps - TAKE THE TRAIN - it's at least ten times less polluting. And you get an extra day on the slopes...
Whilst Goa is beautiful, jump on a train and head south to Fort Cochin in Kerala, with its “truly Indian” feel, unspoilt by ravers, the best food in the country and MUCH cheaper too.
It has an amazing fish market daily and at night the market becomes a series of outdoor restaurants. Watch the fishermen at dawn every day and sink a couple of ice cold beers as the sun sets over this little mini ‘island'.
Take an overnight train from Goa to Kerala.
The Airport Express is the express train that runs from HK international airport to central HK.
It costs 100 HKD to take a single and there are return tickets available if you are returning within 1 month.
On the return trip, you may be able to check in for your flight at Hong Kong station or Kowloon station. Check with your airline beforehand as this can save you some time.
Hong Kong International Airport
A narrow gauge railway of Edwardian vintage takes an hour to travel, literally, through the Tramuntana mountains, brooding for all the world like a stage set from The Sound of Music, via tunnels and gorges to the pretty town of Soller.
Along the way the solid mahogany carriages rattle and sway on their narrow gauge track for an hour until they reach a little station which here would be known as a wayside halt. The train takes a short rest while passengers are encouraged to stretch their legs and take a few photos.
Soller itself is pretty with its little Placa where there are some cafes and a church, I think it’s Saint Bartholomew’s, but we cannot find Saint Anthony anywhere inside to give him a few Euros.
Beautiful limes give a coolness of shade in the square to anyone who wants to sit and do nothing. A tiny toast-rack tram trundles through the square every thirty minutes, full of its own self-importance, and takes passengers down to the port. Essentially this was originally for moving oranges and lemons down to the coast, but now shifts crates of tourists instead.
Timetables of departures and arrivals may be printed on pretty coloured brochures, but when it comes to what time the train leaves to go back? Jump on the nearest one no matter what time it leaves. It doesn’t go anywhere else except Palma.
Budget airlines fly into Pisa - don't bother with the bus, the road is usually very busy into Florence. Get the train, there's a station at Pisa airport with regular trains to Florence; or go to Pisa Central where there are even more trains to Florence and it's cheaper.
It costs 1.3 lira (50p) for one journey on the modern funicular between Taksim Square and Kabatas and it is much better than taking a taxi. The trams and the ferry costs the same amount and the ferry, crossing from Europe to Asia, is a must.
Taksim Square, Istanbul.
Alongside the fast but expensive CAT train, there is an ordinary stopping train to the centre of Vienna (same station as the CAT) that costs far far less. Ideal unless you're in a real hurry, but you have to look for it at the airport (follow blue signs to trains, not the CAT green ones).
Vienna International Airport
Charming steam train that chuffs from Blaenau to Porthmadog and back on most days during the spring and summer. The hike between Tanygrisiau, Dduallt and Tan-y-Bwlch stations is particularly beautiful. The train traces a loop around a lake to reach Dduallt, and waiting at the halt feels a bit like standing in the middle of a giant train set.
Train travel can be a great experience in China. On my visit during October 2006 we had the opportunity to travel to a remote village to experience life untouched by modern China.
To get to our destination we travelled by train for seven hours and then a further two hours by taxi.
This was my first experience on a Chinese train and, to be honest, I was impressed. They were on time!
Arriving at the train station in Beijing we were amazed by the size of the station, it was massive compared to any train stations I have been to in the UK.
Twenty minutes before our departure time, the ticket collectors began to inspect tickets, there must have been 600+ people waiting their turn to get their tickets clipped. We didn't think there would be enough time for everyone to make the train and the allocated time for leaving.
We were worried as we were at the end of the queue and we may not have got on board in time. But having our own guide made the difference, she called a porter to carry our bags to the train. This was a great decision, the porter cost very little and he took us to the train by an underground walk way, by-passing the the 100s of people who were patiently waiting.
Once on board the train we located our accommodation. We had reserved a soft sleeper. This was a cosy compartment for four people and each had their own bed. The upper bunk beds cost a little less than the lower bunks. Each bed comes with its own bedding, ample for our needs.
A flask of hot water was provided and topped up as required by staff.
There are bathrooms located on each carriage, but don't expect western facilities, unless you use a T train.
Overall it was a really relaxing experience and later this year when i travel from Beijing to Xi'an I will use the train instead of flying.
So consider the train if you are travelling overnight, its a worthwhile experience.
Buy a Muni 1 ($11), 3 ($18) or 7-day ($24) visitor passport for unlimited rides on cable cars, streetcars (trams), trolleybuses and diesel buses, but not BART. Regular fare is $2 (Cable Car is $5).
If you're 65 or older, show your driver's license, ID or passport as proof of age and buy a Muni monthly Senior Pass ($15).
Muni's visitor passport and Senior Pass can be purchased at their kiosk (looks like a cable car) at the Powell-Market cable car turntable. You can also buy a Muni 2-for-1 street and transit map for $3 there.
Muni is the nickname of the San Francisco Municipal Railway, America's oldest public-owned large city public transit system (1912) and probably the last to call itself a railway.
Muni (San Francisco Municipal Railway)
Phone: 311 (within San Francisco)
1 (415) 701-2323 (outside San Francisco)
The two hour journey from Mostar to Sarajevo may not be Europe’s most widely appreciated train journey but is a real hidden gem offering breath-taking scenery at a credit crunch-busting bargain fair of around £5. Connecting these two beguiling cities in a truly fascinating corner of Europe, that for now at least remains a little off the beaten track, the train follows the emerald green Neretva River from Mostar as it winds its way up into the Dinaric Alps before emerging into a lush green valley, nestled at the heart of which is the sprawling city of Sarajevo.
Indian flights are very cheap and it's tempting. But if you have the time and the patience, Indian trains reward like no other journey.
The Indian train is a travelling village in itself. You will be sold to constantly. Some things you will want - chai in the moring, samosa in the evening - and some things you will not.
Despite the bad image of India as a hard-sell place, there's no obligation to buy and the seller will move on if you are not interested. The good bit is, you can do all your shopping in one journey, from bajee to clothing.
The trains are more than a kilometre long (which is truely awesome in itself), and are a lifeline to many Indians. And far more eco-friendly than flying.
This is the highest train line in the world with the exception of the new Tibetan plateau line.
While the Lima to Huancayo section only operates a few days a year, this section is open almost every day. If the timetable does not suit you, you can even arrange for a private one-carriage train.
It's a very slow steam-train journey (8 to 10 hours) through breathtaking Andean landscapes.
When night falls, there are no lights in the train, you just go on travelling in pitch black. Candles available for sale, or make sure you have a head light.
Once in Huancavelica, stay a few days to enjoy this remote Andean town, far from the Gringo Trail. This, is the real Peru!
Hunacayo station, Departamento de Junin.
If you have more time while in Italy and want to experience one of its most beautiful countrysides, take the Eurostar train from the Termini station in Rome and go to Florence.
The trip takes you about 1h and 50 min and it is all worth it. You dart through Tuscany at 200 km an hour on your way to Florence and you see for yourself the undulating hills, the cypress trees and on the top of the hill, villas and agriturismi Tuscany is known for.
And once you get to Florence go off the beaten tourist track – do visit the market of Florence and dive into the colourful atmosphere, the smell of leather and the art of bargaining. You can find there some great gift to carry home – especially the pashmina shawls and the silk ties.
I love going to Florence from Rome – even for a day and if you find the time to do it you will not regret it.
For more Italy travellers inspiration here is a cool blog: www.italytravelnotes.com
Private double sleeping berth, with dinner and breakfast, for $60 each way. It is fantastic to watch Egypt go by in the night and very romantic though the train is a bit 'grubby' but after a bottle of wine (sold on board!) you won't notice!
It is cheaper to book it yourself than through the travel agents in Luxor itself. The train leaves Luxor around 9pm and gets into Cairo at about 7am.
Email to reserve - www.sleepingtrains.com
And specify you want to pick your tickets up in Luxor (the office is on Platform 1). You have to pick up/pay for your tickets the day before (sometimes 24 hours).
Take the free bus from the airport to the railway platform about 500 metres from the airport and then catch the train into central Krakow.You can pick up a time table from the tourist information desk inside the airport. There are about three an hour.
For $3 an MTA daily travel pass allows you to range as far and wide as you like via bus and metrorail train. Riding the bus is not only by far the cheapest way to get around (and out of) LA, it's also the best way to experience the city's fantastically complex social, racial and cultural mix. Passes can be bought from bus drivers or at Metrorail stations. Journeys can be planned in detail ahead of time by using the MTA's excellent website (www.mta.net).
It is a very lovely train ride along the River Plate (Río de la Plata). In San Isidro Station there is a nice shopping centre with cafes etc.
From Retiro Station, take the train that ends in Bartolome Mitre, then cross the bridge and take the Tren de la Costa to Tigre.
The train journey from Tangier to Marrakech is one of the best I've been on. You can't purchase tickets outside Morocco, but we had no problem buying them on the day. The trains are comfortable and spacious and very cheap (the 10 hour trip cost about £20, imagine that in the UK!?)
We met some interesting characters on the train, who were eager to talk to us and help us when it came to switching trains. Perhaps the best thing though is that you get to see the countryside and small towns along the way that you would normally be flying over! Well worth the slight more effort involved!
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