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Train Travel: Lucerne to Salzburg to Munich to Berlin

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My husband and I will be traveling by train between these cities in June. The Munich to Berlin train is overnight. We have never traveled by train in Europe and would appreciate any helpful suggestions (food, comfort, luggage, etiquette)? Thank you.

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    The best way from Lucerne to Salzburg is via Zurich. There are two fairly convenient departures, and from Zurich the train is direct to Salzburg, with no changes. On the Zurich-Salzburg trains there are excellent Dining Cars, which you can visit for a snack, a few drinks, or a full meal. A trolley also passes through the train serving coffee and light snacks etc. at your seat. There are luggage stacks at the ends of each car, but keep an eye on things, without being paranoid.
    Early Train, leaves Lucerne 0810, arrives Zurich 0857, for the 0933 departure to Salzburg, arriving 1529.
    Later train leaves Lucerne 1210, arriving Zurich 1257, for the 1333 departure to Salzburg, arriving 1929.
    As you can see the journey is quite long but the scenery is always interesting, and at times spectacular. Sit on the right hand side if you can.
    To shorten the journey, (which I did) consider leaving the train at Innsbruck (arrives 1319 and 1719), and continuing to Salzburg the next day. Innsbruck, I feel is much more interesting city, with a definite Alpine/Tyrolean feel about it.
    From Salzburg to Munich there is at least one fast direct train per hour, journey time one and a half hours.
    Hope this helps.

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    I like this forum. There are so many different opinions on the same subject. We took the afternoon train to Salzburg from Zurich last summer. By the time we were in Zurich, we had already travelled 3 hours from Wengen.

    Luzern - Zurich was a high speed commuter train. It was a modern double decker train. We sat on upperdeck looking to the South to see the lakes go by. Very comfortable.

    We did not find Zurich-Salzburg section that interesting. However, we travelled early thru Interlaken and Luzern so the western Austrian landscape did not look as spectacular.

    The Zurich-Salzburg train was an Austrian train. We had a compartment all to ourself for the entire trip. Just after entering Austria, grim faced custom officials with guns took away our passports and returned to us may be 15 minutes later with smiles. I did not find food interesting on this section. We wished we had a time to grab something at a station on the way. We went to the dinning car just after leaving the Zurich station. The restaurant took either Austrian Schillings or Swiss Franc PAPER MONEY, but no Swiss COINS.

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    Hello!
    Be sure and get a sleeper car for your overnight trip. You'll get a bunk bed with linens and a pillow, a sink, lock on the door and probably enough room for your luggage. The other option is a couchette, where there are 6(?) bunks in a car and you sleep next to strangers. You have to reserve either ahead. On any long trips, be sure to reserve seats. Otherwise you may get stuck in a smoking car (if you don't smoke this really sucks) or you may have to scramble for a seat. I live in Germany and travel a lot by train. I always take food and drinks, just because what they sell on the train is expensive and there's not always much selection.

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    Fodors

    Food is good but a touch expensive on Europen trains. On the other hand, the pleasure of eating and drinking well while fine countryside passes you is worth the price. I suggest that on your first trip you make a poiint of visiting the restaurant car, whether you're going to eat or not, to see the sort of thing on offer. Menus include English, and the waiters speak English and take credit cards. I have not tried to pay in a currency other than the one o the country where the restaurant car happened to be, so cannot comment on Greg's problem. I must say that in Britain a refusal to take coins would be illegal. Our money has the Queen's head on it, and Victorian laws lay down that dealers of every kind must accept it. The goulasch soup on German trains, with roll and butter, is very good indeed.

    The comfort is high. Most trains let you choose between a 6-seat compartment, god for snoozing, and an open saloon coach, good for sightseeing.

    You take your luggage with you, and porters are few and fairly expensive. No matter. In Germany all big stations have luggage trolleys, and many have lifts, so you just release a trolley with a coin (any passer by will show you how), and wheel your luggage around -- to the taxi or tram outside if you like.
    When you board the train you lift your luggage up to train floor level, and inside you lift your luggage to the luggage rack. Aged 63, and tubby, I often find helpful young people (especially young men with girl friends beside them) who offer or are are glad to do the lifting. You don't pre-check the bags, and there are no luggage thieves on your trains.

    No special etiquette, I think. Saloon cars are better for conversation, as strangers who don't want to talk can move a seat or two away. In general, please watch your fellow-travellers' body language, and please yourselves talk in low voices. I fear that some American tourists were raised on Texas cattle farms. Once you're seated you might put your tickets into a good pocket, as an inspector will ask to see them. As Greg implies, a smile for the passport and ticket inspectors is not wasted. I must say I've never had my passport taken away -- perhaps Greg looks like a famous drug dealer !

    There is good lakeside scenery east of Lucerne, and once your international train reaches Bludenz in Austria you're amongst the Vorarlberg Alps, with splendid scenery to Innsbruck, from Woirgl to Rosenheim, and just before Salzburg. And in fact I like the meadowlands of Bavaria, as well. If you're in first class you cn use a panorama car on the Transalpin. This is Mr Albury's "early btrain" that leaves Zurich at 0933, Sargans at 1033, Buchs at 1052 and Feldkirch a 1111. But in fact a saloon car in any train will serve you well, and you get good views from the restaurant car, too.

    If yoiu take Mr Albury's good advice to break at Innsbruck you might want to use the more beautiful route to Salzburg, with a change at Bischofshofen. The 1125 Styrian Springs express leaves Innsbruck, offers lkunch amidst great views, and reached Nischoshofen at 1408. A quick change there (it's a small sstion)n tothe 1411, and ou're in Salzburg at 1453.

    Salzburg to Munich takes you back for an hour the way you came, through south Bavaria. The ninety-minute trip goes well with lunch, served on both the 1206 and the 1306 EuroStar trains from Salzburg. You can't have your bags in the restaurant car, so you leave them anywhere in a car next door.

    The overnight train (Nachtzug) leaves Munich main station at 2306 and reaches Berlin Zoo at 0706. This is a short night, but you can get more sleep if you go to bed at Munich Ost station any time from 20.30 (8.30 pm), and leave the train at Berlin Ost at 0721. In Munich you'd dine, then take any local train over to Munich Ost. In Berlin you'd arrive at Berlin Ost, and take the elevated railway, the S-Bahn, to your hotel and breakfast. If you'd like to give me the street address of your hotel I can give you detail.


    Ben Haines, London

    o

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