High-speed train travel: questions

Old Nov 18th, 1998, 08:00 AM
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High-speed train travel: questions

Has anyone taken the Euopean high-speed train? Could you share your experiences/impressions of this travel mode? Is the countryside just a blur or can you "sightsee" the countryside during the trip?
Old Nov 18th, 1998, 09:15 AM
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I had wondered the same thing! You can see more than I thought - it's not a blur, but of course goes by real fast!!
Old Nov 19th, 1998, 08:16 AM
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I have travelled the high speed several times from Naples to Rome and you could sight see and the train was cleaner, a free snack and drink are offered and the seats are seperate. However there have been recent concerns about their safety since several accidents have occured in Italy with them over the last two years. Also if you tend to get car sick the chances of getting ill are increased on the fast trains.
Old Nov 20th, 1998, 01:08 AM
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There is actually a difference between the "real" high speed trains (such as the French TGV, and the Spanish AVE) and the pendular ones, such as the Italian "pendolino" the previous post was referring to. On that latter type, the principle being that the train cars are moving on their axis to enable a higher speed, it's normal that you have a certain sea-sickness. French TGV is different, since the structure of the train is normal, only the tracks differ, since they have been built to sustain 300 km/hour commercial speeds. The curves are thus much smoother, the ride is actually much less bumpy than in a conventional train. But, yes, the landscape is a blur (not when it is totally rural, though), you can't read the stations' names(when you are not at a halt, of course ! ). But, beware, speed and confort are addictive : after having traveled years on the French TGV, I felt like decades backwards when I took a German train last month (it was not ICE, Germany's own brand of high-speed train).
Old Nov 24th, 1998, 06:48 AM
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I have been traveling the French TGV trains for about nine years now, and they are the "best" way to travel inside France. The trains are clean, quiet, and offer an incrediblely smooth ride. If you purchase a rail pass it is worth paying the few extra bucks for first class; the seats are bigger and softer. But be aware that when you ride the TGV you must reserve your seats; this costs about $4 - $5 extra per person. Nevertheless, this has the benefit that if you travel with friends you can reserve "club" seats in first class. These are semi-private, glass-ensconced seats for four. If you go to out-of-the-way places, however, you will have to change to the slower "Rapide" trains. And as for the countryside being a blurr -- this is only true if you're interested in seeing the detail of things that pass by a couple of feet away from the train. Otherwise, you won't miss a thing of the towns, stone-wrought farms and grazing animals and vineyards that go rolling by.
Old Nov 24th, 1998, 07:11 AM
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I must agree with Vincent about getting addicted. These high speed trains are clean, comfortable, you arrive to the city center without all the airport hassle... I do love the TGV, the Thalys, the AVE, the ICE, and donīt forget the Eurostar. And donīt worry. You will be able to watch the landscape passing by.
Old Nov 25th, 1998, 02:56 PM
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The trains are the best way to get around Europe. But I wouldn't count on them for sightseeing. In my experience, you don't see that much. A few fields, skylines of small cities or towns, etc. Maybe in the Alps you can some great views. I enjoyed looking at the Mediterranean from the Lighurian Coast of Italy, but the bad part was--I couldn't get off the train! If you want to sightsee in the countryside, rent a car.

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