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Taking an overnight train - what are couchettes like?

Taking an overnight train - what are couchettes like?

Sep 23rd, 2010, 12:04 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 6,007
Thank you all again. We have awhile still before we have to make any decisions, but before we purchase I'm going to send pictures of couchettes and private sleeping compartments to the other couple and we can discuss what we want to do together. Since they never traveled to Europe before they have no previous train experience. My husband thinks that sharing a couchette will be fine, but I'm just worried about arriving in Rome exhausted and cranky from lack of sleep...and I still want us to be friends when we get off the train!
tcreath is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2010, 01:45 PM
Join Date: Oct 2009
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Would you share a small tent with them? Would you share a really small hotel room with them? If so, then you should be fine.
You'll still be friends I'm sure but to me it's just kind of uncomfortable (privacy issue) sharing with another couple.
Lynnaustin is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2010, 01:48 PM
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Everyone has their own priorities, as is obvious on this thread. I'd rather skip the 125 euro "nice lunch" in Rome, for the privacy and chance of a better night's sleep springing for a private double cabin.

But I do think the idea of sending photos of the two options to your traveling companions so everyone decides together is a great one.!
suze is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2010, 04:34 PM
Join Date: Dec 2003
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Our sole experience with a couchette was on the Palitino Express, from Paris to Rome. Once we found our compartment we discovered that a large Italian family had spread itself, bags and boxes of food, and the various members of the group over all the couchettes and piled luggage in the aisle between. The odor of sausage and garlic was overwhelming, and there was absolutely no room left for anything else.

We turned our tickets in for a first-class compartment.
Underhill is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2010, 06:20 PM
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Palatino has not run for several years, now replaced by Artesia Night Hotel trains -much nicer than the much older rolling stock Palatino trains. And though i have encountered such scenes on my zillions of overnight train trips, it is a relatively rare occurence - I have mainly have had thoughtful fellow couchette mates and often many really nice conversations with a rather Kumbala feeling - if i were isolated in a single cube i would miss out on all these really great interactions with Europeans that i now happily remember.
PalenQ is offline  
Sep 24th, 2010, 12:45 AM
Join Date: May 2005
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Definitely go for the private 2 person sleeper. They are very comfortable and can be quite modern. What woke me up on our last trip was the braking and the stops where the employees were shouting to each other outside of the train.

I did it once and might do it again, knowing that even with earplugs I won't get that much sleep.
kleeblatt is offline  
Sep 24th, 2010, 03:15 AM
Join Date: Jan 2007
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I have been in couchettes and private sleepers several times and it's a crap shoot as to where you might sleep better. I think the worst was on a private cabin in an old East German car going from Odessa to Prague (2 nights!) that had a very squeeky suspension although the cabin was OK otherwise.

I think the couchettes will be fine for you. I mean, if they're your friends, they can't be that bad and you are stuck with them on the rest of the trip anyway.
rs899 is offline  
Sep 24th, 2010, 04:58 AM
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earplugs, wine, ambien, valium.... essentials for overnight trains?
PalenQ is offline  
Sep 24th, 2010, 07:35 AM
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Well please not ALL of them at once, PalenQ but a couple of those are good idea, yes... definitely...
suze is offline  
Sep 24th, 2010, 09:48 AM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 75,913
I only use wine but if i had some say xanax i may take one if i had trouble sleeping. But you're right not to mix all those or you may sleep too well!
PalenQ is offline  

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