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Old 02-25-2007, 02:40 PM   #1
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Hiya,

1)is it true about how scary the nigh train is when travelling in western europe?
2) How does the border control/passport issue work? Does some officer come and check around? Do you need to see their ID first?
3) Are there many theives on the train?
4) As this is overnight, are there any sinks/bathroom/shower facilities?

Thanks
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Old 02-25-2007, 03:17 PM   #2
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hey hlad00, my only experience on an overnight train was from paris to rome last november. i was a little wary about it but wanted the extra day to site see. unless you're extremely claustraphobic or afraid of the dark it isn't scary. obviously, if you're bunking with five thugs or creeps it might be different but i didn't really meet many of those on my trip.

i don't recall them checking my passport really and as long as you're travelling in the eu i doubt it will be much of an issue. (though you also don't get a stamp in your passport, doh!)

as for thieves, most overnights i believe are direct so you don't have people getting on and off, plus all the compartments lock from the inside so you only have to worry about the people in your bunk. i just kept the locks on my stuff and stuck an arm through my daypack and didn't worry about someone trying to jump off a moving train with the dirty laundry in my main pack. as for bath/shower, they're there but that's about it, especially towards the end of the trip they can get pretty nasty.

we did get stopped twice by some type of guards/security who searched the train, including going through all of the stuff of two of the people in my bunk. it was a bit disconcerting get woken up by three big guys talking a flurry of italian, french, english and spanish but they just asked me where i was from. apparently one of the guys had stopped over in a 'terrorist' country which was why they were suspicious.
i definitely recommend that if your going be riding the trains that you try the overnight at least once for the experience, though.
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Old 02-25-2007, 09:17 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by hlad00 View Post
Hiya,

1)is it true about how scary the nigh train is when travelling in western europe?
2) How does the border control/passport issue work? Does some officer come and check around? Do you need to see their ID first?
3) Are there many theives on the train?
4) As this is overnight, are there any sinks/bathroom/shower facilities?

Thanks
1.) Not really
2.) It depends on the trip...I think... but they checked mine on all but one leg. I usually ask first so I know whether I can sleep immediately or if I should just stay up. Btw, they usually take your Eurail pass from you for the night. Not sure why.
3.) Depends on where the train is and who you are bunking with. If you get a compartment with backpackers you are in good shape. I kept a lock with me so I could secure my bag for brief periods of time. I did have thieves try to open my door on a trip from Munich to Budapest (we were in Slovenia at the time (don't ask me why). Usually thieves jump on at a stop grab something and split.
4.) Depends on the train. I frequently had a sink and if you are a guy it can double as a bathroom if you are by yourself

Definitely ride a night train at least once. Make sure you bring water on the night trains (actually... that goes for all trains). If you are like me you probably sleep in your clothes and something about that makes you wake up all sweaty and drymouthed. That's why the first thing I do after a night on a night train is to head to the hostel/hotel for a shower.

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Old 02-26-2007, 07:16 AM   #4
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The only night train I took was from Cairo to Luxor and t was freakin fantastic!! But I was with my parents at the time. Now I dont have so much money... and I have to get from Granada to Barcelona on a night train... do u think I can get way with booking a seat and not a couchet??

Has anyone travelled that way?
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Old 02-26-2007, 08:10 AM   #5
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I took an overnight train from Paris to Florence and it was awesome. Luckily i was travelling with a larger group of people, so i knew the other 5 people in the bunk. It was definitely an adventure and I would (and am for this summer) plan on doing it again.
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Old 02-26-2007, 08:26 AM   #6
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How much did you have to pay for the reservation?
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Old 02-26-2007, 08:57 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hlad00 View Post
Hiya,

1)is it true about how scary the nigh train is when travelling in western europe?
2) How does the border control/passport issue work? Does some officer come and check around? Do you need to see their ID first?
3) Are there many theives on the train?
4) As this is overnight, are there any sinks/bathroom/shower facilities?

Thanks

I actually didn't even think about how scary night trains are. From my perspective, the conductor was the scariest guy on the train (we had a little midunderstanding when I lost my Eurail, big German guys...). I can't think of any instances where the officers come by more than the beginning and end of our train rides, but they did come more than once in the beginning and the end.
In our room, where we always had 6 guys I knew to fill up each seat/bed, we just locked our door and we were fine. No experiences with theives luckily.
We had sinks, bathrooms. I don't remember showers.

One other thought. The walls between rooms are not sound proof at all. On the beginning to our trip from Munich to Interlaken we were having a good guy conversation (it wasn't dirty, don't worry) and we had a knock on our door. We were initially freaked that it was a conductor coming to yell at us for who knows what because we weren't talking that loud. But it ended up being a young girl who had the courage to tell us she could hear everything we were saying! We invited her in and cleared things up. Very embaressing even for me at first. It was a funny experience tho. She later told us she had more than one Hfbrau brew, so that's why she had the courage to come over...silly girl.


Also Flo, I think making seat reservations were maybe about half the price of booking a couchette. Say 10 eu verse 20. Sleeping is nice.
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Old 02-26-2007, 09:05 AM   #8
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do u think I can get way with booking a seat and not a couchet??

Has anyone travelled that way?
yes. I travelled that way a couple times as I can sleep anywhere. Most of the time it was pretty good, people were very considerate~ everyone just wants to get a little shut eye. Must be a little weary though, because I also had THE worst night of my life on one of those trips as a loud mouthed spaniard was sitting beside me, blaring horrible music and YELLING at his children/wife. That, and the cart was broken or something & I think the air-conditioning was stuck on crazy high ~ it was FREEZING. All the other carts were fine though. Me and a bunch of other people tried to move to another cart & sleep in the empty seats but the guard sent us back. Needless to say I spent a great deal of time in the bar that night....
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Old 02-26-2007, 09:39 AM   #9
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20€ is the same as a hostel... really not bad... i'll try to book that then! I suppose they have women/men compartments, right?
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Old 02-26-2007, 09:40 AM   #10
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^^I mean.. I dont mind a coed room in a hostel (I think.. I havnt tried yet) but sharing a tiny tiny train compartment with a 65 year old is not so cool...


I would die if I had to share with the Italian guy in Eurotrip!!
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Old 02-26-2007, 10:09 AM   #11
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All the night trains I've been on (all in eastern europe) have been mixed sex compartments, I've never asked one way or the other though when booking a ticket.

As for taking a seat, if the comparment is half full it's fine as you can put your legs up on the seat in front of you, but anymore and it can be quite uncomfortable as there isn't much room for everyones legs in the middle.
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Old 02-28-2007, 09:20 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by hlad00 View Post
Hiya,

1)is it true about how scary the nigh train is when travelling in western europe?
2) How does the border control/passport issue work? Does some officer come and check around? Do you need to see their ID first?
3) Are there many theives on the train?
4) As this is overnight, are there any sinks/bathroom/shower facilities?

Thanks
Hey hlad,

1) It's really not that scary, unless you find the flight overnight scary.
2) Genearlly when the train crossses the border, some official will come in and ask to see your passport and europass. Unless you're in Italy, then they'll ask for it, you'll make a movement to take it out, and then they'll make a gesture to say "ahhh, it's okay..." and then they'll move on. The strictest are the Germans, by far.
3) There are potential theives everywhere. If you're paranoid, wear your money belt while you sleep and chain your bag to your bed. But if you're a backpacker, you generally shouldn't be (or look like) you're carrying valuables anyway.
4) Yes, there are bathrooms, because if there wasn't, the 23 hour ride from barcelona to florence would be smelly. Showers, none than I am aware. The best way to "shower" is to wet a cloth and wipe all the dirtiness away...
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Old 02-28-2007, 11:08 AM   #13
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It's all good advice listed, and I have been on many a sleeping trains and I have had no problems. If you are going through germany to czech repubilc, be aware that they carry big freaking guns and are scary. And if you are taking a night train in Morocco, don't, take the bus, unless you plan on sleeping on top of your backpack leaning up against your closet neighboor which is normally smashed next to you
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