Not long till we are off to Italy, as my big bro is getting married!!
And we’re traveling by train, can’t wait!
We’ll leave from Manchester, of course, down to London, then catch the Eurostar to Paris, with 5 hours stop over (enough to have a nice walk around), then a train from Paris to Milan. Once in Italy we will then buy tickets and hopping on and off trains when we need to, as prices don’t fluctuate like here (so you don’t have to worry to try and find the cheapest fare before prices escalate) and the service is still great!
On the way there we’ll catch a daytime train from Paris as we are looking forward to seeing landscapes passing by and local towns, while on the way back from Milan we’ll be enjoying a night train avec couchettes!
I love travelling by train, time slows down and you really get to appreciate holiday time, without the major stresses that airports bring.
I first got some brilliant info, as usual, from The Man in Seat 61 then I booked the tickets through the Eurostar website and then used RailEurope. All very easy and straightforward. The Eurostar tickets simply printed at home and the Paris-Milan train tickets arrived home in less than 24 hours by post! All in all (from Manchester to Milan and back) it costed us about £220 each and we’ll be stopping in three cities, three countries (counting England of course). Now tell me which flight could allow you that, for that kind of price : )
Once in Milan we’ll be able to spend some time with my family, then heading to Parma where my brother is getting married. Last time I was round this region I was a little girl and as also PB has never been we thought to prolong our stay and turn it into a proper holiday!
So after Parma, we’ll be visiting Modena, Bologna e Ferrara. Cities were the culture of cycling is inherent to simply going about everyday life, i.e. see here, here and here, I am really looking forward to showing PB that it’s not just places like Amsterdam and Copenhagen that enjoy bikes as everyday transport. The nice thing for me (although I know I may not be very objective) is that the cycling culture back in cities like Modena or Ferrara just feels natural, as it has been part of people’s life since… well since ever lol! There’s no new urban philosophy behind it, there’s also no environmental strategy behind it either (we are still a ‘tad’ slow on that department unfort) there’s the simple notion that streets are narrow, (car) parking is limited, and driving is slower than a bike : )
We’ll definitely aim to hire bikes (perhaps we’ll be able to try the bike sharing schemes in Modena e Ferrara) and explore our surroundings. And of course I will be armed with my camera!
I cannot contain my excitement both because our last proper holiday (i.e. long enough to switch off) was two years ago and because I just love train traveling! It will also be a nice test run to consider how to take our bikes next time, for a bike & train european tour (we are thinking eastern europe).