Open Jaw: Where readers write back
Saturday 06 July 2013
Thomas Cook to end European Rail Timetable
The Thomas Cook timetable is probably the best resource available for planning an extended trip by rail around Europe.
When I was InterRailing I relied on it for planning and also used it to discover interesting side trips which I might not otherwise have thought about. That is the joy of it. The internet requires you to know in advance what you want, when you want it, and where you want to go. Even then it often gets it wrong. A paper timetable allows you to "armchair dream" as you flip through the pages.
I first used the European Rail Timetable as a student when Inter- Railing in 1987. Starting in London, I went on the ferry to Ostend and on the overnight train to Vienna and Budapest. After a side-trip to Lake Balaton, I retraced my steps back to Vienna on the Orient Express (the real one) and then on to Hamburg and central Sweden. I returned back to London via Stockholm, Copenhagen and the overnight train back to Ostend. It won't be the same, trying to track train services via Wi-Fi on mobile phones, iPads and tablets.
I have been a follower of the Thomas Cook timetable since discovering the joys of train travel in Europe in the Eighties through Inter- Rail. . The publication is unique so this seems a tragic and poor-sighted decision. I realise that train times can be found from the internet but the sites that do exist tend to provide only point-to-point information, when often you want to see the whole route. If Thomas Cook didn't see any value in it, they could have found a buyer who would.
For European trips, I find the Deutsche Bahn website the best. Just enter your start and end stations and it will give you all the connections and options. "ScaaarBeeek"
Croatia joins the EU
Even without adopting the euro, being in the EU will inevitably drive prices up and damage tourism. A short-sighted move if ever there was one.
A stunning country, especially Dalmatia and the Plitvice National Park area. The food is great and the wine from Hvar is top notch, as is the prsut (dry-cured ham).
I know the woman from Brac with the pig skins! She won't bite ... much. I'm delighted that she's still keeping nosey journalists away.
Just got back from two excellent weeks in Nova Scotia. We flew to Montreal, caught the overnight train to Halifax, then hired a car and did Lunenburg, Annapolis Royal, the Bay of Fundy and Prince Edward Island (PEI). PEI is especially nice, lovely beaches in the north and a trip to Anne of Green Gables' house is obligatory
48 hours in Amsterdam
The renovated Rijksmuseum is a great visit when you are in the city. We love the new entrance – so futurist. After a cultural visit admiring Rembrant's masterpiece, stop at the Van Gogh Museum to see the lovely sunflowers. Amsterdam has much more to enjoy but these are worth a visit for sure.
Gay Travel Advice (gaytraveladvice.com).
The highest road fatality rates in the EU were recorded in Lithuania (148 deaths per million inhabitants), Poland (143), Romania (142), Bulgaria, Greece and Latvia (all 139). Road fatality rates were much lower in Sweden, the United Kingdom (both 43), the Netherlands (41) and Malta (37).
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