On Nov. 23, 2005 I moved to The Hague from Washington, DC. This is my new Dutch life.


Little Red Caboose, Chug Chug Chug

My dad recently sent over a stack of Samantha Brown's Passport to Europe episodes, and nothing feeds a travel bug more than travel shows. Now that the weather is getting a bit nicer, B- and I are keen to get out and see Europe.

We'd especially like to take ole Nigel boy with us, especially since Europe is incredibly dog friendly. But, we suspect that after his trans-Atlantic flight, Nigel won't stand for air travel (nor will my wallet). So, I've been researching trains and specifically how far we can go on weekend trips.

Though Amsterdam's Schipol airport may be one of the biggest hubs in Europe, the train situation is not as convenient. Where you can fly direct to almost anywhere in the world from Schipol, you are almost guaranteed at least one, if not two, transfers while traveling by train from the Netherlands.

Regional high-speed trains serve The Netherlands, Belgium, Luxemburg, Germany and Paris making those destinations the most convenient. We could get all the way to Munich or Prague on an overnight train and have a decent couple of days of sight seeing, as long as we are able to sleep on the train. Paris, on the other hand, is a mere four hours away. Our only challenge is finding decent (and cheap) accommodation so we can spend most of our summer weekends there. Bien sur!

What's more than a little annoying is that technically most French cities are within easy reach for weekend trips EXCEPT that it is necessary to change trains, often change stations, AND wait around for six hours or more in the middle of the night — wasting precious time. As far as I can tell, we can't travel overnight to Marseille or Avignon or wherever in Southern France. Forget about Spain. The lesson is that we can't take weekend trips south of Paris with Nigel on the train. Zut alors, I need more vacation days.

Here's the rub: the train is not cheaper and can be more expensive than flying. I also haven't figured out the ticketing system, and you can't order tickets online. It's even difficult to get price quotes without going to the ticket agent at the train station. So forget about that impulse trip to Berlin — you've got to plan especially if you want to reserve a seat or a sleeper.

Nevertheless, until I can sort out a kennel situation, the train it shall be. So, all you European vacationers where should we go?



Anonymous redsnapper said...


2:35 PM GMT+2


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