Tales on Rail: Michele Shares Final Thoughts on her European Adventures

Tales on Rail Mount Pilatus

Michele at the top of Mount Pilatus, Switzerland

Traveling around Switzerland and Italy by train was one of the most incredible experiences. The panoramic trains in Switzerland are definitely the best way to see the beautiful and diverse country side. Just sit back, relax and enjoy the scenery. Of course, the Swiss Pass makes traveling through Switzerland a breeze as well.

The high speed trains in Italy are by far the fastest and easiest way to get around Italy. On our trip from Florence to Rome we were able to take a quick nap on a comfortable Italo train and be in Rome in an hour and a half.

Swiss Train Travel & Experiences

I loved every minute of my trip to Switzerland. It was my first time in the country and it was the most beautiful place I have ever been. I already can’t wait to go back. All of the cities and train stations in Switzerland were extremely clean and you felt very safe wherever you went.

If I had to pick a favorite activity we did while in the country it would have to be the trip to Mount Pilatus. Our Mount Pilatus excursion was on our first day and it was my introduction to the Swiss Alps. The trip up to the top in the gondolas and cable car offered spectacular aerial views and a thrill for me since I’m scared of heights. I would love to go back in the summer and experience the world’s steepest cogwheel ride to the top.

Tales on Rail Glacier Express

Glacier Express train all set for lunch

My favorite train in Switzerland had to be the Glacier Express. The train was so modern and comfortable and we were served a delicious 3 course meal on board (complete with linen tablecloths and napkins). You really felt like you were in a restaurant, not a train. Not to mention the views the whole way were incredible.

The best views of all, though, had to be on the Bernina Express. This train offered the most diverse views. From rugged snow covered Swiss Alps, to the blue green rivers and vineyards of Italy.

Italy Train Travel & Experiences

Our trip to Italy was completely different than our trip to Switzerland. In Switzerland we got to experience endless natural beauty, while in Italy we experienced endless man-made beauty. The detail of all the stone buildings in Italy was astonishing. I can’t begin to imagine how much time and work went into each and every building.

Tales on Rail Rome

View of Trevi Fountain on the Ancient Rome Tour

My favorite activity in Italy had to be the Ancient Rome Tour. Seeing the Coliseum, Pantheon and Trevi Fountain for the first time was incredible. Our guide was also very knowledgeable and made the tour very interesting. We learned so much about ancient Roman times and the period after the empire fell.

One thing I want to note is that winter in Italy is actually quite pleasant. On our tour in Rome it was sunny and 60 degrees. Going in the winter also means that you will encounter far less crowds than in the summer months. I really want to go back to Italy and spend some more time in Venice and Rome. Venice was so gorgeous, I would love to walk around some more and stay at one of the hotels on the Grand Canal.

Michele’s Travel Advice & Tips

Tales on Rail

Swiss hash browns at Wirsthaus Taub in Lucerne, Switzerland

The best advice I can give for anyone traveling abroad is to eat the food that the city is known for. In Switzerland we were given lots of local specialties like Luzerner Chügelipastete in Lucerne and Spatzle on the Glacier Express. All of the food was delicious and eating the local food gives you another unique memory of the city.

Tales on Rail Florence

Dinner at Fiaschetteria Cambi. A filet of beef topped with arugula and balsamic vinegar

In Italy, every region or city is known for some sort of food or drink. In Florence we were told to get steak because red meat is really big in that region. It was by far one of the best steaks I ever had. Also, you can never go wrong with anything that has tomatoes, balsamic vinegar or olive oil!

Take lots of pictures, you can relive your trip time and time again by clicking through your pictures. You also don’t need a professional camera if you don’t have one. I took every picture from my trip on an iPhone 4s and they came out fine. Of course you can tell the difference between a picture taken on an iPhone and a Cannon but if you don’t want to spend the money, you don’t need to.

Final Thoughts

I can’t wait to start planning my next European trip. There are so many places I want to experience. I’m thinking for the next one either the UK or the Netherlands and Belgium. Wherever I decide to go, I will definitely be traveling around by train!

 

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