Planes, Trains and Autos ( and city bus tours )

On a recent trip through Europe, we decided to try a few different modes of transport to see which ones worked best. Each one proved their own positives and negatives, but if there’s one thing to always remind yourself it’s that you can never anticipate every problem that may arise. It’s best to do your prep work well ahead of time and then sit back and enjoy the ride.

Passenger Train on Eurostar: London to Paris

We went under the English Channel using The Channel Tunnel, also known as the Chunnel, is a 50 km long undersea rail tunnel that connects south-eastern England with northern France. At its lowest point it lies 75 metres under the ocean floor. The tunnel is operated by the Eurotunnel Group, a British – French company. Since its official opening in 1994, about 15 million people have travelled through the tunnel every year.  We departed London and had no trouble navigating the train stations and 2 hours 15 minutes later we walked off the train in the middle of Paris, even enjoyed a glass of wine in the on-board bar-buffets.

Easyjet: Paris to Rome

The price was right but a flight delay blew our schedule out of the water.  A typical airport horror story where passengers board a plane and hours later deboard without taking off.  Long story short, hours later we were bused to a nearby hotel where we waited for details of our flight the next day.  These things will happen from time to time, best to take it one step at a time and remain calm when the going gets tough.

City Bus Tours

We found the city bus tours to be a great way to not only get a tourist view from the streets but to also use as a point to point shuttle.  Most bus tours are hop-on hop-off at any stop for the entire day as long as you show your ticket.  Learn the routes and save time, money and your feet.  Most buses also have an open second deck which provide a great view of the city you would be unable to find anywhere else.  The photo below is from an open-top London tour bus as we went across the Tower Bridge.

Rental Car:  Rome to Florence to Milan

I must admit one of my favorite things is to get behind the wheel of a rental car in any new city.  To be in a foreign country adds a little bit extra excitement.  This is where good prep work comes into play as you should know local rules and regulations before you get in the auto (what side of the road to drive on is a good one) as well as any metric conversions for speed limits.  They don’t have a drivers education class at the rental lot, they just throw you the keys, so be ready.

Never be in a hurry, be safe and enjoy the ride, and don’t forget to expect a parking ticket from the city of Florence 8 to 12 months after you return home.  Almost everyone I talk to has at least one Florence parking ticket under their belt and nobody seems to know exactly why.  Just pay up and smile, you’re in the club with the rest of us.


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