In Europe, you have many reliable methods of transportation from which to choose and each has its pros and cons. You can travel by plane, bus, car, or train. Here, I want to tell you why I chose to take an 8.5 hour train ride to get from Cologne, Germany to Vienna, Austria instead of taking a 1 hour plane ride.
First, remember that trains in Europe, particularly Germany, are significantly better than anything offered in the U.S. The trains are on-time, clean, comfortable, fast, on-time, filled with friendly staff, and did I mention on-time. The ICE trains in Germany, which I am currently sitting in while writing this, also have electrical outlets for every row of seats in first and second class.
Now, back to why I’m taking a train to Vienna. For starters, I HATE airport security; it is not as bad in Europe as it is in the U.S. in that I don’t have someone grabbing my balls or shooting me with radiation, but it is still annoying. With trains, you only have to arrive a few minutes before departure instead of a couple hours; it is much easier to get to a main train station rather than the airport; there are no lines to check-in or lines for security, which usually doesn’t exist; and the train will usually drop you off right at your destination or in the middle of your destination city. In effect, when comparing trains and planes, remember to add 3-6 hours of extra travel time for the plane when you add in all of these factors (wholly dependent on the airports being used of course). After that, I enjoy taking the train because I can get up, move around, go to the dining car if I like, recline my chair, etc. There are even foot rests on the ICE train and the seats recline so far that you can quite comfortably sleep.
However, it does take a lot longer than flying, at least for this trip. I’m ok with that though because I just plug-in my computer and do whatever I want. I just finished watching two movies – Batman Returns and Brave Heart – and I wrote 8 articles for this blog. I find it hard to get a lot of time to myself where I can do some work, write some articles, and generally relax and this train ride allows me to do all of those things.
Plane equals stress and train equals relaxation.
(Remember that I am talking about the ICE trains in Germany. There are other similarly good trains, mainly the fast ones like Thalys, but there are also many on which I wouldn’t want to spend a second.)