Autumn 2021. In theory we could travel to other continents, but destinations we had in mind such as Japan or the United Kingdom were impossible to plan ahead. Instead we organised a rail trip to Eastern Europe, travelling to Berlin, Gdańsk, Wrocław, Karlovy Vary, Pilsen, Bratislava, Poprad, Vienna, Linz and Salzburg. By travelling to Germany, Poland, Czechia, Slovakia and Austria, we explore an area which was in the (not too distant) past bonded together by the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation and by Austria-Hungary.
IC 44 departs Košice at 7.11 and calls Kysak, Poprad-Tatry, Žilina, Trnava, Bratislava Main Station (hl.st.), Bratislava-Nové Mesto, Bratislava-Petržalka and terminates at Vienna Main Station.
While waiting for the train in Poprad, we heard the longest train announcement we ever experienced. In two languages, Slovak and English, our train was announced. Where it stopped, where first class is, where the restaurant car is, where the car for children under ten years old is, where second class is. Actually, every coach position was announced. It was announced it had a short delay. It was announced where it came from. Way too elaborate.
Speaking of announcements, the English-language announcements have an Australian accent. And Železničná spoločnosť Slovensko (ZSSK), the operator’s name, is unpronounceable for people who don’t speak a Slavic language.
We travelled first class – snobisme oblige – and that was similar to the first class on our from Bratislava to Štrba. There coach is arranged in a 2+1 configuration.
The red fabric moquette is soft. The cushion is thick. There’s decent legroom. In this version, there was a foldable tablet.
Included in the price of first class is WiFi, water and apparently coffee and tea. An attendant comes regularly with a cart.
The water was sparking water, which is an odd choice.
The six-hour journey was in these condition uneventful and nicely boring. Just relax, enjoy the view and fall asleep.
The rest of the train
I decided to explore the rest of the train.
There is an actual restaurant car consisting of a sit-down restaurant area, the kitchen and counter and a bar area.
There is service and multifunctional car where you find the conductors, you can load your bikes, travellers with reduced mobility can be helped, a toilet for disabled travellers and a mystery area.
Behind that coach there’s the ‘children under ten’ coach consisting of closed compartments and children-friendly stickers of princesses and bees.
Finally, the standard second class coaches have blue 2+2 seats.
So yes, it was a smooth ride. The seats were comfy on your bum to sit six hours.
2021 Rail Tour of Imperial Europe
- POTSDAM 2021 | Schloss Sanssouci.
- 1945 Potsdam Conference’s Cecilienhof Palace.
- Potsdam 2021.
- REVIEW | InterContinental Berlin.
- BERLIN 2021 | Pergamon, ‘Das Panorama’.
- BERLIN 2021 | Humboldt Forum in the Berlin Palace.
- BERLIN 2021 | The Bundestag in the Reichstag.
- Berlin 2021.
- By train from Berlin to Gdansk via Szczecin.
- Stopover in Szczecin.
- REVIEW | Restauracja Ritz in Gdańsk.
- REVIEW | Holiday Inn Gdansk.
- GDAŃSK | Museum of the Second World War.
- GDAŃSK | European Solidarity Centre or Europejskie Centrum Solidarności.
- A walk through Gdańsk.
- Gdańsk 2021.
- POLAND | PKP Intercity Gdansk to Wroclaw via Warsaw.
- Wrocław Museum of Architecture.
- The Dwarfs of Wrocław.
- Poland 2021.
- By train from Wroclaw to Karlovy Vary.
- Karlovy Vary.
- REVIEW | Hotel Imperial Karlovy Vary.
- Czechia’s Great Spa Town of Europe Františkovy Lázně.
- CZECHIA | Pilsen Historical Underground Tunnels.
- CZECHIA | Pilsner Urquell Brewery Tour.
- CZECHIA | Pilsen.
- CZECHIA 2021 | Cheb and its castle.
- Hotel room for one.
- By train from Karlovy Vary to Prague via Pilsen.
- Czechia 2021.
- RegioJet from Prague to Bratislava.
- Bratislava Castle.
- REVIEW | Crowne Plaza Bratislava.
- Bratislava on a rainy Monday.
- ZSSK Fast Train Tatran from Bratislava to Strba.
- The Tatra rack and electric Railway from Strba via Strbske Pleso to Poprad tatry.
- SLOVAKIA | AquaCity Poprad.
- REVIEW | Hotel Seasons AquaCity Poprad.
- Slovakia 2021.