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Author Topic: From Melksham to Tallinn (added - and back round The Baltic) by train  (Read 1364 times)
grahame
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« on: April 08, 2024, 09:05:37 »

So I have reached the end of the line - from Melksham to Tallinn through 8 countires, by rail with a single ferry and a single rail replacement bus. 33 trains have been used on my Interrail pass covering the vast majority of the mileage; some services run as frequently as every 15 minutes, others as infrequent as once a day. I have also travelled on 21 other pieces of rail transport, ranging from the 4 trains in the UK (United Kingdom) (which are not covered on my pass because I live in the UK) to trams in various cities, the Metro in Paris and detours on heritage steam railways.

I have stayed in some lovely hotels and a couple of places I would describe more as "interesting" than lovely. I have eaten some fabulous local food, and some food which hasn't made in away from its native setting and for obvious reason. The majority of people passed along the way are just that - passed. Service staff are typically polite, almost inevitably speak some English, and help where they need to. Just occasionally there's the odd one who shows clearly that (s)he would far rather not be troubled by customers, or in one notable case felt it was in his company's interest to hike the room price once I was there as a captive customer.

From the valleys of the Mosel to the flat lands of northern Germany. From the peninsular of Hel in Poland to the endless forests of the Baltic counties. From the pallava of passport and security checks and stamps between England and France to the many invisible borders - the extreme being the swing on the bridge that lets you rock back and forth between two countries.

I cannot go further by rail - the next natural step would have been via Minsk and St Petersburg, but political reasons forbid that, and I'm now on the ferry to Helsinki, from where I'll make another circuit to come home. I'm planning a day or two ahead, no more. So you'll need to watch my feeds as I carry on.

Would I recommend this to others? As a learning experience, yes but as a comfortable and relaxing holiday, probably not. Public transport requires a certain fitness to use it (I have pointed that out before) and at times can be stressful. Local systems are designed for regular users and it can be challenging to find out how things work. Tools like Google Translate are a huge help.

Lasting things to note? City after city with memories of the second world war - destruction of the cities and whole sections of the population. Soviet (Cold War) era abuses too and those memories die hard; the Ukrainian flag flies symbolically alongside nations flags all across the countries I have been in. And also the crumbling nature of so much infrastructure from time when these countries were part of the Eastern block. Build in great quantity but utilitarian some 70 years ago, but with a shelf life of 50 years, it is showing.

Just as in England, technology and Covid have decimated so many town centres and their businesses. In fact looking around, I have been reminded just how lucky we are in Melksham.  Which is not to say that I will press for a loop like at Bad Doberan, connections to onward road transport and at the same price as in Luxembourg, staffed station booking offices like in Siauliai and food at the station such as Warsaw.  Frequency such as trains to Warnemunde and visitors as welcome as they are in Binz.  And electric trains of which I have seen so many examples.  With one exception, I think the older diesel trains I used were the one from Melksham and the connection onwards at Westbury.



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« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2024, 15:01:40 »

Every single train we used abroad on our recent tour was electric. It would be interesting to see any statistics showing how much of each country's rail system is electrified.
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« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2024, 15:23:43 »

Every single train we used abroad on our recent tour was electric. It would be interesting to see any statistics showing how much of each country's rail system is electrified.

Track mileage, running mileage or passenger mileage? Could have some real fun with the stats.  Nine (I think) of the trains on my direct route were diesel, which leaves 13 electric, and one switched locos in the middle of the journey. One was a rail replacement, diesel, bus.
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« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2024, 04:15:40 »

An ongoing writeup of my travels - with especial concentration on travelling up through the Baltic countries which is something I had wondered about for years.  Written yesterday, smell checked overnight!

I disliked history at school and gave it up as soon as I could, but over the last week I have seen how the history of the last hundred years has shaped these land and been very unkind to them in a way we do not see in Wiltshire of perhaps most of England.  These are all lands that were occupied by Germany during the second world war, and were then parts of the Eastern Block - Russian satellites of indeed politically parts of the USSR thereafter.  And the destruction and the atrocities of those years are perhaps beyond description, yet are documented in art piece memorials with text in the native language and often in English too.

The history and the dislike of war and persecution remain to this day - and that's a dislike of current Russian activities; in spite of many domed and turreted orthodox churches in Russian Style, the flag of Ukraine is flown in so many places that it leaves you in no doubt where the support lies. On the border of Latvia and Estonia, there are six flagpoles and I'm sure they normally fly three Estonian flags and three Latvian ones.  Except at present the two poles closest to the border fly the yellow and blue of Ukraine.  This town of Valka / Valga has the border running through it, and the stream that forms the division has a number of bridges crossing it across which people freely walk.  One of the bridges has a swing on it and you can swing back and forth between the countries.  Photograph to be attached of a couple and their two children on the swing; I thought they spoke good English and it turned out that they should - for they were from Tunbridge Wells.

We complain about potholes in England - we ain't seen nothing!  We would grumble if the tread of a step were to be damaged (trip hazard) but here the infrastructure is worn and you pick your way around it.  The Baltic states, especially, gave the impression of falling apart with some bright flashes where something new has been built, either from scratch of within the shell of a building that has you wondering how it will be in a decade or so.

--------------

This is supposed (my supposition) to be a railway learning adventure and I will admit to being nervous of the advise for the Baltic states that said "use the bus", further concerned at my Interrail planner failing to even offer me the train for one of the legs, and my map book showing one of the stations I needed to change at as being closed, with lines marked "limited service - not daily" and "only served overnight by the sleeper service to Minsk". But I need not have worried.

* Poland to Lithuania

The 07:46 from Warsaw Central to Mockava, just across the border in Latvia, now runs daily.  An electric locomotive pulls 5 coaches (with numbers 11 to 15 to make you think it'a a longer train) to Bialystok close to the border with Belarus  (passenger trains don't carry on to there any longer), where it is replaced by a diesel locomotive than hauls us on over a single track to Suwalki.  We pause there again for 25 minutes while the locomotive runs round the train before it carries on up the single line though the forest to cross the border into Lithuania, sneaking though the gap bewteen the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad and Russia itself. and so we come into Mockava Station - very much open in spite of what my planner says.  And there it terminates.

The tracks look similar but look carefully and you may spot a slight difference - we have arrived on a train on a 1485mm gauge line, but the line the other side of the low platform is 1520mm and so our train would not fit. By this time, there are just a few dozen people on the train and all travelling with luggage.  They all chamber down the steps and stand around on a pleasant April day in the sunshire.

The schedule says we spend an hour and fifty minutes near the border, but in practise there's an hour change of the clocks, and so it's nothing like that amount of time.  A very modern 3 carriage multiple unit train pulls in, disgorges it passengers and they climb up onto the one we arrived on from Warsaw while we who arrived from Warsaw  get on the newly arrived train from Vilnius to return there.

A quiet train from Mockava, but again filled up at the major intermediate station on the way and we arrived in Vilnius at about half past 5.

* Lithuania to Latvia

And at Vilnius - capital of Lithuania - a problem.  The daily train onwards to Riga, capital of Latvia has only recently been re-introduced and it seems that it's very popular. All seats for the following day - Saturday - had been reserved (an reservation with an Interrail pass often can't be done online).  The lady on the ticket day suggested I take a bus as there was "no other train" - good stuff, this integrated travel) but instead I opted to drop back a day, travelling half way across Lithuania the next day, and then on to Riga the day after.  The 13:19 from Vilnius was stated in my timetable as running daily to Kliepedia on the coast, but it turns out there's a very complex list of days it goes all the way and days it stops short at Siauliai - thank goodness that's as far as I was going; two nights there then (and having to move hotels between!) and a really interesting town to see.

Apparently, it was the first town in the Soviet Union to pedestrianise its main street in (?) 1975 and that was such a success that it was extended a decade later.  These days, a significant proportion of the shop fronts are out of use, and many of the remaining ones are bars and restaurants.  The first evening I wasn't inclined to eat out, but the second evening I visited the Irish Bar and had a traditional (not sure who's tradition) lamb shank with pickled carrots, roast potato wedges, coleslaw and horseradish sauce, washed down with (several) pints of the local dark beer.

Siauliai was visited by Pole John Paul II and is clearly a city with a deep catholic tradition.  It is - or perhaps was - a major destination for visitors; one of my hosts tells me that business dropped with Covid as the visitors from Taiwan and Japan stopped coming, but I rather suspect he's moved from a market in which accommodation was in short supply and people would take anything to a market in which there is more accommodation than needed, and he's one of the ones missing out.  I am NOT going to write him a rubbish review (that is reserved for Radisson Blu in Gdansk) but I won't be taking my wife to stay in that apartment. Nice host, interesting product.

And so, Sunday, my train across the border. Nothing really eventful to report - it's a modern 3 car diesel thing run by Lithuanian Railways who start it from Vilnius before 7 in the morning - I picked it up at a more manageable 08:50 and it runs on to Riga where we pulled in to Platform 1 at 10:43.  So what about the next step to Estonia?

* Latvia to Estonia

OK - standard advise is "get the bus" but I am not standard.  My rail atlas shows one line connection the two countries but cautions "limited service from Valmiera to Valga.  My printed European Rai Timetable shows 2 trains a day, one from Riga at 11:10. My Interrail application says "no suitable service" when I try to add it to my pass.  And the Latvian Railway website confirms 2 trains a day, though the morning one is 11:00 and not 11:10.  It also tells me that it leaves from Platform 11, so I'm thinking a gallop across Riga station if I'm running late, and a lot of explaining to do to the tickets staff.

I need not have worried. It turns out that platforms 10 and 11 at Riga are the bay platforms just up from through platform 1, and the old 8 carriage local dies train in there is labelled as heading for Valga. I climb on - plenty of seats - and for the first time use the "manual train entry" on the Interrail App, noting its caution that you should check the pass really is valid if you do this.

Once we start, the ticket collector (all stations in these parts are open and tickets checked on trains) comes round, takes a look at my pass and then says that everyone on his train needs a (paper) ticket. He looks at my pass carefully, checking I have added the journey,  and then issues a ticket with 100% discount to I have nothing to pay.  Apologises for the need to faff around.

The train is a slow thing it accelerates from a walk to a canter for a few miles through wooded countryside the slows down for the next station. I was reminded of an article I once read about a train being so slow the passengers felt it must be the last reluctant trip of the driver before he retired.  Plenty of space in the train - 4 carriages would have been plenty rather than the eight, and the further on we got, the quieter it got.  Perhaps a dozen people got off at Valga at 13:58 - on time - a three hour journey from Riga and just into Estonia.  Almost exactly 100 miles - so it's the equivalent distance of Melksham to London.

The ongoing service to Tallinn runs 4 times a day - but none connects with this train from Riga - so I had from 2 O'clock until half past five to see Valga and its sister town Valka just back across the border in Latvia.   And so does the ticket collector, as on a Sunday his train sits there for most of the afternoon before returning to the Latvia.  As I walked down the street in a very quiet town, the ticket collector was walking that way too arm in arm with his girlfriend who was clearly out with him for the day.

I've written earlier about Valka and Valga as towns.  As a railway station it's magnificent. And it was the junction for where the line ran on to and beyond the Russian border.  No passenger trains now, but a rotting soviet steam engine on a plinth and an awful lot of tank wagons around; I suspect there is more trade than they would have us believe.

The train to Tallinn is a modern diesel unit, first class in the ends and standard in the middle.  My pass is first, but I get chucked out of my seat by someone who has it reserved, and the a helpful passenger informs me that all seats with little red sliders above them are reserved - that's the whole of first class. I suspect she was trying to help save me being moved multiple times, but it could just be that she wanted this scruff out of the posh end of the train.

We left Valga with a healthy passenger load but picked up more along the way until we were full and standing.  And the seats were the most uncomfortable I have been in for the whole trip so far.  I was squirming by the end of the three hour trip into Tallinn and delighted to have a half hour walk (mainly because my mapping application doesn't show the castle mound, so there was no direct route. I ended up taking the longer but undoubtedly more interesting one around.

Of note - about half the stations have short platforms "zone C if you want to leave the train" and that all appeared busy. And many of the platforms have been rebuilt at a low level, with a low level door on the trains for wheelchair access. Could do wonders ... new stations perhaps at Staverton and Lacock, and perhaps even Corsham and Wilton.

* Estonia to Finland

OK - so that was was a ship, from Terminal D (I walked there from the hotel). Modern fast ferry that runs about every 3 hours and takes 2 on the crossing, then a no. 7 tram into Helsinki

Electronics gone mad at the checkin - machine not people but it kept telling me to go to the counter.  Customer service rep at the machine was puzzled - looked OK on her system.  Mystery solved at the counter - I had claimed a 5 euro discount on the crossing (discount code Interrail) and they wanted to see my pass.

And so - onwards and northwards. Headed towards Lapland on a train now. Plenty of opportunity to write and I really don't want to get involved in council sh*t this afternoon - that can wait until morning.  Oulu where I have a hotel booked is the next stop; I will post with pics from the WiFi there, do council stuff early in the morning and then breakfast with a very old friend of Lisa's and mine from the early days we were courting via a newsgroup.

Edit to add - Images from the post











« Last Edit: April 09, 2024, 04:47:10 by grahame » Logged

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grahame
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« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2024, 16:44:53 »

Continuing my adventures around the Baltic (and I may need to retitle this thread)

I am travelling by InterRAIL and so rail it is where possible. England to France, Luxembourg, Germany and Poland are "well known" and straightforward, and a previous post covered my travels up from Poland by train and then ferry up the east side of the Baltic to Finland. Two nights in Finland and I am now going around the top of the gulf of Bothnia.

* Finland to Sweden

Standard advice is to get the train to Kemi and then the bus to Tornio (about half an hour), walk across the international bridge, and get the onward bus to Lulea and then to Umea.  But this is a rail journey, and there is a daily train (or rather a single overnight train) from Helsinki to Kolari in Lapland which makes the only call of the day at Tornio East.  And so, overnight in Kemi and down to the station early in the morning for the 07:56.  Station almost deserted but waiting room open, warm, welcoming.

What a magnificent train! Two sturdy looking diesel locomotives, four or five sleeper carriages in sleeper dark blue, a restaurant car, and then a double deck day carriage and a whole string more sleeper carriages.  Behind them, car carrying carriages and closed carriages that I suspect conveyed yet more cars.

It's just shy of 1000 kms from Helsinki to Kolari and I joined this train for a short hop of about 20kms. "Reservations needed" it said on my planner, but try as I might I could not find how to get them - I could find the 200 Euro sleeper compartments but felt that was a bit over the top, so I joined the train at the single "day" carriage, reading literally the sign that said "you must buy a ticket before you board" as a tick - yes, I have an interrail pass. Just no reservation.  Turns out I need not have worried - there were a sprinkling of other passengers in the carriage, clearly bedded down, and one other passenger joined the train at Kemi.

As even on trains in these parts, ticket inspector came through. Had a look at my Interrail pass. Scrolled up to check I had turned this journey on. Pleasant smile and "thank you" and no question about lack of a reservation. I don't know the technicalities, but the local fare would have been just 3.80 Euros and I suspect that even if there was an issue it was not worth bothering with.

And to to Tornio. It's a station that over a decade ago I compared in my train campaign blog to our local station at Melksham, without even seeing the place or pictures of it.  "The only place in Europe that doesn't have any trains calling in daylight in the winter".  Yeah - it's just about on the Arctic circle in Tornio, with an 08:21 northbound and a 22:16 southbound. 

Turns out that other things are similar too. Tornio's station is a single bleak platform with similarity to Melksham as it was very few facilities.  Melksham used to have just a bus shelter and a notice board; Tornio doesn't even have a waiting shelter, but there is a notice board.  Unlike most stations across Europe, there is no timetable displayed with a "look it up online" notice, and there's no electronic display.  There is a small parking area and the handful of people who got off the train are being picked up.  And - another similarity to Melksham - it's situated in the back of an industrial estate, far from looking welcome and not at all obvious.  I wonder how many people who live in Tornio don't even know they have an "operating" train station.

A difference though - the platform at Tornio is long - long enough for that whole train.  As the train prepared to carry on, the train manager shoo-ed the smokers who had got off for a fag back on, and I was left on my own as the train pulled out and its tail disappeared into the distance as it turned right to run up the Tornio river away from the line that runs down to the place where passengers used to change from the 1524 mm gauge train of Finland to the 1485 mm gauge line in Sweden on the other side of the river.  But that's no longer running, and I set out to walk into Tornio

[intermission - the above is being written while I wait in Tornio ..]

Tornio town itself is situated on an island in the river, and the border between Finland and Sweden wriggles around in the river. It's a walk of a couple of miles, I suppose, from the station to the town.  The roads have been ploughed clear of snow, the cycle way and footpath reasonably cleared but melting slush blocks the drainage in places and it's definitely a "walk with care" place. The mapping app on my phone has been a great help, and ensures that I navigate down to the river bank and the path along there, then walk beside the frozen rivet to one of the grand bridges.  A few other are walking, and some are cycling.

The town is clearly a visitor destination - hotels, bars, riverside - but closed and deserted on this cool (but not all THAT cold) April morning.  Gaining experience, I'm aware that behind some of those uninviting exteriors will be warmth, and somewhere to sit and get a cup of coffee.  I have chosen the modern shopping centre, which as open for a coffee when I arrived and I am here still a couple of hours later.  It's clearly where the old met of the town meet their pals in the morning - they are gathered and gone, and indeed I am about to move on.

I'll be walking over to the Swedish shore - to the town of Haparanda - from where there is a copious service of three trains a day onwards. Two of these leave early in the morning long before I got here, so I'm headed for the 14:28.  Plenty of time - it's only 11:50 as I write, or is that 10:50 as I'm about to step back in time by an hour.  I'll follow up with this text to complete the sort once I'm in my next country, time zone and currency.  I am running out of pockets to keep coinage apart ...

Back to write more later!

Greetings from Sweden 12:40 Swedish time.  On foot and paths, with snow covering at this time of year, the border itself was not obvious.  The bus station flying flags of both countries was.  Amazing to think that just four years ago this border in the remote north was shut as a measure to stop the spread of Covid with, I understand, significant impact of the people who regularly cross.  It's fully open again now, as if nothing had happened - indeed the whole covid issue seems to have gone away; all I've seen have been some perspex screens at hotels to sop arriving guests sharing any distant caught infections with reception staff.

I walked from the bus station, past Ikea (I must be in Sweden!), in one section diverting to the side of the road to avoid a subway flooded with slush.  I did not stop in the centre of Haparanda, though I suspect one building was a cafe, because I wanted to be sure that I found the station, and that the timetables and application I had been working to were actually reflected in real life.  Buses and trains up here run only on certain days of the week and some services are "school days only" - so worth checking.  Partly gambling on there being somewhere warm and dry to wait at the station, but also with a fallback of being able to backtrack a kilometre or two into the centre.

What an astonishing surprise!  Haparanda Station is the most astonishing building and the railway here has a history that deserves a complete article. Perhaps I should not have been surprised, for this is a strategic crossing point for people going between the East and the West, and between different sides and neutral zones too in times of war.  The buildings are magnificent to reflect the aspirations of the people who build them, and in recent years have been rescued and restored;  there is still work to do, perhaps, and the place has latent possibilities as it awaits visitors.  A refurbished cafe complete with a hot food display looks like it has never been used. And large interpretation boards - in Swedish Finish, and of course English tell the story.

Part of the story is that the rail service from here (the first station over the border from Finland) was only restored on 1st April 2021 - together with an intermediate station - so it would seem that this journey I am making today is something that wouldn't have been possible a handful of years ago.  My friend Heli in Oulu was telling me that they are looking to electrify the line on their side. I'm not so sure it's "build it and they will come" but the twin border town are quite respectable in size and I can see it happening.

And I'm now on the train - electric, fast, very modern, and so quiet (passenger number wise) that I would be worried about its economic case in the UK (United Kingdom). The station buffet was - see above - a museum piece.  How pleasant to have a buffet on the train here; ticket checks and coffee service by the same gentleman and he and I ended up having quite a chat; if I'm posting this to the "interrail" thread ans group that would be off topic.

And so ... into Lulea for the night - so that's Kemi to Lulea.  A very rarely used international train connection it seems, yet one that I would thoroughly recommend to a certain ... genre ... of adventurous people.









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« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2024, 17:09:34 »

Particularly good to look this morning of yours out on Google Maps + streetview.

Mark
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« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2024, 01:06:15 »

Particularly good to look this morning of yours out on Google Maps + streetview.

Mark

Tornio Station and parts of the walk look bleak even on Streetview ... yesterday was covered in ice, snow and slush which tends to block the drains an leave standing water on the low parts of the paths.
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« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2024, 07:11:50 »

Particularly good to look this morning of yours out on Google Maps + streetview.

Mark

Tornio Station and parts of the walk look bleak even on Streetview ... yesterday was covered in ice, snow and slush which tends to block the drains an leave standing water on the low parts of the paths.

Streetview set my a mystery - I noted "not even a shelter" yet it showed one there.  Looking back at my pictures, I suspect that the shelter is there but entombed in snow at present. 









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« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2024, 08:19:58 »

Did you know that Tornio has a Wiltshire connection? It's twinned with Devizes. It's clearly done a bit better, rail-connection wise than It's Wiltshire twin.

I have found this section fascinating.  I visited some of the places you have visited, although not by train,  on a birding trip back in 1988. I admit I didn't even know that Tornio was on the rail network.

Looking forward to the next installment.
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« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2024, 11:10:41 »

Did you know that Tornio has a Wiltshire connection? It's twinned with Devizes. It's clearly done a bit better, rail-connection wise than It's Wiltshire twin.

I have found this section fascinating.  I visited some of the places you have visited, although not by train,  on a birding trip back in 1988. I admit I didn't even know that Tornio was on the rail network.

Looking forward to the next installment.

I feel sorry for Devizes: a station in a good location for the town centre and close to buses that involved some heavy lifting to put it down there, all swept away in the sixties turbulence before electric traction gained a foothold* as that's something that would have had the haul up Caen Hill for breakfast.

At the present day if the line had survived, and Melksham having grown to almost envelop it, people might be campaigning for a second station for Melksham too.

Mark

*Setting aside the issue that electric traction, while it may have gained a foothold...
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« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2024, 09:14:34 »

Back In Melksham now - and I'm adding my round trip log onto this thread ... to follow up a request for an itinerary on the "Interrailing for the older crowd" Facebook Group.  I didn't have a detailed itinerary though - too dangerous to be planned too far ahead, and so done with a vague outline and booked (accommodation) 24 to 48 hours ahead, and train and ferry reservations only where absolutely necessary.

Here is what I have in my "log" file ... "%" is railed transport NOT part of the pass (I have used up my UK (United Kingdom) entry and exit journeys prior to this trip when Lisa and I did Melksham to Palermo and Catania last month) and "@" is a journey using the pass.

27th March 2024
Walk to Station
Melksham - Westbury %
Westbury - Southampton %
Southampton - Barnham %
Barnham - Brighton %
Brighton - Newhaven Town %
Walk to Ferry Port
Bus to ship

28th March 2024
Ship to Dieppe
Bus to terminal
Walk to Gare du Dieppe
Dieppe - Rouen Rive Droite @
Rouen Rive Droite - St Lazare @
St Lazare - Opera %
Opera - Paris Est %
Paris Est - Luxembourg Central @
Luxembourg Central - Next Stop (Tram) %
Next Stop - Luxembourg Central (Tram) %
Luxembourg Central - Koblenz @
Koblenz - Limburg @
Bus to Giessen @
Walk to Hotel

29th March 2024
Walk to Station
Giessen - Kassel @
Kassel - Hamburg @
Hamburg - Rostock @
Walk to Hotel
Walk to City and to Waterfront
Rostock City - Stadthalle (Tram) %

30th March 2024
Rostock - Bad Doberan @
Bad Doberan - Oostseebad Kuhlungsborn West %
Oostseebad Kuhlungsborn West - Bad Doberan %
Bad Doberan - Rostock @
Rostock - Warnemunde @
Warnemunde - Rostock @
Rostock - Graal Muritz @
Graal Muritz - Rostock @

31st March 2024
Rostock - Sassnitz @
Sassnitz - Bergen von Rugen @
Bergen - Putbus @
Putbus - Gohren %
Gohren - Binz %
Walk to Ostseebad
Ostseebad Binz - Rostock @
Rostoch HBF - Neuemarket (Tram) %
Neuemarket - Stadshall (Tram) %

1st April 2024
Rostock - Gustrow @
Gustrow - Szczecin @
Szczecin - Gdansk @

2nd April 2024
Gdansk - Gdynia @
Gdinia - Hel @
Hel - Gdinia @
Gdinia - Gdansk @

3rd April 2024
Gdnask - Warsaw @
Warsaw - Warsaw (Metro line 2) %
Warsaw - Warsaw (tram no 10) %
Warsaw - Warsaw (tram no 7) %
Warsaw - Warsaw (Metro line 1) %
Warsaw - Warsaw (Metro line 2) %

4th April 2024
Warsaw - Mockava @
Mockava - Vilnius @

5th April 2024
Vilnius - Siauliai @

7th April 2024
Siauliai - Riga @
Riga - Valga @
Valga - Tallinn @
Walk to hotel

8th April 2024
Walk hotel to ferry terminal D
Ferry to Helsinki
Helsinki Ferry Termnial - City Centre (Tram) %
Helsinki - Oulu @

9th April 2024
Oulu - Rovaniemi @
Rovaniemi - Kemi @

10th April 2024
Kemi - Tornio Ostra @
Walk into Torni town centre
Walk into Sweden (Hapranda) and to station there
Haparanda - Lulea @

11th April 2024
Lulea - Boden @
Boden - Umea @
Umea - Sundsvall @

12th April 2024
Sundsvall - Stockholm @
Stockholm - Malmo @
Malmo - Oerstad @
Oerstad - Odense @

13th April 2024
Odense - Kolding @
Kolding - Flensburg @
Flensberg - Neumunster @
Neumunster - Hamburg @
Hamburg - Osnabroek @
Osnabroek - Rheine @
Rheine - Salzbergen @
Salzbergen - Hengelo @
Hengelo - Zutphen @
Zutphen - Breda @
Breda - Antwerp @

14th April 2024
Antwerp - Courtrai @
Courtrai - Lille @
Lille - Amiens @
Amines - Rouen @
Walk to river
Rouen Riverside - Rouen SNCF (Societe Nationale des Chemins de fer Francais - French National Railways) (tram) %
Rouen - Dieppe @

15th April 2024
Dieppe - Rouen Rive Droite @
Rouen - Dieppe @
Walk to Ferry terminal
bus to ferry
Ferry to Newhaven
bus to terminal

16th April 2024
Newhaven - Brighton %
Brighton - Southampton %
Southampton - Salisbury %
Salisbury - Warminster %
Warminster - Westbury %
Westbury - Trowbridge %
Trowbridge - Melksham %
Walk home.

Phew! 93 journeys by rail, of which 63 were on the pass!
« Last Edit: April 17, 2024, 11:06:26 by grahame » Logged

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« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2024, 09:36:26 »

Also adding for the record / because I had been asked - "what was in my pack" ... again text shared from Facebook

Just home - a 20 day round trip from Melksham, Wiltshire, England to Rovaniemi, Finland by train - up the east side of the Baltic and down the west side and with some side trips. 63 rail journeys on my Interrail pass, 31 other rail journeys, and 3 ferries. One of the biggest questions I see is "what should I take" ... let me tell you what I came back with. 5 Kgs of clothing on me and things in the pockets - shoes, phone, change in multiple currencies being the "heavies". And a pack on my back totalling 10 kgs:
2.4 kgs trip books and maps
1.9 kgs laptop
1.3 kgs clothes not being worn as I arrived home
1.0 kgs the pack itself
1.0 kgs Aqua Lapland bottled water
0.9 kgs cables and chargers
0.5 kgs food
0.5 kgs clipboard, pens, paper and papers
0.4 kgs personal items / toiletories etc
0.1 kgs leaflets and papers as memories

Posting ... basically because people do ask "what should I take" so I'm sharing the above. Very little there I would NOT take. I would halve the bottled water. Others would probably have a smaller laptop or tablet. 3 volumes of rail map books made up most of that and I only needed all three because of where I was going. The European Rail timetable was vital. I washed clothes as I went, used hotel shampoo. One shirt more than I needed, spare pair of trousers forgotten. Hope this helps - I'll answer queries and thought in the morning after I have slept in my own bed for the first time in weeks if the dogs and wife will let me back in.










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