If you are tired of the time wasted and the indignities of airports, then travelling by train through Europe is the perfect solution. Say goodbye to tedious queues through customs security and hello to simply jumping on a train in one city and walking right out into the heart of another. The pleasure of train travel, however, is not only the convenience but the journey itself. It harks back to a more civilised age before metal detectors and random bag searches.
My experience of Elipsos began in Barcelona at the extremely beautiful Barcelona-Franca station, which is located on Avinguda Marques de Argentera just north of the port. Choosing a First Class overnight cabin for the journey to Paris, I was initially a little concerned about the size of the space and its ability to accommodate my extremely large suitcase, my travel companion and myself. This fear was allayed later in the journey after returning from dinner to find that my luggage had been magically stowed away and the bunk beds had been turned down for the night.
Elipsos has a delightful dining car with a full a la carte menu and friendly, efficient staff. Not the Orient Express by any means but certainly no plastic cutlery here. Passengers can enjoy a three course meal with matching wines all while enjoying the changing landscape – such is the unhurried luxury of a long train journey.
A very well appointed travel bag is provided for each passenger with the essential toiletries, towels and water. The first class cabins even have their own bathrooms which are surprisingly roomy considering the space available, with a separate toilet and shower space.
I can’t say it was the best night’s sleep of my life, but there is something quite romantic about being gently rocked by the sound of train as it hurtles through the night. A wake-up call in the morning is given to ensure that there is enough time to enjoy a leisurely breakfast in the dining car, and then, et voila! Paris!
If You Go
The Elipsos Train Hotel travels from various destinations between Spain, France, Italy and Switzerland. For more information including other European rail tickets and passes, visit www.raileurope.com.au.