Thursday, October 23, 2014

Train Rides 2014 - Munich to Paris

Date 14th April 2014

The train, City Night Line (CNL) #40418 was departing from Munich Haupbahnhoff at 2250hours (as reflected in below station monitor), @ 10.50 pm at night to Paris. The journey takes about 10 and a half hours to reach Paris, Gare de I'Est' (actual arriving time was 9.25am the next day). It was the shortest traveling rides when comparing with 2 longer distance in previous rides from Istanbul to Bucharest (19 hours) and from Bucharest to Budapest of 17 hours rides. The CNL track distance is 829km (10.5 hours), Ister Train is 859km (17 hours) and Bosphor Train is 831km (19 hours).

Following direction and advice from our sifu, Seat61-CNL, we bought our ticket vide Rail Europe Asean (Singapore Branch ticketing office) at Euro69. City Night Line train is a train services by German's Railway DB Bahn. It's quite expensive though, Euro69 per person in a compartment seating of 6 persons (facing each other), just because we did not purchased directly from DB Bahn but through Rail Europe. The said train fee was for ordinary seat in 6-seat compartment. There were 2 more passengers who supposed to be with us but we were lucky when they decided to move to another empty compartment, given us 2 empty seats to stretch our feet throughout a long journey.

There are 3 categories of travel to choose from the night train; comfortable sleeper, couchette or reclining seat. Apparently, it was a limited choice when you purchased a ticket online as the sleeper couchette can only be updated at the train station. We did not upgrade ours thinking that it would be alright to have a light sleep as the travelling time is much lesser than the previous longer rides. However, it was the most uncomfortable rides for unable to lie flat on your back even for light sleep. I would strongly recommend for you guys to upgrade yours. What you need to do is to pay the supplement charges for the comfort class according to your wish at Munchen Hbf. 

The same train, City Night Line runs combined with the Munich-Amsterdam sleeper when it leaves Munich. As you can see from the platform monitor on the first photo, the timetable departure posters confirm the said route, so worry less when you saw both Amsterdam and Paris on the monitor screen. After departing Munich station, it will stop at 3 more stations; Augusburg, Ulf and  Stuttgart. All cabins to Amsterdam and Paris will be separated on arrival in Stuttgart Hbf.   

City Night Line operates on a whole range of routes. It basically connecting the following Germany's city to places in and out of Germany:-

  1. Berlin, Munich and Hamburg to Paris
  2. Cologne, Munich to Amsterdam
  3. Cologne to Prague
  4. Stuttgart to Zurich all the way from Amsterdam
  5. Other international route to and from German cities to Zurich - Prague - Copenhagen - Prague 

As evidence, you may see how tired was my companions faces that I snapped from the compartment since we were outside the whole day, without any rest beside a seat rest at Istanbul Restaurant. We spotted the platform and managed to find the right compartment without difficulties. We reached 2 hours earlier and those time was well spent at Munchen Hbf with last minute shopping at the gift shops. There is a double decker ICE train next to our platform (see below photo that I took to show hubby). It was awesome as there is none in our city.

Sleep was hard that night as we were in a rather inconvenience and uncomfortable zone of a cramped compartment including our luggage. The next morning, after the toilet calls and obligatory duty to the creator, Allah, we had our breakfast. When the sun shines beautifully outside, we snapped several more photos of the Europe countryside valley. It looks almost the same valley while crossing Bulgaria, Hungary, Austria and Germany. A vast canola field, green river, country homes, empty shallow road are visible from both sides of the tracks. It's indeed a beautiful sight to enjoy. I'm sharing 4 photos out of so many that Anne snapped that morning.

We said our gratitude to Allah for keeping us save for the last 2 weeks as nothing bad, not even little incident we faced throughout our journey thus far upon arrival. With a happy heart though physically exhausted, we pulled down all our luggage down to the platform. It was the last time that the luggage was on the train. There will be no more concerns about the luggage upon arrival in Paris, as we won't be changing any hotels. We shall stay only in the same apartment for the next 4 days and 3 nights.

The last thing that I want to mention about City Night Line sleeper trains is that, most of them have a special bicycle compartment with spaces for several bikes.  It's marked with a cycle logo on the side. Our compartment was just few row next to it. Take note that this bicycle spaces must be reserved in advance at a fee of €10-€15 per bike per journey. You may check DBahn website for more information should you wish to take your bike to Europe by train.

Finally, our group photo and the luggage on the last hurdle trip from the east to the west Europe. By 9.32am we were in city of love, Paris. The train was on schedule, so guys, do not worry much in considering train routes for your journey as it is 100% guaranteed save and sound. Our experience and our story so far is a proven case for you to judge.

Paris Gara de L'Ést is smaller in size when you compare with Gara de Nord, but their access and direction are more easy to find, in other words, it is friendlier. There was a cab area just at the exit on the left side where we easily get 1 who willing to to get everything inside his cab

Last photo of us, the best traveling buddy at Gare de L'Est.

Stay tune for remaining stories and information of our choices for places of interest according to our 4 days and 3 nights stay in Paris itinerary.

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