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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Train - Paris to Torino

We're both going to miss this apartment - fantastic position and wonderfully decorated, special mention to the unbelievable fantastic bed, I am so going to buy a King Koil when we get back - the kitchen is fine for shorter stays but for longer periods I'd be looking for something a little more fitted out.









We head to Place Maubert and as we had hoped, there are taxis. It's a quick trip to Gare de Lyon and all is going well until we are dropped off at the station. We are deposited in the basement where several homeless people are living and the stench is eye-watering. We need to take the elevator to get to the station proper and it's an unpleasant trip up as it seems that the elevator is also being used as a toilet. It's an unfortunate last impression of Paris to have.

For some reason we're not allowed to go any further and will only be granted access to the platform level 15 minutes before our train departs. That explained the crowds here gathered around the arrival screens.

Train Travel Tip #1 - Validate your ticket as soon as you see a functioning validation device. Don't assume there's going to be one on the platform and certainly don't leave it to the last minute.

Train Travel Tip #2 - Avoid buying train tickets through Australian Stores. You're more than likely going to pay much much more than you should. 
We purchased this ticket through the SNCF site (the French rail site) and if you order it early enough, they will mail it to you for free. You also have the option of collecting the ticket at the station. If we had bought it via the Australian rail stores it would have been at least double the price. If you're travelling through Italy, then the Trenitalia site is invaluable.


We're on a EC Artesia train and the journey from Gare de Lyon to Torino Porta Susa takes 5 and half hours - we'll be getting in after 1.20pm. It's actually a more comfortable train then the Eurostar.


From experience I've learnt that taking photos from train windows isn't particularly good - there's always the issue of light reflections but every now and again you'll manage to get a semi decent shot. Best advice is to put down the camera and just enjoy the view. As you travel from Paris to the border, the countryside slowly transforms from flatish plains to rugged mountain ranges.



It's amazing how the hills turn into seriously large, snow capped mountains.



This is where the train stopped for the longest - it's at the border and moves from being a "French train" to an "Italian train".

Lunch

A breakfast service is offered and the trays that arrived us looked pretty good so we decided to see what lunch would be like.  We've had really good meals on proper Italian trains with restaurant cars and were interested to see how this would compare. To be honest, it was disappointing.

The options sounded good - lasagna or cannelloni but this is what we got





I don't know if it looks better or worse with the lid off.



For a mass produced pasta dish, it wasn't too bad. The ragu tasted like it had spent some time cooking and the bechamel wasn't too bad either - the pasta wasn't overcooked so all up, it was okay.

The train arrived about 15 minutes late which isn't too bad considering the distance we've travelled however we were totally unprepared by the bomb site that awaited us at Porta Susa Station.

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