Train travels begin - in Nice

Trip Start Aug 29, 2005
Trip End Aug 01, 2006

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Flag of France  ,
Saturday, February 25, 2006

Gypsy travels begin - 30 days through 5 countries - nowhere near enough time

Our farewell to France all began with a long day's (and night's) train journey from Montpellier to Nice (one expensive night in a hotel that did not deserve the price - but this is what you get during festival time) and then Venice to Vienna. You soon realise how much space your children need to sleep when sharing a 24 inch wide berth with them in a 6 bed train compartment (3 bunks either side of a 72 inch compartment)! Luckily our children's brief interludes of squirming and noises were nothing compared to our 4 other bedmates' snoring and farting.
Lots of 'partying' evident in Venice and Vienna as people celebrated the final days before Lent - paper streamers, painted faces, Mardi Gras style face masks and elaborate costumes. All was very entertaining to watch as we waited on the banks of the Grand Canal in Venice for our next train.
Some segments of the train journeys were long, but the increased space and lack of confinement (in car seats) on trains vs. car/airplane travel is a very GOOD thing. We planned our journeys that incorporated train travel on one day and then a minimum of 2 days in the one spot - at times 4 or 6 days.
Would be easier if the kids could carry their own bags of course!; Mind you, the warm gear and winter boots came out as soon as we hit Vienna! Oi oi oi, we were not used to this. One of the main benefits to train travel in March is that once we were out of France/Italy, we usually had a compartment to ourselves - or at least ample space so the children had seats as well. (also a great deal of room for nap times)
In Vienna: we had 2 days of exploring this very efficient, tidy (centre of town anyway) city. 1870-1900 era buildings in immaculate shape - such a difference to the buildings near/in Hérépian! Ted was very intrigued with the 200 ft tall flak towers in Vienna, (they are 40 foot square with 10 ft thick walls- built in 1942 - 1944 as anti-aircraft gunfire platforms and now considered a Viennese eyesore by the locals but with no current idea what to do with them. They are impossible to tear down. One has become a GIANT aquarium! Enough concrete was used in these structures that the city of Vienna could have built every citizen of Vienna an apartment!

Next stop - Prague
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