Thursday 19 May 2011

Sometimes I've been sittin' on trains

From Seoul to where...

There's something romantic about travelling on the train. Beautiful countryside whizzing past. Alone with your thoughts. Smooth and traffic free. Sometimes there is a delay, but you never find yourself staring out at concrete and cars.

Eastern European trains

Korea as it flashes past

You're not restricted to your seat, you can wander to the food car, or just along the train. Sleeping in one overnight is an adventure. I've slept on trains from Italy to Austria, Kracow to Berlin, Shanghai to Hainan, Suzhou to Beijing, Chengdu to Hangzhou, Zagreb to Split... Some were more comfortable than others, and I certainly don't think that there is anything romantic about the toilets on Chinese trains...

But trains are magical and take you somewhere exciting, to experience new adventures.

Fast train from Shanghai to Suzhou. Same speeds as KTX.

The KTX in Korea is incredibly fast. It's basically the same as the fast train we used to get from Shanghai to Suzhou on a sunday morning at 6am after a night out, to save on hostel fees. I have taken the KTX quite a few times on my visits to Busan. I think it is brilliant! The seats are excellent. There is good leg room and when you want to recline, you don't have to worry about the person behind you, because the way it's designed doesn't affect them. The bottom of the seat slides forward giving you slightly less leg room, but not making anything different to the person behind. I always get person-behind-guilt if I push my chair back normally.

Luxury from Venice to Vienna

When all the seats are taken you are offered a 'free seat' ticket. On my way to Busan this weekend it meant, first come first served on 2 end carriages, but on the way back this meant you don't have a seat. When the train pulled away from Busan Station, I grabbed a free seat, but I knew this might only be free until the next station. Another woman had done the same, and every time we got to a station she stood up and waited to see if someone sat in the seat she had taken. No one did. I decided not to move, and sat with nervous anticipation every time we stopped. And I'd either chosen someone's seat who'd missed the train, or they saw a foreigner sitting in the seat and didn't want to have to try and get me to move. Either way I got a seat for the whole journey back!


One other thing to love about the KTX: The Services:

  • phone chargers
  • laptop plugs
  • nurse station
  • toilets (standard western)
  • vending machines
  • food trolley
  • TV (bring headphones)
  • Free water (first class only)
Yes this was a whole post on trains. :-P

I have been listening to this all day, and it's so relaxing!

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1 comment:

  1. one of my favorite songs ever:)

    i liked your whole blog on trains, they are pretty nifty!