Europe is so beautiful that i always try to opt for a train journey rather than air travel and this time was no exception. Most of Europe is very well connected by various trains, may be Eastern Europe is an exception but remaining part of Europe is connected via some super fast trains.
Eurostar is the only train which you can board to enter the other side of Europe from London. Its a very well managed train and runs dot on time. You can board the train from St. Pancras station. Its a very big station with loads of Eurostar employees to help you out. Be rest assured, you will not face any issues.
Eurostar goes via Euro tunnel which is build under the sea and connects UK with France. Moment the train enters the tunnel you can feel a change in temperature, it becomes a little cold but other than that no difference, just a normal tunnel. As the train comes out of tunnel it passes through some lush green areas in France, it was beautiful sight as i was coming from London where it was all covered with dark clouds and raining a lot. The sight of bright sun and lush green fields gave such a pleasant feeling. My kindle went into my bag and headphones came out.
Once Eurostar comes out of tunnel then it can take different routes based on your destination. Two main destination from London are Brussels and Paris. As i was heading towards Dusseldorf so i had taken train to Brussels. One thing to remember is that Brussels is one hour ahead of London, so make sure you have the correct time. Once you are out of the tunnel it doesn’t take long to reach Brussels, i think overall journey was around 2.5 hours but not sure.
Brussels station is big with lots of shops and eating joints. Also you will realise that English speaking people will start shrinking now 🙂 . As its a major changing station, its easy to find information or to book tickets. Its probably not best station you will see but its big and has all the facilities.
From Brussels there is no direct train to Dusseldorf, either you need to go via Cologne or Aachen, and i choose journey via Cologne because it was cheaper 😉 . So it was time to board ICE train from Brussels to Cologne. When i say ICE then it stands for Inter City Express!!
As i planned my journey, i had imagined that Eurostar would be the best and rest of trains would be average but my Eurostar experience didn’t meet those very high expectations, its a very good train but i will not give 5 stars. As it turned out, ICE was a complete surprise. Its very spacious with lots of luggage space, nice ambience and free wifi. Moment you enter you get such good vibes, it makes you feel relaxed. Here are some pics of ICE train
Journey from Brussels to Cologne is very scenic with views varying from hills to open green spaces.
All you need is some good music, a book and a window seat, trust me time will just fly and you would hope that journey was a little longer. Journey was probably around 2.5 hours. Also want to add that seat reservation is not mandatory on these trains, and it costs an additional four Euros. As its a long journey, i went for seat reservation.
Once i reached Cologne, i was just 30 mins away from Dusseldorf. Best part of journey from all lush green open fields, small hills was over with all memories captured :). Cologne station is quite big with around 11–12 platforms and i had to rush from Platform 4 to Platform 1 within 10 minutes as my next was going to depart within 10 minutes. As i was running around to reach Platform 1, i just could not locate it!! All platforms were in sequence except no# 1. Had to take some help to locate it as it was hidden in a corner.
I was a going to board a Regional train to Cologne and looking at the rush on Platform, you can forget about seat unless you are lucky. Reservation is not allowed in regional trains. But then it was my lucky and i got a seat :)). Dusseldorf is known for its exhibitions and people around the globe visit it. Half an hour passed quickly and i was checking with people around me about my destination station as it was crowded. Didn’t face any difficulty and got down at Dusseldorf main station.
With no active sim card, it was again time to ask people to reach my Hotel and i reached after entering some wrong streets 😉 but memories of this train journey kept a smile on my face. Those lovely scenic views, amazing trains, lovely people whom i met made it a truly memorable journey.