My European Adventure: Sleeper Train Experience. Good or Bad?
So this was my first time properly travelling, therefore the sleeper train came as a great excitement for me. The idea of sleeping on a train was a whole new experience, and it was definitely a different one.
Train Franchise: Intercity
Booking Company: https://czech-transport.com/index.php?id=8306
Travel Date: Wednesday 17th July 2019
Departure from Krakow: 22:34
Arrival in Bratislava: 5:50
Ticket Type: One Way Ticket and Reservation (Ticket and Cabin)
Price: £94.35 Per Person
We caught the train from Krakow Glowny train station at 22:34 in the evening, and set off on our 7 hour 20 minute journey through the night to Bratislava.
Now I was half hoping for an Orient Express style train. An Agatha Christie style dining car with a very odd array of people of which to solve a mystery with, wouldn't haven't gone unwanted by me, but this wasn't that type of train. Of course I knew this beforehand and I was definitely entertaining a highly unlikely event, considering we hadn't booked to travel on the Orient Express, but I can dream right?
The train was actually very modern, consisting of both sleeper cars and normal seating cars.
We opted for the sleeper car, as spending the night in a bed as oppose to a seat, sounded much more appealing.
I wasn't expecting much but I was pleasantly surprised by the cabin we were faced with. It was small but cozy, consisting of a bunk bed, a sink and one little cupboard topped up with drinks and muffins. Upon arrival we were greeted by who I can only presume was the train manager, who kindly asked us if we wanted tea of coffee in the morning with our wakeup call. That is one thing I cannot fault about this experience, the hospitality was amazing.
It was basically a mini hotel on wheels and I have to say I wasn't mad about it.
Now don't get me wrong, you can't overly judge the rooms on a sleeper train. No they aren't spacious rooms with super comfy beds and all the amenities. They are basic, but they do the job!
I got the top bunk, which I was happy about at the start of the night, but little did I know I was in for a battle. So the bed didn't have much of a guard along the edge, which meant staying put was pretty difficult. Sleeping was the last thing on my mind, as every time the train turned, slowed down, sped up, hit a bump in the tracks or stopped, I would go flying. To put it bluntly, the whole night consisted of me clinging on for dear life in a desperate attempt to keep myself from launching off the bed and onto the floor. Think riding a mechanical bull and seeing how long you can last before falling off. It was like a game, which
made for an interesting night at least and it's one i'll never forget, mainly because I didn't get a wink of sleep, but again, I wasn't expecting much from it and it's all part of the experience!
Now finally I want to address the toilet situation. It wasn't the best. There was one available don't get me wrong, but it wasn't clean, the floor was soaking wet and the door didn't lock, so you just had to risk a stranger walking in on you. It was usable, but it was definitely a 'get in and get out as quick as you can' situation. Not the best, but when are train toilets ever nice?
The morning came and we got a knock at the door from the train manager with our wake up call at 5:30am, 20 minutes before we were due to arrive in Bratislava. He passed us our tea and we waited in our cabin for the last few minutes and watched through the window as we arrived.
Overall this experience was an interesting one, but quite fun if you have never travelled like this before.
Lets got through the pros and cons;
- A much better way of travelling through the night and having a better chance of sleeping
- The hospitality is great, you're really looked after
- The rooms are clean, functional and do their job
- The toilet situation isn't great
- The beds are quite solid and the top bunk is a game of who can stay up there the longest
The lists say it for themselves. More pros than cons and overall I think it's a great, convenient way to travel. In a nutshell, it's a little hotel experience on wheels, except everything is a lot smaller and packed together.
I hope this gave you a nice little insight into what it's like to travel by sleeper train, and maybe one day you'll try it out too!
If you enjoyed this post give it a like and/or a comment and let me know your travel experiences in the comments below!