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1
Glad to share with you my experience onboard the Gerald of Wales. This video will give you a comprehensive review of the service. UK trains with an onboard chef are a rarity. With prices starting at £80 from Holyhead to Cardiff INCLUDING a 3 course dinner this service is extremely good value for money

https://youtu.be/pMoRo8CZH1g


The "Gerald of Wales" (Y Gerallt Gymro in Welsh) train service by Arriva Trains Wales (ATW)  runs from Holyhead in North Wales to Cardiff Central, South Wales
(with a few incursions into England).
What makes this train service so special is its onboard chef, a rarity now on UK train services. First class passengers can enjoy cooked breakfast during the morning service to Cardiff and a three-course dinner in the evening.
If there were numerous train services offering such onboard dining facilities decades ago (with famous names such as the "Brighton Belle"), this is now a rarity.
The service only operate weekdays and you will find more useful information during the video.
Considering the level of service offered, the Gerald of Wales offers excellent value for money (maybe thanks to a few subsidies from the Welsh government). Booking open 3 months in advance but if you want to catch the cheaper 1st class fares try and book 8 weeks ahead.. you could save £50! I booked my ticket with Arriva Trains Wales - no booking fee (other website I would recommend to book train tickets: www.loco2.com. Some other websites may charge additional fees)
The Gerald of Wales service is only only referred to by ATW as a "Business Class" (I think the "Geralf of Wales" name was more inspired and suitable: as a royal clerk to the king and two archbishops, Geralf of Wales travelled widely)
In October 2018, operation of this services (with the Wales & Borders franchise) will pass to KeolisAmey Wales.
2
All other train travel questions / Re: Milan-Engelberg
« Last post by kimmysawi on August 06, 2018, 10:35:19 am »
I'm just wondering should i be getting any eurail pass or any train pass if I'm doing travels milan to rome den rome back to milan .... and travel another day from milan to Zurich?
No, especially if you have more or less fixed date and time of the day, what will allow you in advance ticket purchase.
In Italy there are plenty of various options to travel cheaply using trains, for instance with TrenItalia you can actually travel from Milan to Rome for as cheap as 9 euro (or 29 euro with daytime high-speed trains) + besides TrenItalia in Italy you have a chance to use private rail company (Italo), which also offers discounted tickets with in advance purchase. There is no such short term rail pass which will give you better fare then these discounted tickets, visit phenq review herebut even if there were in Italy besides actual rail pass for all the long-distance trains pass holders have to get seat reservation, which also costs money. So we advise you just to visit again TrenItalia website and Italo website, input Milan-Rome and Roma-Milan for the dates you want and see yourself how cheap you can travel

Al of these can change without making any prior notice
3
What would be the nearest city in Switzerland from Milan? Not really bothered which city in Switzerland we can see as long as we can save more time.
Well, nearest interesting (and relatively big) one is probably Lugano, you can then just make like a day trip there (it's only an hour away from Milan) and then come back to Milan to catch a cheap flight to the Netherlands. Or, alternatively, just continue from Lugano to one of the major Swiss airport (Geneva, Basel, Zurich), thus anyway end up traveling through the Switzerland by land (quite an experience itself, btw).
Also can I just book the tickets to Venice and Florence when I get there or do I need to purchase them in advance?
The thing here is that buying in advance allows you to get much cheaper (=discounted) tickets, while before departure you'll end up paying full standard fare price (=might be times higher than the cheapest discounted tickets). The only category of trains in Italy where you can disregard "early bird=cheap" rule is the regional trains, but those are somewhat slower compared to the high-speed one for which you can get good deals when buying in advance.
I could scratch off Florence from our IT and replace it with any country on the way to the remaining countries(Switzerland,Amsterdam, France) any suggestion on this?
Hmm... Florence is anyway on your route from Rome to Venice, so purely logistically it makes sense to stop there + it's a very beautiful city. But if we do speak about the alternative destination, what are your preferences? Old towns? Nature sightseeing (e.g. mountains, lakes)? Something else?
4
Travel plans, routes and timetables / Re: ITINERARY
« Last post by Aussie Travellers on August 05, 2018, 04:55:14 pm »
Hi Tut,
Thanks so much for your insights:) Very much appreciate your suggestions. I would definitely take in your suggestions about flying in on some countries. What would be the nearest city in Switzerland from Milan? Not really bothered which city in Switzerland we can see as long as we can save more time. Also can I just book the tickets to Venice and Florence when I get there or do I need to purchase them in advance? I could scratch off Florence from our IT and replace it with any country on the way to the remaining countries(Switzerland,Amsterdam, France) any suggestion on this? Hopefully the one that is just neighboring the places we are going to so that we won't waste much time.
Thank you very much and looking forward to your reply:)
5
Well, it is possible to squeeze in 1 more destination, however it all depends on your sightseeing practices & interests. If you are not that much into museums and places far from the city centers, then you can more or less manage to see majority of attractions in two days per city. Obviously one can spend much more time in each of those, but for the first visit it might be ok itinerary (at least it will definitely give a good feel of what you like in Europe & to what kind of places you would prefer to come back :)

Rome to Florence: easy & cheap. If you ok buying discounted (non-returnable) tickets in advance, then you can get good deals for as low as 9 euro per person. There are two big railway companies serving the route - state owned Trenitalia & private operator - Italo, so you can check which one is cheaper for your preferred time.
Florence to Venice: more or less the same story as above, buying discounted ticket in advance can get you a very good price
Venice to Switzerland: here it kind of depends on where in Switzerland you want to go (mountains? Zurich? Geneva?), but in general you can start with the same TrenItalia website to see rough travel times & connections available (majority will be with change in Milan)
Switzerland to Amsterdam: it won't be very fast by train (at least 8-9 hours), so perhaps it might make sense to look into flights here (--> plenty of lowcost options, e.g. EasyJet directly to Amsterdam from Basel or Geneva for as low as 20-30 euro)
Amsterdam to Paris: probably won't be super cheap, but still relatively easy, since you have plenty of direct high-speed Thalys trains
Paris to Manchester: yet again, just like with Switzerland to Amsterdam, it is possible to travel the whole way by train with change in London (EuroStar Paris-London & then domestic train to Manchester), however it will take you >5 hours. So flying might be a good alternative option here as well

6
Travel plans, routes and timetables / ITINERARY
« Last post by Aussie Travellers on August 04, 2018, 06:22:27 am »
Hi There,
We'll be travelling to Europe on Sept 15 till Oct 2.Have not been to Europe apart from Rome so we're really lost about how to do our IT and we've only got a couple of weeks to sort it out. HAVE NOT BOOKED ANYTHING YET:(  We are flying from Manchester UK and planning to go to Rome first. Our draft itinerary is :
ROME- FLORENCE- VENICE
SWITZERLAND

AMSTERMDAM

PARIS

MANCHESTER


Not really fussed on how many days we will be staying per city. Looking at approximately 2 days per city. I can skip Florence if need be.

Please can you suggest a better IT? Or do you reckon I could squeeze in 1 more day in Germany or Prague?

Thanks in advance and sorry for bombarding you with loads of questions.

7
That's awesome, Frequentflyer. I'm going to be traveling through Norway early next year. I'm looking forward to it even more now.
8
Yep, the overall logic in situations like this would suggest that "I" (or any other third option) should stand for mixed/indifferent or something alike, meaning not just M or F. However in the CFR version it indeed looks somewhat confusing
9
Aha, I have it. It is I for indifferent - so I will book that one.
10
I have a question for the Iasi - Timisoara sleeper: I want a 2-berth compartment (we are a male and female) and when I get to 'select gender' it gives me 3 options: M, F, and L.

Never seen this before (I normally see just M and F and usually just select M + M as it doesn't really matter) but what do you think I should select here? Had a look at the FAQs but didn't find anything.
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