Going on vacation to Austria by the night train

By: Simon La Lau at 22-12-2023 - reactions
© Simon Tartarotti

This is a non-fictional story, however, the characters are fictional.

It's an extremely cold, biting evening at an almost deserted Amsterdam Central Station. A cutting wind blows in my face. Next to me sits my eight-year-old son Daniel, shivering from the cold but still humming cheerfully. Lizzy and Lisa, my ten-year-old twins, are also in good spirits. My wife Ella is not bothered at all by the cold at the station, even though she's usually sensitive to cold. We have no reason to worry because we are waiting to board the night train for a skiing vacation in the picturesque Königsleiten in Austria. Since the train departs at 18:30, Ella and I had the whole day to prepare and entertain the kids before boarding the night train. So, we are completely stress-free!

The night train

After standing for another five minutes on the icy-cold station, the train arrives. We settle into our compartment and notice how nice it is to have our own private space, especially with three children who can't wait to brave the snow.

The inspiration to travel to Königsleiten by train came from my boss. He has been traveling by rail to his favorite destinations in the Alps for years and always enjoys it. Following his recommendation, Ella and I booked our trip online. We could choose between a compartment with seating including access to a washroom, a sleeping compartment with washroom, breakfast, and bedding, or a sleeping compartment with a private shower and toilet, à la carte breakfast, a blanket, pillow, and wake-up service. We ultimately chose a sleeping compartment, as it turned out to be more affordable for two adults and three children than flying, and we have much more space than, for example, in a car. That the train is cheaper than the plane was not the only reason for us to travel to Austria this way. We were also attracted to the idea because of its sustainability. We believe it's important to gradually become more conscious of the environment, and since we're not walking or biking to Austria with our family, traveling by train is the best and most environmentally friendly option.

Back to the journey... As the train travels through the dark landscape, we, as a family, enjoy the atmosphere on board. We play games like 'Guess Who?' and 'I spy with my little eye,' watch the lights of passing cities, and listen to the favorite music, especially of the children. At 22:00, it's time for everyone to go to sleep.

The next morning, we wake up as the first sun rays gently shine through the curtain into our eyes. A glance at the clock reveals that it's almost 08:00. This means we only have a short hour left on the train. About 30 minutes before reaching Jenbach, there's a knock on our compartment door; it's the lady from the breakfast service! Together we enjoy our breakfast and the last minutes of our trip.

Arrival at Jenbach station

Upon arrival in Jenbach, from this place (just before Innsbruck), we travel on to Königsleiten, greeted by the cold Austrian morning air. Even the snow-covered mountain tops welcome us in the distance. The only drawback is that we have to take a taxi from Jenbach to Königsleiten. This taxi ride takes about an hour and is quite pricey. However, we quickly forget the inconvenience of the extra transportation when we arrive in Königsleiten.

We check into our chalet and enjoy the rest of the week with a beautiful skiing vacation! The memory of the train journey is often brought up by one of our children throughout the week. They see the trip as one of the highlights of their adventure. Upon returning home to the Netherlands, we conclude that as a family, we have not only conquered the mountains but also that the journey itself can be as unforgettable as the destination!



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