I compiled this thread to help others who may be going to Europe and moving around by train.
TGV, Trains, Europe, Carriage, Travel
Trains and travelling in Europe..
If you are trying out the trains in Europe, it can be a fast and fun way to get you from city to city, without checking in, waiting for hours at the airport which is usually out of town and the seats even in 2nd class are much larger than any economy airline seat.
However it can also be fraught with all kinds of goof ups, especially if English is not the default language. Doing your homework is key.
Firstly, there are many websites with varying rates and you can try the local website if you can navigate the language, which is the main bearbug. The local website of the country is often much cheaper and there can be more options. Try and choose a direct train, so it is less confusing. The french trains have no English and can be rather frustrating, whereas those in Holland are mostly bilingual at the airport.
Check the right destinations, train numbers and timings. There can be more than 1 train. Check up the local lingo for train, station, carriage and stop. once the train goes off, it can be rather hard to go from carriage to carriage.
There is a computer sign board which will tell you which berth the train carriage will be at, and you should pay attention to this.
getting on to the train is the main issue and once you find your seat, then most of the job is done. You can leave your luggage at the door area, since it is unlikely that anyone will swipe it.
Then sit back and enjoy, trains allow you to take in the countryside and the ride is swift. Just pay attention to the stops as the time at each terminal is short. Also try and use as little bags so you do not forget.
If you cannot stand sitting backwards, specify your preferences clearly. Also toilets onboard are free, so use them instead of the ones in the station which cost money.
My TGV from Paris CDG to Avignon was a terrible affair of getting onto the wrong coach, and hauling up too many bags. After learning my lesson, my return journey to Paris was much smoother...
Enjoy fast trains and a quiet smooth passage!
As for Italian trains, the same issue with language also exists, but the Rome to Florence train is also quiet, efficient and there are hotels near the train station. Its all very convenient...