The Great Circular European Railway Challenge

Discussion in 'International Transport' started by Mark_Lester, 14 Dec 2011.

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  1. Mark_Lester

    Mark_Lester Member

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    Danke.
    I am going through all these and adding the relevant [[Category:Railway lines opened in 1844]] (or relevant year) on the bottom of the wiki code, hardly any of these are categorized by year, which as early railways they really should be.
    we'll be asleep when we coincide with this, but we do wake up later for the Rendsburg bridge, I pilfered a nice pic of it on here
    http://gcerc.wordpress.com/2012/05/14/the-borealis-night-train/
    This is one of our gems
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dresden–Děčín_railway
    by 1848 you could have gone from Calais to the Czech border.
    working out much beyond that, certainly on our route, gets hard.
     
  2. Golghar

    Golghar Member

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    The German Railways didn't have closed-system loos on all their trains till quite recently and especially on the Neumünster-Flensburg line before it was electrified and had old stock running on it. There used to be frequent complaints from residents of Rendsburg about streamers of boff-paper raining down on their town.
     
  3. Mark_Lester

    Mark_Lester Member

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    it's that kind of info you just cant get on wikipedia.
    we wouldn’t want a gang of juvenile 50 odd year old brits singing the dambusters march while flushing the loos at that point, now would we.
     
  4. Golghar

    Golghar Member

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    I found this on the "flyertalk" forum. And talking about "Dambusters" - I live quite close to the Möhne Dam, though not directly dowstream from it and "Dambusters" tourism plays a significant role in the local economy.
     
  5. Donbacsi

    Donbacsi Member

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    Humph!!! And you guys had the brass to accuse me of being indelicate regarding my "ring stinger", "tidy whities" hygene and "Passengers will please refrain..." comments!
     
  6. Mark_Lester

    Mark_Lester Member

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    ring stinger is a roger melee quote i made regarding the fire sausage, it was your system of grading the quality of the bathroom water by the colour of your underpants that was deemed excessive detail
     
  7. Donbacsi

    Donbacsi Member

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    My comment regarding rinsing the whities was misinterpreted. My point was that if the bog tap water is darker than my unmentionables, I will use bottled water to rinse out my delicates. I have mixed feelings regarding piebald toilet paper and brown rain wafting down on the villages of our Teutonic brethren.
    I am reminded of that great cinematic cult classic, "The Gum Ball Rally". It depicts the true story of a road race with no rules and no speed limits across America from New York to Los Angeles in the hottest cars of the day (only in America). After causing a huge crash behind him on the freeway (that is a large motorway) the Italian driver said, "Whatsa behinda me isa not important!" as he ripped the rear view mirror out of his Ferrari.
     
    Last edited: 19 Nov 2012
  8. Golghar

    Golghar Member

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    Here is something for you to admire when you are at Brussels South Station.
     
  9. Donbacsi

    Donbacsi Member

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  10. Mark_Lester

    Mark_Lester Member

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    I've just mailed belgrade again to see if the belgrade-sarajevo 451 service has survived the chop, she said wait till the 8th dec but this hiatus is annoying. My fallback is the podgorica train, get off at Uzice and road it from there, may be grab a bit of this Sargan 8 if we can hire our own mini bus.

    On the subject of cancellations to things mentioned in this thread, the chinese project to build a railway to the northern burmese coast, and on to chittagong, appears to have been cancelled *sob*. http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=238515, so the Thurso to Kanyakumari Express will have to wait (cos I am not going via iran and baluchistan, I've done my afghan borders thankyou).

    if anyone not on the trip wants a t-shirt btw, msg me.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    so it's official, no train from belgrade to sarajevo. I am now exploring the alternatives.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    I guess we should also be able to check everything else again now, there's still this issue about connecting services from hendaye and being able to make it back home that day. all the balkans stuff needs reviewing
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    oh pants
    "The Geneva to Barcelona overnight Elipsos service is being suspended from 9 December this year and is unlikely to run in 2013."
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    empathy empathy. they've not show any empathy.

    lets for now still assume you can leave lisbon and get the last london eurostar out of paris the following night (but this def needs getting to the bottom of and verifying now), and indeed that the madird-lisbon and lisbon-irun sleepers will stil be in existence next summer.
    lets also still insist on the open top carriages over the bernina.

    I have just discovered that we can do the oberalp (via the tunnel!). we could even make it to zermat, though it will be dark by then.

    we would make camp somewhere in the rhone valley and then the following day aim for Limoges-Benedictins, and pick up the paris-barcelona sleeper.
    if we decided on geneva, which we can get to for 01:10 I think (come on, you just did half the alps) we could get a 09:30 to Llyon, have lunch there, which is probably the best place on the planet to eat in and so fits with the theme, and then get a 15:05 dep to limoges , change at veirzon.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    this is the route to geneva via the scenic route.

    St. Moritz Fr, 19.07.13 dep 15:02 RE 1152 Regional-Express
    Reichenau-Tamins Fr, 19.07.13 arr 16:52
    Transfer time 13 min.

    Reichenau-Tamins Fr, 19.07.13 dep 17:05 RE 1248 Regional-Express
    Disentis/Muster Fr, 19.07.13 arr 18:11
    Transfer time 3 min.

    Disentis/Muster Fr, 19.07.13 dep 18:14 R 859 Regionalzug
    Andermatt Fr, 19.07.13 arr 19:22

    Andermatt Fr, 19.07.13 dep 19:37 R 567 Regionalzug
    Brig Bahnhofplatz Fr, 19.07.13 arr 21:33
    walk 7 min.

    Brig Fr, 19.07.13 dep 22:28 1 IR 1446 Interregio
    Geneve Sa, 20.07.13 arr 01:07
     
  11. Glenmutchkin

    Glenmutchkin Member

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    A 3 minute change will test Swiss timekeeping!

    Does Geneva have digs cheap enough for the likes of us or will we be spending the night carousing around the fountain?
     
  12. Mark_Lester

    Mark_Lester Member

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    22 quid a bed at the city centre hostel.
    those timings will all work, and the connection will be on the facing platform. but it will be a big day, we will be zonked.
    lyon really does deserve a sit down, but we might have to go for the posh picnic, but it will be as posh as it comes.
     
  13. Donbacsi

    Donbacsi Member

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    Do we have a (semi) final design? If so, can we see it? Colours, costs in various currencies, sizes, etc.
     
  14. Mark_Lester

    Mark_Lester Member

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    it will look something like this.
    [​IMG]
    there's no Zurich (we only had seconds there anyway) but there's now Lyon, and it finishes on the 23rd. So we are only 22 capitals now, though Bern really was only a hop off hop on anyway.

    Sumo Sam's can knock them out for £8.50 if I stick in an initial order of 30 or so, but can do them at that price for singles thereafter she said.
    Colours are in here http://our-catalogue.com/GRTE/?search=SS6#tooltip31
     
  15. Donbacsi

    Donbacsi Member

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    What, no Puce or Mauve?
    I thought Roma was out...which would mean no Vaticano either. Yes?
     
  16. Mark_Lester

    Mark_Lester Member

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    Rome is in, including the station at the Vatican.
    Bern is out, along with Zurich, we're sticking to the hills in southern Switzerland.
    Lyon is the new addition, along with the Oberalp the previous day. It is food heaven. I'd have sneaked it in before if the opportunity had arisen.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    Rome is also where we'll be getting the supplies in for the Alpine day, which is a long one with Swiss timings between trains almost all the way.So we'll be stocking up at this place http://www.volpetti.com/
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    I got blown out by the City Hostel in Geneva. I am switching to Bern, the only capital we werent staying at least long enough for a pint in. (Amsterdam 1 hour, everywhere else 3 hours or more).
    In theory you can make it via the oberalp and on via the gotthard to bern for 23:30, but neither route needs booking, so you can just stay on the Arbula train to Chur and go via Zurich and be Bern for 19:30.
    The problem with turning up at midnight in Bern is that we'll need a 7:30 kick off in the morning if we are going to keep to the Lyon idea. bahn is telling me the quickest way to do all this is to go via Paris, which we arent going to do.

    Personally I dont think the oberalp holds a candle to either Bernina or Arbula, so I might be inclined to bottle out.

    Limoges benedict station is quite something anyway. The roof burned down 10 years ago and the locals were so upset they replaced it as is, good on yer.
    Wiki states
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    the route finding on bahn for this part of the world is screwed.
    the best way to get from bern to lyon is still via geneva. there is an 09:34 out of bern, gets to geneva 11:15, then an 11:29 to lyon, gets in 13:22.
    or an earlier option of 07:34 bern, and 11:22 lyon.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    My cheap hostel in Bern turned us down. That's 2 out of 2 so far.
    We can of course get from Milan, to Limoges, in a day, but we lose the Bernina, which would be a real bummer.
    I dont think any of you have done the Bernina, (none of my non-trainy people have for sure) though I cant believe Michael hasnt done it, but it's been electric from day 1. The Jungfrau is of course sommat else again, with three narrow gauge mountain railways required to get up it, but I still think Bernina+Arbula is the bestest of the lot.

    Anyway, we're in Milan at dawn. We need to get to Barcelona somehow. Can I have some input please. I think we are going to have to cough up at least £40 each for a pit stop.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    we can be in zurich for 21:51 including oberalp+north gotthard, and dont need to leave till 08:30 for a 13:20 lyon, which means we'd have barely an hour to do the shopping, or 06:30 for 11:20.
     
    Last edited: 4 Dec 2012
  17. Donbacsi

    Donbacsi Member

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    Scooter, the gourmet wonder dog, is disappointed the provisioning stop in Milan has been scratched. This means none of those hyper-yummy sweet sausages washed down with crackling cold bottles of Piedmonte whites.
    Bourdain stopped in Rome in his new show "The Layover" and had comments and scenes of the Rome train station. In addition, he stopped into the deli you intend to visit. From the quick glimps of the map it doesn't look that close to the station. See the video:
    http://www.free-tv-video-online.me/player/sockshare.php?id=765642256012A799
     
  18. Mark_Lester

    Mark_Lester Member

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    I know this deli is no where near the station, but we've hours, and obviously need to do the derelict buildings, which it's virtually walking distance from.
    There is no proper deli in Milan open when we need it to be.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    An update for our Cestrian representative.

    We're going to kip at Easy Hotel in Zurich. It's about £30 something each. We do though have a painful 06:30 kick off the following day, equating to an half past 5 wake up call, in order that we can get to Lyon in time to do picnic shopping at this Les Halles place. If you want to have a lie in till 07:30 you can get the 08:30 and get in to Lyon 2 hours later at 13:30, but dont miss it!.

    I've got STC on the case. My mate Diana there is keen as mustard. The other place (of the famous welsh mining town) failed my due diligence test. I asked him to tell me if he knew of any sleepers anywhere in Europe that were being cancelled and he claimed none. Which 2 weeks later was proved false. When I asked him questions about booking Skopje he clearly hadnt done anything like it. I dunno what happened to the nice lady I was talking to before, but this guy fails, I need someone I can trust.

    I've got a quote on a bus to do Uzice to Sarajevo that works out at about £17 a backside. We'll get them to drop us off at the start of the Sargan 8 and pick us up again at Mokra Gora. I posted about Sargan being steam, which on reflection is perhaps just me being overly optimistic again. Though we've probably more chance than at Ledo, and certainly than on the Arunachal line ;).

    STC are going through the plan in detail, I will report back if there's anything serious.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    The direct Bucurest to Sofia train has gone. You get to Ruse and then there is no connection.
    We can though make it to Varna on the Black Sea, and then get a sleeper to Sofia from there, with only about 20 miles of duplication. We've only got 2 1/4 hours leeway at Varna, but the junction stop at Sindel gives us 3 1/2 hours of leeway, which should be worth risking.
    Bulgarian sleepers though appear to be 3 tier, though getting info on that front is proving hard.

    Bucuresti Nord Gara A Th, 18.07.13 dep 12:30 461 Schnellzug
    Ruse(BG) Th, 18.07.13 arr 15:25
    Ruse(BG) Th, 18.07.13 dep 15:55 R 9623 Regionalzug
    Varna Th, 18.07.13 arr 20:04
    Varna Th, 18.07.13 dep 22:20 R 3636 Regionalzug
    Sofia Fr, 19.07.13 arr 06:10
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    there is a 360 loop on this route, at Klisura, but at 4 in the morning.
     
  19. Glenmutchkin

    Glenmutchkin Member

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    If this description of the couchettes is accurate we will probably be awake at 4 a.m.


    From http://bulgariatravelhacker.com/a/transport-in-bulgaria/
     
  20. Mark_Lester

    Mark_Lester Member

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    I got this to work http://razpisanie.bdz.bg/site/search.jsp
    our sleeper has 1st and 2nd class. It's unclear if a 2nd class 3 bed compartment means 3 tier, but I guess it must. I dont know what the extra supplement will be to upgrade to 1st but it will be worth it.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    all I can find pictures of is 2nd class, which is 3 tier obviously. I'll ask Stoy to find out if 1st class even exists, and then ask Diana what it's going to cost. Even if we have to buy the entire tickets separately it's worth it, though it's probably most cost effective to just buy the remaining single berth and make these 2 person cabins. 3 blokes in one of those cabins is an horrific prospect. Getting that to happen will probably require someone to turn up at Sofia station and do it, so we're in luck.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    oh my.
    split-zagreb has transformed into split-budapest, and leaves 4 hours earlier, so I wont be forcing you to go swimming at Bacavice, but much worse, it arrives at the horrific hour of 3am in Zagreb.
    I think the chances of doing St Mark's on impact in Venice, after a 3am kick off, are receding.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    I am now going through every inch of it. This Ister from Budapest has decided it takes an extra 70 kins this year. I dont know if that's just being more realistic, but ther connection for this Varna exercise is now 20 mins, which obviously precludes any of these Romanian mitch sausages I keep harping on about, but is more likely to result in disaster all round.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    According to this
    http://bdz.bg/novina.php?id=2208943
    BDZ are running "an additional 10 international trains next summer", but "on certain days", whatever that means. But that's the first improvement in the scenario for several days.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    Things are looking up. It looks like they just havent uploaded the data to whatever oracle there is that all these companies are supposed to cough their timetables up to.
    http://bdz.bg/files/2012/raz_bdz/Romania.pdf

    Of course if I'd spotted this dash to the Black Sea, and subsequent sleeper back (instead of skiving off in this Sofia hostel), I'd have doubtless listed off the various seas that we will be in view of during the trip and demanded we did it. I still might.....
    Actually, everything is optional, non of this is on some group ticket. I dont think Stoy wants to do this, he's going to skive off to his own flat for the night in Sofia (you can hardly blame him, I'm sure it's quite nice).
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    the next bad news is merely topological. the paris - barcelona sleeper, the one I am trying to get us on to get into spain (the only one left into Iberia) without having to kip on the french riviera (which is an option) doesnt now stop in Limoges. It goes Paris, Orleans, then flat out to Figueres in catalunya. Orleans fyi is virtually Paris. Now actually, you can be in Paris in 2 hours flat from Lyon on one of the fastest and most frequent TGV services in Europe. So that might be what we are going to do. It would mean, amongst other things, we dont have to do the stupid start from Zurich, the 08:30 (harsh enough) into Lyon at 13:30 would be fine, we could still have 6 hours in Lyon. Actually, the train comes into, of course, Paris Lyon, which is where Le Train Bleu is http://www.le-train-bleu.com/uk/index.php. We could have a drink in the bar there which as you can see is jaw dropping. The way the return final lap is looking back through Paris, we'll be lucky to get a fleeting glimpse of that large metal tower, so this would be our Parisian culture dose. It totally cocks up any notion of a circle, but this is the result of these bullet trains really, so I guess we ought to use them.
     
  21. Donbacsi

    Donbacsi Member

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    I compare a night in a couchette to a bad night with a bottle of bad booze...both lead to a morning of swearing "I'll never do that again."
    But then that bottle starts looking pretty good a couple of days later. Just as does the couchette. A little reminder:
    You will be crammed into a dinky compartment with 5 strangers who will emit all sorts of noxious noises and fumes all night. YOu can either go head to head and breath garlic, or go head to foot and take in the fragrance of 3 day old toe cheese. If you are by the window you will have to climb over 5 sleeping dogs to get to and from the bog. If you are by the door you will have 10 footprints on your belly before the night is over.
    Personally, if I can't get a flop in a 2 or 3 bed compartment, I will take a 2nd class seat by the window over a couchette every time.
     
  22. Mark_Lester

    Mark_Lester Member

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    Don, all the party either did this http://gcirc.wordpress.com, or wish they had.
    We are 13, that means we can buy up whole compartments.
    I am hoping that we dont have to do any couchettes, though Skopje-Belgrade doesnt always have the sleepers, so said Ognjenka. So it might be better to book "friendly class".

    I am now told that there should be a sleeper running out of bucharest to sofia next summer. I hadnt really planned spending very much time at all there, but we might have all Saturday afternoon and evening.
    We could go for Varna, but it's just too risky right now with a 20 mins. transfer. and a subsequent 30 min one at Russe. But that transfer has been up to 2 hours previously, so we'll have to make a call on it nearer the time.
    We might still be able to use Canape connection as a chill out and wash and brush up camp for the morning in Sofia, it will also be a good place to organize the bus to Skopje pick us up from. Anyone who cant be arsed doing the market and the token iconic building (they are all churches, or course) can just hang around at the hostel.
     
    Last edited: 16 Dec 2012
  23. Donbacsi

    Donbacsi Member

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    Do they offer any of those "private" three-stacked bunk beds with the aisle in the middle? Those aren't half bad unless there is a drunken football team lurching down the aisle and crashing though the curtains (personal experience).
     
  24. Mark_Lester

    Mark_Lester Member

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    the good news is that this bucharest-sofia sleeper is now there in the timetable, leaves 23: and something.
    The bad news being I now have to work out how to spend all that time in Bucharest.

    but worse is this situation with trains going north from Hendaye. According to bahn, in 4 weeks tomorrow, the 12:45 to montparnasse vanishes, the next train doesnt get in till 20:33, leaving boarding a 21:13 last train to london an impossibility.

    but there's nothing at all listed for summer, so I am hoping this is a temporary aberration and that an appropriate connection for the elipsos will appear, else that's surely yet another sleeper service that will go bust in days. why
    a) the elipsos has been moved back 5 hours
    b) a further 3 hours have been lost due to the disappearance of the mid day train
    I know not, but I am starting to imagine a journalist somewhere sticking pins into an effigy.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    ah hang on, I pages through by month, and before everything goes white the 12:45 does return in may. and of course that's just the 6 month thing anyway (I understand you are only going to get 6 months in advance for TGV timetables)
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    but what is rather more disturbing is that this lisbon hendaye train vanishes on 1st feb.
    I can find corroboration that the zurich-bracelona train was to be withdrawn, but none for this.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    Right, I found in here http://www.cp.pt, (go to international, sud expresso, notices) that the lunchtime connection is being withdrawn during the week in jan, feb and march. "due to engineering works", but should be back in April. so they've got to overrun by months obviously to stuff us.
    it kind of implies that they arent scrapping the sud express, but I am understandably very edgy now.
     
    Last edited: 6 Jan 2013
  25. Donbacsi

    Donbacsi Member

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    Did anyone get tickets for the Tube steam run? If so, can we get photos and an account?
     
  26. Mark_Lester

    Mark_Lester Member

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    My mate's wife did, I'll go ask again.

    Update on the project
    Ffestiniog Travel got the "contract", they really are good.
    We are staying at Hotel Biber now in Zurich, not EasyHotel.
    We have to road it up to Narvik, the flight doesnt fit.

    I will be in Bury next week and will do the East Lancs Railway in the morning of 9th Feb, if anyone happens to be in the area.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/clogsilk/sets/72157632528418227/with/8383881705/
     
  27. Donbacsi

    Donbacsi Member

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    "the good news is that this bucharest-sofia sleeper is now there in the timetable, leaves 23: and something.
    The bad news being I now have to work out how to spend all that time in Bucharest."

    I keep going back to this qoute. Does this mean you are going through B-resti two times or just the run down from B-pest? If coming from B-pest, have you looked into the possibility of jumping off in Brasov for 6-7-8 hours to enjoy yourselves and then taking a local commuter on into B-resti? Would be time much better spent. Especially if you take the 7 glass "wine tour" in the cellar on the town square.
     
  28. Mark_Lester

    Mark_Lester Member

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    Ah!, good thinking Robin!. We're in Buc' just the once, that's more than enough ;).
    I know Brasov, it's a bloody site nicer than Bucuresti. And as far as my mititie quest is concerned, it's got a place every Romanian I've ever met knows about, round the back of the town hall.
    I'll go look at the timetables.
     
  29. Donbacsi

    Donbacsi Member

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    1. Did Glen die or is he just sleeping with one eye open?
    2. I was grazing back through the posts and found post #1 on page 36, wherein Mick is budgeting $1,500 for the food splash in Budapest. My suggestions:
    A: Send me the money and I will buy airfare and meet you at the station with huge plastic wrapped platters of gourmet food enough to take you down the penisula. Any left over cash will be spent on tins of caviar (bring your own silver spoons);
    B: Refer to the two following sites to get a grasp of food prices. You can change the second site to your home in Bolton or Luton or whatever place in which you may live. You can also change the site for any other target city where you plan to make your food raids.
    http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/city_result.jsp?country=Hungary&city=Budapest
    http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-livin...&country2=Hungary&city1=London&city2=Budapest
     
  30. Mark_Lester

    Mark_Lester Member

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    the pair of them have buggered off to India, that's 3 on the trip, Mick, Dave and also my mate John who are out there, plus Kothanda who is native.

    Mick was just pointing out that with 15 of us (there will be 14 actually), then if I'm asking for £30 a day each, then as that would have included the Romania day that's about $1,500 to spend. Which is ridiculous obviously, we wouldnt be able to carry it.
    The critical side of this train has now eased with the Brasov stop off, and then being in Bucharest in the evening. Orignally it was a 36 hour run down to Istanbul.

    But we wont be scrimping, especially in the balkans. We'll want the best you've got, but we prob wont be able to get rid of anywhere near $500, not including the booze.
    We'll want several bottles of the primo tokaji, we dont mind spending $50 on one of those small bottles if it's top notch. We'll also need say 12 bottles of wine and about 6 bottles of top quality palinka to keep us going for a few days. That's assuming we havent all collapsed with liver failure by then.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    It says under 3 quid for a decent bottle of wine.
    Therefore:-
    We want 12 bottles of the best bloody stuff there is, and 3 or 4 tokaji. We wont be able to get decent booze in Skopje, nor Bucharest or Sofia, not compared with your lot, so it's a case of how much of the stuff we can carry. We'll down most of it on the two night trains bud-buc and buc-sof, but woudl be nice to have at least a few wines, and some of the best hooch budapest can supply us with, to get us to croatia.
     
    Last edited: 10 Feb 2013
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