For the past few years, I’ve had an informal personal policy of limiting the amount of flying I do. One short-haul return flight a year.
This hasn’t previously been much of a hardship. Up until this year, the idea of jetting off on more than one holiday hasn’t really come up. This year, however, lots of opportunities have arisen. We’ve already flown medium-haul to Cyprus; in July, I have booked Lufthansa to get to Munich, and now the latest opportunity is a trip to Dublin in the Autumn with the gay bellringers. (Actually, it’s been a gay year all-round, staying with gay friends in Larnaca, and the Munich trip is organised through Thingbox).
So, I’m already over-carbon-budget on flying with a medium haul flight. Munich compounds that because you can’t fly direct to Munich from many places, and the itinerary I have ended up with involves two flights in each direction (Birmingham International to Munich via Frankfurt outward bound and via Dusseldorf on the homeward leg.) I did consider the overland alternative to Munich, but ruled out the rail journey as a little too complicated:
- 3 hour train Nottingham to St Pancras
- 2h30 journey from London to Paris Gare de Nord
- 6hr20 journey from Paris Gare de l’Est to München Hbf
You’d be looking at nine hours just on a train, with assorted complications with changing, customs, passports. And I’m not sure it’s possible to buy a through ticket which could mean you’d be in a mess if you messed a connection.
Mind you, there’s the sleeper alternative – this Guardian article has some interesting long weekends in Europe by rail, most of which entail a sleeper service at some point.
My other alternative was considering a direct flight from EMA to Salzburg in Austria followed by a 30minute ICE train journey to Munich, but it transpired that the EMA/Salzburg service is winter only, and only on a Saturday, which wasn’t terribly convenient.
But if you think 9 hours to travel the nearly 900 miles to Munich from Nottingham is bad, trying to get to Dublin overland is worse! The National Rail router says Nottingham to Newport (South Wales) then a five-hour long train from Newport (South Wales) to Holyhead (North Wales) – before a short ferry trip from Holyhead. All in all, just … another nine hours on a train.
RailEasy comes up with a slightly more sane route that avoids South Wales at least by adding changes at Derby, Crewe and Chester, but still only brings it down to 7 hours.
So, for Dublin, I could
- Drive to Holyhead and catch ferry
- Spend an entire day and more on dreadful slow local trains
- Fly direct from EMA, and to hell with personal flight policy
- Not go at all.