London to Munich, by Train, in a day...I must be mad

I had a lovely meal last night with two friends ex of Salisbury at The Gunmakers Arms - a pub I have long wanted to visit. It is about 5 minutes walk from Farrington Tube Station, which is on the Hammersmith and City Line so very easy to reach.

While the beer is good (Harviestoun Old Engine Oil was my favourite of the night) the food is truly outstanding. Myself and Tom both tucked into a huge plate of the finest fish and chips this side of Mars, while Tehm enjoyed a rump steak on ciabatta sandwich with the most lucious chocolate gateuax with dark cherry sauce for afters. By God it was good!

To finish off I spotted a rare bottle of Jenever behind the bar which washed everything down nicely. Top notch grub all round and somewhere that I definitely recommend to any visitors to London.

I started my travels proper at 0730 at St Pancras Station, taking the direct Eurostar service to Brussels Midi which takes about two hours. Unfortunately I then had a 2 hour wait for the Ice Train to arrive, but this was time to go to the loo, find something to eat and contemplate my navel. I could probably have gone into Brussels proper and had a good feed, but I prefer to stay in the station rather than risk missing my connection. The travel centre is extremely helpful and user-friendly and I was able to reserve my seat for the next two legs - Brussels to Cologne and Cologne to Munich.

What really stunned me, not having travelled by Ice Train before, was the level of comfort and quality of food on board. The picture to the left shows the second class cabin in which I have just spent the last 7 hours and yes, it is a comfortable place to be. Even for long-legs like me there is enough space, the seats recline, there is power to the seat for a laptop, even a choice of music playing (classical/pop/rock etc) through a headphone socket between the seats. In case you are wondering, the wooden thing is a luggage rack.

The other surprising thing is the food on board. Accustomed as I am to a bloke pushing a trolley up and down full of lukewarm British Rail tea, it came as quite a shock to realise that the Germans inevitably do it properly. In First class they serve to the seat but for the rest of us each train has a  "barbistro" car with real food and drink at not rip-off prices. I ordered a cappucino, which was made with nice coffee and properly strong and then a real, heated up from fresh pizza, on a real plate, all while zooming along at around 170mph. Should I have wanted it, they not only have 6 choices of beer available but two of those are on draught (!) and if your journey runs into the evening they even hold a Happy Hour.

Very impressive all round and off course on time throughout the journey. I just wish we could do it in the UK.

Tomorrow I am onwards to Ljubljana in Slovenia where I shall stop, catch my tail, and work out where to go next.

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