Smoking in Europe
Trials and Tribulations of being a smoker
Continuing on with the trials and tribulations of being a smoker whilst traveling around certain parts of the world, I was most pleasantly surprised to discover how wonderful it was to travel on Eurail if you are a smoker. On my recent trip to Europe, I took the train from Wiesbaden to Frankfurt and then to Annecy in France. From Annecy, I then trained across to Interlaken ending up in Grindelwald in Switzerland for a bit of skiing. During this whole journey, I had no problems in indulging in a quick smoke throughout the trip. It was great especially since you are allowed to smoke in designated areas on the train platforms in those countries. Smoking is not allowed on the trains though – which is reasonable enough. Nonetheless, I did not have to endure not being able to smoke for more than 1 or 2 hours between train stops.
After a week of skiing in Switzerland, I took the train from Grindelwald down to Milan. From Milan, it was Florence and then Rome and finally down to Naples. Once again, during the whole time in Italy, it was great traveling around by train as a smoker. You are allowed to smoke on the platforms and certain parts of the train stations although I noticed the Italians are fairly relaxed about smoking anywhere around the train stations. To us, traveling from Germany down to Italy on a fairly relaxed schedule was great – we would purchase our train tickets to the next destination the day before. We usually bought our train tickets at the train station using one of those automatic ticket machines that are multi-lingual. These machines are pretty easy to use after the first time or so. Once we got our train tickets, we would then go off to book our hotel accommodation using one of the Internet hotels booking websites. It was all pretty stress-less especially knowing that I would not need to worry about my smoking habit whilst traveling by trains.
Note though that throughout all of the cities I traveled to, smoking was not allowed in the Metro or Underground of these cities.
From Italy, I flew across to Athens from Rome – Greece is a smoker’s heaven – almost everyone in Athens smoked and they smoked everywhere! It certainly felt like that! It was hard not to walk around Athens and not be accosted with passive smoke from someone else all the time! Needless to say, traveling around Athens and Greece was indeed very comfortable for a smoker. Certainly, smoking was permitted in restaurants and bars. Even in hotels with non-smoking rooms, you were allowed to smoke in the lift lobbies of the hotel floors. Note though that I did hear from someone that the Government is intending to be stricter about smoking from mid-2010 onwards. Can someone please confirm this?