I love the idea and practice of train travel but my 5-leg, 23-hr marathon from Trieste to Berlin started to test my faith. First, buying the ticket in Trieste: mentioning that I needed to transport a bike provoked such a bout of teeth-sucking that it was as though I'd said I was taking an elephant along. It was possible to reserve a place for the bike in the overnight train from Milan to Frankfurt if I bought myself a seat, but not if I reserved a couchette (???). Buying the Frankfurt-Berlin portion in Italy meant I paid €25 more than if I'd bought it separately in Germany. The night train was 30 mins late into Frankfurt and this meant I missed my connection, but I got to Berlin earlier because there was a better connection that the Italian computer hadn't revealed. Or, rather, I would have got there earlier if that train hadn't been delayed as well. The conductor said bikes weren't allowed on until I showed an itinerary printout from the travel centre and suddenly she pointed to the end of the train, where there was a dedicated and empty bike carriage (???). On the plus side, the journey gave me my first fleeting visits to Milan, Frankfurt and Leipzig (which has one of the biggest and loveliest stations I've seen). On the way from Frankfurt we passed a ruined castle that I recognised; I realised that we were crossing the old east-west border and going through a village I'd stayed in. It felt like that had been months previously but in fact was only a few weeks. Eventually I ended up with this view of the approach to Berlin, thanks to a transparent German train.