Being part the first of a guide to travelling around Europe by Train, and how not to do it
ALL JOURNEYS UNDERTAKEN BY A REAL LIFE IDIOT SO YOU DON'T HAVE TO...
©Frank Fraser 2015
Being 30 years old is fine, but 31 seems a bit too close to being over the hill and time for a mid-life crisis. ‘Live for today! Youth is wasted on the young,’ they tell us. But this hip mantra is one that few of us ever manage to actually live by without being arrested, maybe sent to prison, or possibly deported. But, if you must go travelling, by rail is a great and (relatively) cheap way to see the world. Being sad, single and without responsibilities, I decided the time was right to head out and discover the Europe that was on my doorstep (everyone’s reasons for setting out are different. Like I say, sometimes you just gotta go).
I think I’d like to see the Americas, Canada or the US eventually. The idea of living by the beach or a shack in the woods appeals to me. But that just seems too ****ng far to go if you’re over here in Europe doing the tourist thing, or if you’re just scared of flying like me. So an 11 day Interrail pass round Europe was just the ticket.
I’ll try explain the rail pass briefly: what it amounts to is you can travel anywhere five days out of the next eleven that it’s good for from when you purchase it. So it’s basically only a five day rail pass - but do you really want to be on a train every day for almost two weeks anyway? Just get where you’re going and plan to stop there for a day (this was one lesson I massively failed to learn). Also, if you’re under 26, you can probably buy your ticket for some sort of discount.
I might as well start by admitting that flying almost anywhere would probably be the cheaper and faster option, and that most people will probably choose to do it that way in this day-and-age (although for how much longer?) But who wants to live in the twenty first century anyway? If half the enjoyment of any journey is getting there, and if you don’t have to be anywhere in a particular hurry, rail and sail is a lot more luxurious than being squeezed in a tin can and shot through the sky. Another thing to mention is I’m scared ****less of flying, so I always take the scenic route.