Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Ode to train travel


After nearly 3 months of travelling by train through Europe, there have been good times and bad times, but it is still my favourite mode of travel. As we leave the trains behind and switch to car travel as our primary mode of transport, Elizabeth has written this little piece.

39 main intercity train journeys (plus numerous little ones)
First: 2nd June Rome
Last: 24th August Paris



Ode to Eurail:

Training through thirteen countries on The Continent during three mad months the main memories are.....

Italy
Loud impish Italy sometimes refuses to stick to schedules but its vistas are nearly always awesome (except when excluded by exasperating tunnels).

Switzerland
Terrific train terrain. Every view from every wide window a perfect picture postcard of massive mountains, limpid lakes or craggy canyons.

Austria & Hungary
Soft scenery & complimentary kit kats (sadly not suitable for coeliacs).

Czech Republic & Germany
High hills, tall trees. Bavaria boldly displaying its planet protecting shiny solar panels & whizzing wind turbines.

France
Frustrating France refuses to relate with its Eurail rellies but dishes up delicious free food in first class on one of its fast trains & chunks of charming countryside on its slower ones.

Belgium & The Netherlands
Barging through Belgium to arrive at the red lights of accepting arty Amsterdam.

Denmark
Earn brownie points from the thorough ticket inspector for filling out our Eurail form fully. Train travels on ferry from German border.

Sweden
Swaying past serenely still lakes to Stockholm.

Norway
Luck holds as we land in the comfy family-friendly wide windowed area courtesy of the Copenhagen booking clerk. The super wide windows suit the amazing Arctic Circle scenery of fantastic fjords, classic coastline & rugged rocky ranges.

Spain
Burning from the Riviera border to beautiful Barcelona by bus when our double-destination train refuses to part company with itself. Back on a tranquil train to the perfect Pyrenees.

Summing up
Mostly.....comfy chairs, cosy couchettes, efficient employees, stunning scenery, tasty tucker, varied views, wide-eyed wonder.