Triptrotting through Europe by rail…
I’m in Istanbul, which means that my long journey by Interrail has come to an end. I’ve travelled from Budapest through Bratislava and Krakow to Warsaw and Prague, Belgrade, Sofia, and finally, Istanbul. Thousands of kilometres, hundreds of villages, and many new friendships later, it seems fitting that the end of my journey be in the same city in which the Orient Express ends. It serves as a reminder of the magic associated with riding on a train; while cheaper tickets and modern conveniences may have removed some of the glamour and mystery from trains, they will never remove the allure.
My 22 day Interrail pass allowed me the freedom to travel throughout Europe and to experience all the best that traveling by train has to offer. I became addicted, not just to watching the countryside flash by, but also to waking up in the morning to a completely different landscape. Trains give you a far more scenic trip than planes and a far more intimate trip than a drive down a highway. Instead, they wind and carve through farmland, over rivers, through the centers of towns. From the train window I saw rainbows, peasants, fields of sunflowers, small countryside villages and more.
And inside, I formed friendships that will last a lifetime. Sharing a compartment with other travelers naturally fosters new friendships. I shared tea with my Turkish train conductor, found out about a Serbian festival from an old German man, explored Istanbul with a newfound Portuguese friend, and met a 17 year old Serbian graphic designer who invited me back to his small hamlet to experience life in rural Serbia:
Frankly, for backpackers, it is also the most practical way of travel. Not only do you save time by traveling overnight, but booking a bed is cheaper than in a hostel. That, and you have the clickety-clack of the tracks and the rocking of the train to lull you to sleep (and the ocassional snorer, but nothing you wouldn’t get in a hostel right?). In Europe you could use Eurail or Interrail (if you are European citizen) passes to get around. Usually its pretty cheap!
All in all, a fantastic experience which has left me eager for more train action! Trans-Siberian anyone?
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Posted on September 26, 2011, in Uncategorized and tagged celebrity Triptrotters, eurail, host, interrail, raileurope, study abroad, tips, travel, Travel like a local, TTTV, Turkey, Ultimate Adventures, Ultimate Triptrotter, world. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.