My biggest regret has always been that I didn’t “discover” Europe sooner. I’d never even left the UK shores (if you don’t count Northern Ireland), before 2006, however I’ve now made up for that, on average having two or sometimes three trips to Europe each year. I’m quite lucky in that my shift rota allows me a large amount of free time with which to travel.
A lot of my trips, even cross-border ones are initially based in Germany, either in Berlin or Munich. I can speak a wee bit of German; some “ropey” French and five Czech words!! It’s stood me in good stead so far.
From Berlin, it’s possible to have day trips to Poland, the Czech Republic, Denmark and even the Netherlands, while a base in Munich can afford trips to Austria, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Italy and Eastern France (Strasbourg). Admittedly, some of these day trips are major undertakings, lasting anything between twelve and twenty hours, but hey, that’s half the fun. Berlin and Munich can both be reached by EasyJet, from airports which are less than an hours travel from where I live.
Sometimes, I’ll be travelling by myself, but I am also lucky enough to have two great friends who are both Swiss Railways experts, though we have met up and travelled through several countries together as a group. Although, I’ve travelled in Europe for a while now, I always like to consult with the guys beforehand as their help and advice is invaluable.
When I’m travelling across Europe, I use an Inter-Rail One Country Pass, if I’m staying within a single country, however, if I’m planning some cross-border international travelling, I’ll use an Inter-Rail Global Pass. There are also some very helpful planning tools on the Internet such as Seat 61 and “The Enthusiasts Guide to Travelling the Railways of Europe”, normally known as EGTRE, which have a wealth of information on European railway travelling. For timetable information, the Deutsche Bahn electronic timetable covers the whole of Europe (including the UK), and is frequently referred to when planning trips.
Why do I like European railways? Probably because they seem to be everything that UK railways aren’t any more. They’re punctual, efficient, frequent, loco-hauled and comfortable.
Check out the drop-down list for information about individual countries. I’ll be adding more when I have a a bit more time, and if I can be of any help to anyone, exploring the railways of Europe for the first time, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
© 1999-2018 J.M. Anderson