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Author Topic: Interail - the stats, the highs and the lows  (Read 1064 times)
grahame
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« on: November 24, 2022, 07:36:48 »

12 countries, 28 nights away (in 4 batches over 2 months) and 164 trains.  Also 6 ferries and 13 buses. Experiences too many to count, ranging from the fabulous to the frightful, but nothing frightening.  There might be a book in it - but the who would want to read a travelogue of "my journeys across Europe" with perhaps a feeling of jealousy in that reading. There will be comment in general posts, I suspect, that will quote alternatives I have seen these months.

My intent, taking up the once-in-a-lifetime 50% discount offered by Interail in a 50 year celebration sale, was to sample places I had never visited before, see the good and the bad of public transport across Europe, and perhaps note down some places to come back to with Lisa and see in more depth over coming years. There was also a handful of "bucket list" experiences I was looking that I would not impose on others.

So how did I do? Incredibly, not a single new country I had never visited before, but in all countries except England, Wales and Belgium a very different perspective and new places.  A country seen only when giving a training course in an industrial area now "filled it" with a seeing of the countryside and perhaps another town or two.  A cruise stop filled in with a chance to walk around a city away from the crowds of day visitors, and to actually sample the public transport.

It's been great to have these experiences, but it is wonderful to be home with Lisa and the woofs.  It has been good to have fleeting meetings with some interesting people - discussing art, the preservation of history, how my new friend's long distance relationship with his girlfriend would go forward, his father's religious beliefs, why so few people cross international borders within the EU» (European Union - about) and whether the speed on trains, frequency, or good connections are most important.  Ah, but it will be good to be home.  Eating along is lonely, and as the Christmas markets have sprung up in the last week to 10 days, I have been disinclined to stand round in an old town centre with a glass of Gluewein.

Some more statistics

Highest point reached - perhaps Oberalppass, The Brocken, or Nuria - not looking at figures
Lowest point - in the middle of the Channel Tunnel

Busiest service - Eurostar, London to Paris
Late change - GWR (Great Western Railway), Paddington as far as Slough. Unpleasant; 5 carriages was too short.
Quietest service - a rail replacement bus with just me on board from Bleiberg

Closest connection - Eastleigh; a mad dash over the footbridge and jumped in as doors close
Longest connection wait - Westbury or Wernigerode (though that was not really a connection)

Easiest border crossing - a number went by almost un-notices. Spain to Portugal and vice versa, Austria to and from Slovenia, Germany to Belgium, Italy to Switzerland.
Hardest border crossing - entering Germany at Dresden - long queues and from the time taken, everyone being questioned and not just me.

Best hotel - there were so many good. To return with Lisa, perhaps Regau, but many other near-station hotels too.
Worst hotel - Athlone for paper thin walls which left little to the imagination for what was going on in the next room, missing TV (not that I ever used the TV anywhere) . Pity, because the food downstairs in the bar and the host were welcoming and excellent.

Windiest City - Vienna. Very unfair of me to single it out, as I had little time and as the place is so big I really didn't see more than the station surrounds
Sunniest City - Palermo. My time was just the same "allowance" as in Vienna, but it was a different world, wandering the history and buying local fruit from the market.

Longest train journey - Palermo to Milan, around 23 hours
Shortest train journey - Farrington to St Pancras - 3 or 4 minutes?? 
Or perhaps (late addition) Koln Messe to Koln Hauptbahnhof

Earliest start - 05:06 from Frankfurt
Latest start - I can't recall ANY late starts! Perhaps Leon to Oviedo at 09:30?

Most successful day - no, that's unfair - too many to chose from
Least successful day - there really weren't any.

For "next time" - remaining of the bucket list - the far north of Scandinavia, rail through new countries (to me) of Eastern Europe (these tickets include Turkey), and a handful of specific points such as Trieste.  But perhaps a single trip of shorter duration in high summer?

Memories - falling of the leaves, hot to cold, sombre to snowy, shorter days.  Lemon groves and vineyard to forest.  Mountains to flatlands of the Spanish plains.  Sitting out on the sidewalk to getting inside for a warming soup. Cheap fresh local fruit to taking out a mortgage on a tiny coffee. Of seated next to grumpy travellers and some people very interesting for just a moment or a slightly longer chat.











Edit(s) to correct spellings
« Last Edit: November 24, 2022, 08:50:30 by grahame » Logged

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Jamsdad
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« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2022, 13:17:44 »

Thanks for that Graeme,sounds great. I am doing my Interrail in April, looking forwards to it very much. London-Cologne-Vienne-Budapest-Zagreb-Split-Ancona- Bologna- Milan St  Moritz- Zurich- Brussels-London. PLanning has been great fun, although perhaps one of the most challenging travel plans I have done.
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grahame
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« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2022, 06:13:40 »

Thanks for that Graeme,sounds great. I am doing my Interrail in April, looking forwards to it very much. London-Cologne-Vienne-Budapest-Zagreb-Split-Ancona- Bologna- Milan St  Moritz- Zurich- Brussels-London. PLanning has been great fun, although perhaps one of the most challenging travel plans I have done.

I have found the planning to be a maverick pleasure!

The European Rail Timetable, printed edition purchased (and I do not have shared in the company) has been worth its weight in gold - https://www.europeanrailtimetable.eu - and I do also have the electronic version.  These products are somewhat selective in the services included; it would be a heavy tome indeed if it included all things and there are some treasures missing or covered "light", and engineering changes (lines closed for major out-of-season work, for example) clearly beyond its scope.

The interrail site at https://www.interrail.eu/en is offering 20% off selected products in a "Black Friday Sale" which runs not only today but over the weekend too.    The "Seat Reservation" link from there to https://www.interrail.eu/en/book-reservations#/login and with a login lets you string journeys together, book those irritating extras you need in many countries, and find reservation-free alternatives in many cases.


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