The train would not be a real alternative to flying within Europe – you read regularly. But do you travel via the latest app from Interrail, then everything will go smoothly! What a delicious way to travel…
Trains are back
If you pay attention to the environment, you take the train. And you avoid the plane, especially on shorter trips. That message is now clear. And that is also becoming easier. Even very easy when traveling within Europe: via Interrail. No longer booking your train tickets for each country separately, no ambiguities about timetables, everything you need to train carefree through no fewer than 33 countries is in one app: that of Interrail.
Of course: for a meeting of a day in Milan, the train is not included. But that is no longer of this time anyway. And to Milan by train? Via a wonderful journey through the most beautiful parts of Switzerland, you can get there in two six hours, with a city visit to Basel as a stop-over, for example. The beautiful? All ICEs and other high-speed trains are also included in the standard Interrail fare. The train is back.
Flexible trains with Interrail
At the end of August I bought an Interrail Global Pass for more than €300, which gives me unlimited travel for 10 days in 33 countries within two months. I decided within 10 minutes that this is the alternative I had been waiting for. Don’t buy a ticket in every country and commit yourself, but every day and à la minute can decide where the trip is going that day. And even the expensive panorama trains in Switzerland, such as the Golden Pass and the Glacier Express, or the Orient Express to Istanbul are part of the Global Pass.
Interrail has had a very well-functioning app for two years now. All timetables for 33 countries are included offline, so it works even if you don’t have internet. And only when you board do you add the route to your Global Pass. The app then generates a QR code that you show to the conductor when you check in. And you don’t get in? Then you can remove that route just as easily.
Through 33 countries
My first Interrail adventure is limited to the Alpine countries of Germany, Switzerland, France and Austria. But you can also go further afield. An acquaintance is currently traveling with Interrail from Switzerland via the Balkans to Istanbul: the historic Orient Express. I actually got a bit of choice stress before my journey started! But I soon decided to use my Interrail Pass mainly for the normally expensive Swiss trains.
The Alpine adventure is now over and I still have two travel days left. With that I will soon leave for the Harz in Germany. In the end I traveled about 3300 km with 36 different trains for €300 (and therefore €30 per travel day). And in doing so I have saved 90% of the CO2 emissions compared to flying. That’s great of course!
I started my leisurely journey in southern Germany, in a monastery. What a wonderful start! Get used to doing nothing, see how the journey will continue. I quickly found out: I’ve always wanted to see the famous Matterhorn and I’ve never seen Mont Blanc up close either. So after four days in the monastery I left for Zermatt for the famous pyramid-shaped mountain of 4400 meters high and then traveled on to Chamonix at the foot of Mont Blanc.
My travel days usually consisted of 5 to 6 hours of trains. In between I stayed at least four full days in each place. If that’s not slow travel… I went from Switzerland to France, back to Switzerland and then on to Austria. Everywhere the days consisted of at least six hours of walking, seeing a lot of nature and few people. I concluded my journey with another four days in the monastery where I started the journey. Delicious!
Traveling without a goal
It’s nice to travel without a goal. So as not to plan the day full with booklets and advice from the tourist office. When you travel alone, you quickly connect with others. And the others are happy to give you tips. That way you see enough, and you don’t sit in your stomach with what you have not you’ve seen: you don’t know that, so you don’t miss it. It is what it is, the journey is the journey and the tranquility of it is overwhelming. In my experience, nothing ever disappoints.
‘Traveling without purpose’ arose because the German trains (just when I wanted to move on to Switzerland) decided to stop for a few days. The resulting frustration made me decide that the goals I set in my life are the only source of the discomfort I experience. Without a goal there is only the journey. Without purpose is everything what arises part of my unique journey. Aimlessly through 33 countries? Very simple, with Interrail.