Riding the Rails in Europe

Sandwich after sandwich disappeared in to the nun’s round belly, the Tuscan countryside whizzing past the window as we headed north. We left the train in Firenze (Florence), and as it crept out of the station realised our food still sat on the luggage rack. Our daughter giggled, ‘I bet that nun eats our food.’ I hope she did.

Train travel makes you relax, providing time to gather your thoughts, write your journal and prepare for the next destination. People seem friendlier without the constraints imposed by airlines, and the nausea of security lines to upset their travel karma.

Europeans enjoy a fast and efficient rail system and even the most inexperienced traveller can navigate the ticket machines and schedules with a little preparation. Rick Steves maintains a comprehensive guide on selecting and using your Eurail Pass. a must read before you go.

Sleeping on the train

European trains also provide a comfortable sleeping arrangement for overnight travel, a couchette is a basic bed in a shared compartment (4-6 people), a mobile hostel. We boarded the overnight train in Venezia (Venice) for Muenchen (Munich), stowed our bags and changed into our comfort clothes. A long day walking through Venice (we got lost, a must do in Venice) had prepared the family to sleep almost anywhere, and the cozy couchettes welcomed us to the land of nod.

We woke the next morning approaching Munich, left the train and stored our bags in a locker before a quick breakfast and heading off to Dachau fresh and ready to experience our first day in Germany.

Ride the rails on your next European adventure, and enjoy the leg room.