Inter-rail: One Ticket, Thirty Countries

Tripoto
1st Aug 2013
Photo of Inter-rail: One Ticket, Thirty Countries by James Smith

Frankfurt, Germany.

Photo of Inter-rail: One Ticket, Thirty Countries by James Smith

Hamburg, Germany.

Photo of Inter-rail: One Ticket, Thirty Countries by James Smith

Prague, Czech Republic

Photo of Inter-rail: One Ticket, Thirty Countries by James Smith

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Photo of Inter-rail: One Ticket, Thirty Countries by James Smith

Munich, Germany.

Photo of Inter-rail: One Ticket, Thirty Countries by James Smith

Krakow, Poland.

Photo of Inter-rail: One Ticket, Thirty Countries by James Smith

With one global pass train ticket, a cash passport and a bag full of clothes, I already had the key ingredients to three and a half unforgettable weeks. I don’t want to sound like a generic BBC three narrator on one of those ‘Sun, Sex and Sorry, what’s culture?’ programmes, but it would be a fair comment to say that there are few better ways to spend just under a month than with six old school friends, travelling central and eastern Europe on a daily budget of twenty five euros and living in cheap hostel accommodation. Granted, you could argue that luxury hotels and a more ‘sumptuous’ diet sound far more appealing than living on Germany’s notorious one euro cheeseburgers, and washing in grubby showers littered with suspicious hairs reminiscent of the washing facilities in Royal Holloway’s Founders building … However, a luxury lifestyle doesn’t really walk hand in hand with what I like to call the inter-rail experience anyway.


Many readers, whether they have been travelling or not, will probably cringe at the term, but anybody who has used a global pass and inter-railed around Europe will no doubt be familiar with my summer adventure. Continual perspiration and the unbearable stench of adolescent feet become eminently worthwhile when balanced against the pleasure and personal satisfaction you are able to gain from the cultural gems every city has to offer. Food and drink proved to be one of these cultural gems. The bible says that man cannot live on bread alone, which is just as well; the delights of Czech goulash in Prague or a litre of Hofbräu in Munich’s largest beer hall would have otherwise gone undiscovered. You will take pleasure in discovering that with the consumption of a litre or two of any German beer, even Bavarian music becomes bearable. Food and drink must not take priority over architecture, though. Indeed, St Mary’s Basilica in Krakow provides one of the most beautiful views in Europe, arguably superior to that of Munich’s Rathaus and Prague’s Astronomical Clock tower.


All comparisons aside though, there is no denying that Europe as a whole is teeming with sights which rival those of any continent. If you are undecided between a beach holiday this summer or you are part of a family who enjoys going on rural camping retreat, sinking in British mud and toasting marshmallows, then give them both a miss and spend a month drifting around Europe spontaneously. You might just surprise yourself and develop a liking for cheap travel…

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