Ding! I received a text. My mobile phone carrier sent me a message welcoming me to Belgium. I showed my daughter the message, which signaled to her that France was behind us and the train had just crossed the border into a new country.
“Do we still have time to go to the cafe car?”, she asked.
“Yes, let’s go now, we’ll be in Amsterdam soon.”, I replied.
With excitement, she quickly opened the sliding door of our cabin, took my hand, and guided me in the direction of the dining coach. She’s twelve now, but since she was of age to walk and talk, she has always loved our father/daughter tradition of spending time together, just she and me, having something to eat and drink at the dining coach.
Table of Contents
- 1 It welcomed us to the Netherlands
- 2 Arriving at a Destination
- 3 Touring by train
- 4 Train Travel is Modern
- 5 From Spaghetti Alla Vongole to Spaetzle
- 6 First Class Eurail Global Pass
- 7 The 15-day Continuous Pass
- 8 Click here to book and find more details for Eurail
- 9 During our Vagabondage
- 10 I need a carbonara!
- 11 Off to the Eternal City
- 12 Disembarking our last train
It welcomed us to the Netherlands
We occasionally had to steady ourselves as we walked from car to car to finally arrive at the right coach. I walked up to the small zinc bar and ordered a beer and a bag of peanuts. She opted for a bag of chips and water that was poured out of a glass bottle. We sat at a small table together near a window, as the train sped through the ever-changing landscape. She was silent at first, then followed it up with non-stop talking. An hour passed and my phone “dings” again. This time, it welcomed me to the Netherlands. It was time for us to head back to our cabin.
Arriving at a Destination
During our peregrination, it was train travel that continued to conjure up that almost strange sensation of something beautiful ending (the train travel experience) and the beginning of something great (arriving at the destination).
Touring by train
Touring by train has always, and continues, to play a romantic role in our travels. For me, it harkens to another era, before superhighways and airplanes. I even appreciate the almost antiquated way conductors check tickets. I find myself writing with a pencil on small field notepads, and looking at fold-out maps rather than whipping out my laptop.
Train Travel is Modern
Romanticism aside, these days, unlike the days of yore, train travel is extremely modern. There are all the amenities that make for a comfortable trip, such as air-conditioning and reclining seats. Other advantages include internet access on most international and fast trains, which was very important to my iPad using daughter and my wife who gets anxiety when she’s offline for long periods.
From Spaghetti Alla Vongole to Spaetzle
Train travel also provides the seamless experience of departing from the center of one town and arriving at the center of another. On one trip we had taken, it seemed as if we were eating spaetzle in Munich one minute, and the next, eating spaghetti alle vongole in Venice. This experience came without the extraneous details that usually come with plane travel (check-in, wait time, etc,) and car travel (parking, gas, driving, etc.).
First Class Eurail Global Pass
If your family aspires to have the kind of travel memories that will last a lifetime, consider traveling Europe by rail. From our experience, the best way to go about this is to purchase First Class Eurail Global Passes.
In our case, we had the 15 days continuous pass, which allowed us to travel to as many locations we wanted within 15 days. Some of those travels were long stretches (country to country) others, a quick commute (town to town).
The 15-day Continuous Pass
The 15-day continuous pass prices are as follows: Adults- $685, Youth- $449. There are, of course, other options. If you’re wondering if it’s worth the expense, it would depend on the amount of travel you plan to take. For example, The first class ticket on a fast train from Milan to Naples would traditionally cost in the ballpark of $160-$240 per person. There are blackout dates (May 1 – September 30) when it is mandatory to make a seat reservation in conjunction with your rail pass for overnight and fast trains (i.e., Italy’s Frecciarossa). With your pass, this trip would only cost $12 for your reservation. On non-blackout dates, simply get on the 1st-class coach and find an empty seat. As you see, the savings add up quickly.
Making reservations is a simple process. You can go online or simply go to an attendant or one of the easy-to-use ticket machines at the station to attain your reservation.
During our Vagabondage
During our vagabondage, my phone would “ding” many more times, welcoming me to new countries almost every day. As the views changed, so did the fashion and the languages. It provided for a cultural experience like no other. The time we spent on the trains opened up opportunities to meet others also on a journey; trading stories and becoming wandering friends. Most importantly, it seemed to have brought our family closer as it allowed for excellent conversation during the trip.
I need a carbonara!
We were at the train station in Cefalu, Sicily deciding as to which train we would choose to board for our next destination. Bailey went to the ticket machine and started punching in places she was interested visiting on the touch screen . When finished, she pointed at the screen.
“I need to have carbonara!.”, she exclaimed.
My wife and I, also fans of the dish, agreed without any hesitation.
Off to the Eternal City
After a few pressed sandwiches and espresso at the station cafe, we were off to the eternal city of Rome . The passes allowed us this kind of spontaneity. Choosing a destination last minute became a game we ended up playing a few times, and it provided for more excitement in an already fun-filled experience.
Disembarking our last train
At the end of the 15 days, we felt as if a part of us was missing as we disembarked that last train. Only beautiful experiences can invoke such melancholy. Now as we look at our photos, and looking back at all the moments during our year of full-time travel; we agreed that those days in Europe, riding on those trains, were simply the best we spent as a family. Thanks to our Eurail passes. I can’t wait until I hear that welcoming “ding” again.
Thank you Eurail for our complimentary passes, all opinions as always, my own. Some links are affiliate links, if you should purchase through our links, we would receive a small commission and thank you so much for the support.
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