Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Getting railroaded in Europe

Gen 3 ICE trains in Germany travel at speeds up to 300kmh (Wikipedia)

In 1977, a pimply young Roderick Eime set off on a railway journey around Europe armed with a Student Rail Card and a sleeping bag. Now, some 35 years later, he sets out again with a smartphone app to explore some of the routes in the former Soviet-controlled Eastern Bloc that were not on the Eurail map during the Cold War period.

Sofia departure board
The journey begins in Athens and takes him through Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, Austria, the Netherlands and into Germany over five hectic days.

While some trains remind him of the dank compartments and ramshackle carriages of his youth, the space-age, 300kmh ICE trains running through Germany are a thing of wonder.

Route map (click to enlarge)
Climb aboard for this journey of nostalgia, history and amazement as Rod bribes his way through Bulgaria, gets fleeced in Belgrade and rockets across Germany with his 21st Century Rail Europe Eurail pass.

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