Train Travel Is New To Me
I never knew how much I liked trains (and train travel) until I started using them more than ever before. As a matter of fact, trains are now my primary means of transportation.
As a American, and Southern Californian for decades, train travel was rarely a topic of conversation. There it’s all about cars. Cars here, cars there, along with the hassle of owning a car and commuting for business or for pleasure. Since living in Europe for over two months, I have developed a love for trains.
5 Reasons Why I Love Train Travel
1) for the most part they are really comfortable. Just one trip, an overnighter from Madrid to Lisbon, was uncomfortable, primarily because sleep was necessary, not a luxury, and this train went way too slowly and stopped way too often. But I learned about the differences between high speed lines, regional trains and commuters. They are all different and travel at different speeds with different itineraries. Most of my train trips have been on comfortable seats, with electrical connectors for the necessities of entertainment, and sometimes with Wifi.
2) they are timely, as in, they leave on the minute (give or take) or when they say, and they usually arrive as planned or earlier. Of the 30 or so trains I have been on in the last several years, just one has been late. And that was because there was an accident involving a car at one of the crossing gates. You gotta respect that compared to plane travel, or the uncertainty of car traffic.
3) they are affordable, some more than others. Currently I live in Tivoli, about 19km outside Rome and a 35 minute train ride- assuming we take the DIRECT line, without riff raff, which can delay it by double. The price of this trip, one way? 3 euros. Mind you, that is ridiculously cheap, but here’s another example. The high speed line we took recently from Naples, IT, to Rome, IT, lasted about 1 hr., 45 minutes. The price: about $45.
4) this one is harder to quantify, but one that elicits an emotional feel. It is the romanticism of trains. They have a history of hundreds of years and we have seen many movies filmed in and around and about trains. You get on a train and you recreate what passengers have been doing for 150 plus years. Now we do it faster, as fast as 300 kph and on magnetic cushions.
5) in today’s app driven world, I can find and book a train on the spot, without having to use a ticket machine, speak to a non-English speaking civil servant or read undecipherable train schedules in another language. The app called www.omio.com, formerly Go Euro is easy to use and I can find how to get from point A to point B within seconds, book a trip, plus generate an e-boarding pass. The trip I took from Naples to Rome I booked while in the terminal and paid for it on the spot.
The other day I watched this (blue) train come into and exit the tunnel from Tivoli several times and I found myself excited trying to catch the “right moments.” As weird as it sounds, the novelty of trains really hit home and I find myself watching the tracks ever time I pass them. The good news is that lots of train travel is yet to come as we still have a Eurail pass unused until later this year. This one gives us 15 travel days within a 60 day period, so who knows the wondrous places we’ll find?