The road goes ever on and on - A Travel Thread

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The road goes ever on and on - A Travel Thread

Post by Ringdrotten on Tue Jun 03, 2014 2:00 pm

I was looking through the off topic section, and I couldn't find a thread dedicated to travelling. There are a few that are suitable, but I thought I'd start one all the same, summer is upon us after all and people are probably planning to go places. So here's the thread to post if you've been approached by odd fellows in gray hats and bushy eyebrows and been talked into going on an adventure or two!

I'll be heading to California this summer, and I'll make sure to take pictures from the trip and post them here when I get back, but that's not why I made this thread. I went to Germany (Düsseldorf) this weekend, and watching all the trains bound for here and there I was smitten by the idea of going on an interrail trip. I might go in November, but I'll probably wait until next summer. It seems to me a fantastic way to experience a lot of cities and places while at the same time being able to see the countryside sitting comfortably in your seat on the train. There's also the aspect of meeting other travellers and having a chat with people from all around the world that intrigues me. So my question is, has anyone here travelled Europe by train? I've not even decided where I want to go yet, I just know that this is something I want to do, and if anyone has any experience from travelling by train in Europe, feel free to share Very Happy{{{ and if you're not shy, feel free to tag along! Neither me nor my friends bite, though there's a chance the beer will flow  drunken }}}

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Re: The road goes ever on and on - A Travel Thread

Post by halfwise on Tue Jun 03, 2014 2:39 pm

I've done some travelling in Europe by train, but not by Eurrail pass. In general I think train travel is a better way to see the country than flying, and the relaxation (and ability to drink) is a good trade for the flexibility of driving. I've travelled by train through China, which was one of the supreme experiences of my life.

I'm also glad you put two 'L's in 'travelling'. American English has been taken over by microsoft spelling, which incorrectly refuses to double consonants in closed syllables when the 'ing' is added to a word that ends in 'L'. So 'hitting' is retained, but then it insists on 'traveling'. Flippin' morons.

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Re: The road goes ever on and on - A Travel Thread

Post by halfwise on Tue Jun 03, 2014 2:43 pm

Ha! I've just discovered that if I change to Canadian English I don't get hounded for correct spelling yet can still do all the other American spelling. Bless our Northern Brethren!  pub 

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Re: The road goes ever on and on - A Travel Thread

Post by Ringdrotten on Tue Jun 03, 2014 3:28 pm

Laughing I probably mix up my spelling more often than I would like. I know I stick to British spelling with words that end in -our (I always write colour, not color and so on). We learn British English in school, and then we're influenced by American English through TV, books, computer games and the Internet, so I guess we mess it up a deal more than we're aware of Embarassed Anyway, I'm getting carried away - it's reassuring to hear that you had such a great experience in China. An interrail adventure wouldn't be much fun if travelling by train were unpleasant Laughing

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Re: The road goes ever on and on - A Travel Thread

Post by David H on Tue Jun 03, 2014 3:52 pm

You should definitely do this Ringo! Next to walking, or hitchhiking, trains are the best way I know to see a country and get to meet ordinary people.

I'd advise you avoid express trains and travel on the slower local trains as much as possible. looking out the window you get to see the whole world go by, and then you get to meet the people: children going off to school in the morning, people going off to every kind of work or holiday you can imagine. It's a complete slice of life!

The first thing you need to know is that almost everything you need to know about seeing the world by train is on this amazing website:
http://www.seat61.com/
USE IT!!! It can get you into and out of more trouble than you can imagine! In 2009 I "accidentally" ended up going completely around the world by train (except for the water bits) in 34 days because of this website, wrangling for visas and cheap tickets as I went.

In Europe, one of the best deals is the German Wochenende Ticket.  It's a weekend pass that allows for unlimited travel throughout Germany for families, but only on the slow trains, and their ticket desks will calculate all sorts of crazy routes through the countryside to get you where you need to go. Places you'd never dream of going otherwise!  If you're going from any country that connects to Germany to any other connecting country, it's often cheaper and more fun to just plan to spend a weekend slowly crossing Germany to get there.

I hope this is helpful, and I hope you share some of your adventures!

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Re: The road goes ever on and on - A Travel Thread

Post by Ringdrotten on Tue Jun 03, 2014 4:27 pm

Thanks, David, that's very helpful! That website looks a fantastic tool, thanks a lot. My plan is to travel on the slow trains as much as possible for the reasons you mention. I want to see as much as possible and just talk to people, so they're the perfect choice. I'm thinking of flying to Germany and start from there, so I'll definitely keep that last piece of advice in mind! I've found a really good webpage for learning German as well, so I'm going to learn what I can before I go and I'll pick up a lot along the way. I'll have to make do with English in other countries, but a little German in Germany will come in handy since so many of them don't speak English. Hopefully I'll be able to get four weeks off for the trip, but three is more likely. Anyway, it's still a long way off, but all the more time for planning! And of course I'll have to share, couldn't go on such a trip and not take pictures Very Happy

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Re: The road goes ever on and on - A Travel Thread

Post by Norc on Tue Jun 03, 2014 4:42 pm

i've always wanted to go on interail Very Happy i think sometime, probably next summer, my sister, me and another friend (at least) will go. between us, we speak spanish, german and french so that's good Very Happy 

my mom did the transsiberian thing. (did i even spell that right scratch )

i can agree that train is a great way to experience a country, but for norway mnjeeeh.... there are some nice tracks, but i recomend a car or by boat. the railways only give you tunnels and tunnels and tunnels Rolling Eyes also it doesn't go all the way up here..
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Re: The road goes ever on and on - A Travel Thread

Post by Mrs Figg on Tue Jun 03, 2014 5:39 pm

interrailing is the best, I can highly reccommend it. I saw France, Switzerland, and Italy doing that. Get a couchette, I cant tell you how much you will need one of those, its ESSENTIAL. It means you will have somewhere to sleep and so you wont get exhausted being forced to sleep in a seat or somewhere truly uncomfortable. I was lucky and got a nice French family who shared their food with me, as I had run out of cash when I got to Luxemburg, the South of France had taken all my spare money as it was reely expensive. Anyway its a great adventure.  Very Happy  i went alone and I felt pretty safe the Whole time and I met some crazy boozy Ozzies in Venice, but thats another story.  Embarassed

A nunnery was involved.
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Re: The road goes ever on and on - A Travel Thread

Post by Norc on Tue Jun 03, 2014 5:50 pm

Laughing a nunnery?


alone? really?
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Re: The road goes ever on and on - A Travel Thread

Post by halfwise on Tue Jun 03, 2014 5:59 pm

For all her current pretense of being a genteel married lady who's never seen the inside of a tent, our Figgs is an adventurer at heart.

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Re: The road goes ever on and on - A Travel Thread

Post by halfwise on Tue Jun 03, 2014 6:00 pm

Someday I'll take the Orient Express from London to Istanbul.  Nod

Edit: or maybe not, I just checked the price.  Shocked 

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Re: The road goes ever on and on - A Travel Thread

Post by Mrs Figg on Tue Jun 03, 2014 6:13 pm

Laughing  yeah its pretty steep, but I would love to do it once, and in costume naturaleh

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Re: The road goes ever on and on - A Travel Thread

Post by David H on Tue Jun 03, 2014 6:14 pm

Norc wrote:
i can agree that train is a great way to experience a country, but for norway mnjeeeh.... there are some nice tracks, but i recomend a car or by boat. the railways only give you tunnels and tunnels and tunnels Rolling Eyes also it doesn't go all the way up here..

I think of the Hurtigruten as a water-train. Nod 

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Re: The road goes ever on and on - A Travel Thread

Post by Mrs Figg on Tue Jun 03, 2014 6:19 pm

Norc wrote:Laughing a nunnery?


alone? really?

I am a loner at heart so it didnt bother me at all, it also means being more sociable to anyone you meet on the adventure. If you go with someone else theres more likelyhood you will be in a cozy group not really under any pressure to mingle, but when you are alone you can be more daring and impulsive, if you feel like getting off the train, you can, and nobody will moan. I was younger, less cynical and not so aware of danger, which helped.
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Re: The road goes ever on and on - A Travel Thread

Post by halfwise on Tue Jun 03, 2014 6:23 pm

I'm a loner too, but it sure would be nice to have some friends along who speak different languages sometimes.

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Re: The road goes ever on and on - A Travel Thread

Post by David H on Tue Jun 03, 2014 6:31 pm

Mrs Figg wrote: I met some crazy boozy Ozzies in Venice, but thats another story.
A nunnery was involved.

Do you mean to tell us that all this time you've been withholding a story about boozy Ozzies in a nunnery from us???
Shame on you, Mrs Figg!  Evil or Very Mad 

Now what's the story?!!! bounce bounce bounce

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Re: The road goes ever on and on - A Travel Thread

Post by Mrs Figg on Tue Jun 03, 2014 6:34 pm

halfwise wrote:I'm a loner too, but it sure would be nice to have some friends along who speak different languages sometimes.

yep it helps having languages, how did you manage in China?
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Re: The road goes ever on and on - A Travel Thread

Post by Norc on Tue Jun 03, 2014 6:36 pm

David H wrote:
Norc wrote:
i can agree that train is a great way to experience a country, but for norway mnjeeeh.... there are some nice tracks, but i recomend a car or by boat. the railways only give you tunnels and tunnels and tunnels Rolling Eyes also it doesn't go all the way up here..

I think of the Hurtigruten as a water-train. Nod 
jess, indeed Very Happy although i would probably have combined boat and train and some cycling if i was to be a tourist here Nod
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Re: The road goes ever on and on - A Travel Thread

Post by Norc on Tue Jun 03, 2014 6:38 pm

Mrs Figg wrote:
Norc wrote:Laughing a nunnery?


alone? really?

I am a loner at heart so it didnt bother me at all, it also means being more sociable to anyone you meet on the adventure. If you go with someone else theres more likelyhood you will be in a cozy group not really under any pressure to mingle, but when you are alone you can be more daring and impulsive, if you feel like getting off the train, you can, and nobody will moan. I was younger, less cynical and not so aware of danger, which helped.
yeah, i see your point, but i don't think i would dare to be a lonely, young girl through europe alone Razz i think for these kind of things a small group, 2-4, is  ideal.
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Re: The road goes ever on and on - A Travel Thread

Post by halfwise on Tue Jun 03, 2014 6:42 pm

Way back the first time I was in grad school, I was in a lab with a couple chinese students. They were both going home the same summer, and sitting in a bar, they jokingly asked if I was coming along. When I said yes they thought I was joking, but of course I knew I'd never have another chance as good as this one.

One lived in Suzhou, the Venice of China as well as the garden city of China. Let me tell you, the Chinese know from gardens. That was phenomenal.

The other one was doing the grand tour of china with his family, visiting relatives in each city, going by train. Beijing, Nanjing, Shanghai, Xian, Chengdu.

What really made it special was this was right at the beginning of Deng's economic reforms, so everyone was starting up new restaurants and businesses, and excitement just hummed in the air. Yet it was before any of the truly big changes happened, so it still looked like China. Went back to Beijing a few years ago on a business trip. Hated it. That shit they got now ain't China.  Crying or Very sad 

I stuck to my family like glue; if I lost them I'd be SOL. My biggest problem was how much tea they drink (no other way to get liquid), and I don't do caffeine. Real fresh green tea tastes amazing, like drinking a forest. But I had to pee every half hour.

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Re: The road goes ever on and on - A Travel Thread

Post by David H on Tue Jun 03, 2014 6:43 pm

Norc wrote:
yeah, i see your point, but i don't think i would dare to be a lonely, young girl through europe alone Razz i think for these kind of things a small group, 2-4, is  ideal.

I've sometimes traveled with a partner. It can be a really good idea if you're not confident about what you're doing. Just remember that 2 people can get into twice as much trouble as one. It can give you a false sense of security when each of you is trusting the other, and some people are just born for trouble (especially Ozzies Rolling Eyes ).

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Re: The road goes ever on and on - A Travel Thread

Post by Norc on Tue Jun 03, 2014 6:45 pm

yeah, good point. but i'd still rather have a friend join me than risk being raped or something.
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Re: The road goes ever on and on - A Travel Thread

Post by halfwise on Tue Jun 03, 2014 6:45 pm

Norc wrote:
yeah, i see your point, but i don't think i would dare to be a lonely, young girl through europe alone Razz i think for these kind of things a small group, 2-4, is  ideal.

Try being a pair of young men in Athens.   Rolling Eyes  The prostitutes chase you down the street assuming you are sailor boys looking for fun.  Did I ever tell that story?

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Re: The road goes ever on and on - A Travel Thread

Post by David H on Tue Jun 03, 2014 6:47 pm

halfwise wrote:

Try being a pair of young men in Athens.   Rolling Eyes  The prostitutes chase you down the street assuming you are sailor boys looking for fun.  Did I ever tell that story?

Nope. You and Mrs Figg both have some story telling to do. Nod 

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Re: The road goes ever on and on - A Travel Thread

Post by David H on Tue Jun 03, 2014 6:54 pm

Norc wrote:yeah, good point. but i'd still rather have a friend join me than risk being raped or something.

Of course you want to use common sense, but you shouldn't let that keep you from traveling. Remember that the vast majority of rapes happen in people's home towns, yet you don't feel the need to have a friend when you walk through T***** do you? I've known many women who have travelled around Europe and North America with no problems.

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