Yesterday, I arrived back in Germany. Culturally, it is not much different than Austria, but I am sure the Germans and the Austrian could tell me the differences. It was actually a good day to travel in Europe. Many of the people were still in their beds from staying up late the night before, and many of the shops did not open because they wanted to give their workers the break that they needed. Even a lot of the restaurants were closed for the day, making it a little difficult to find food, but I was able to find some small snacks at the train station, and a really good Italian restaurant for dinner. Oddly enough, it was also right next to the train station. Even the sights in the city were closed down for the day. I was still able to walk the cobbled stoned path of Munich’s Altstadt but I could only see the sights from the outside. Basically, if there was anything that I wanted to do it had to find it at the train station which made the logical choice of doing something that day, traveling to my next destination.
Train travel in Europe is my favorite way to travel. Throughout all of my experiences of traveling around the world, not many countries have been able to accomplish what this continent has been able to accomplish with its railway system. As long as you can find a way down to a train station, you will be able to find a way to any place in the European Union, with small exceptions from the island countries. The train stations in the larger cities are just like airports with bars, restaurant, book stores, and other various vendors except none of them are as pretentious as the ones you will find in a lot of airports now-a-days. Nobody is going to try to sell you a diamond necklace, or an overpriced bag with a brand name on it that you really don’t care about. Most of the things you can find at a train station are the basics you would need to enjoy your trip on the train.
The trains are really comfortable as well. This is something that other countries try to do, but do not quite achieve this level of comfort. Korea tries to pack as many people as they can on to one train, and other countries make it feel more like an airplane ride rather than a train ride. But in Europe, on the good train, you get enough leg room to spread out a bit, and you get to face the people you are traveling with rather have to sit right next to them. They even put a small table in place where there are four people traveling together so you can share a meal with each other, or play a game of cards. It turns the trains into more of a social affair rather than a quite place where you are being shuttled from one place to another.
I am even comfortable on the trains to fall asleep on them. This is because they have placed you into a relaxed environment that allows you the ease of mind to fall asleep. The clacking of the wheels as they go over the rails also give a nice rhythm that also induces a level of sleep. It makes travel so easy.
There are a lot of reasons that I love traveling this way, and it is part of the reason that I enjoy coming out to Europe so much. It may take a little longer to get from place to place while traveling this way, but the stress level is so much more less, and you feel more in charge of your destination rather than traveling by plane. I would hope that the rest of the world would eventually recognize this because it is part of what makes Europe a great destination. Not the say that other places do not hold the same kind of appeal, but it is those little details that make any trip more memorable.