Tuesday, February 28, 2012

An innocent abroad

So the plan was to write a story about how easy it is to get around Europe by train. That was my pitch, and that's how I've finagled myself a Eurail pass for when I'm buzzing from one assignment to another in April and May: France, England, Germany, Hungary, Austria, Poland, Czech Republic...

Thing is, it doesn't seem to be like that at all, and I'm only up to the booking stage. The websites are confusing, they give conflicting information, on some it's not possible to book at all, on others there seem to be missing trains; so when I finally found at least two of my trips apparently bookable, I'd just about lost my nerve completely and felt very anxious about clicking on the final Confirm Payment box. It's all too easy to imagine some foreign railway station with single-minded people bustling all around, unintelligible PA announcements echoing overhead, display boards flashing, and me in the middle of it trying to figure out which is my platform, all sweaty about missing a connection.

I hadn't realised how dependent I've become on being presented with nicely laid-out itineraries, all the messy stuff taken care of, tickets in my inbox ready to print out, and someone in charge once I'm under way. There will be a bit of that this trip, but I have to join the dots myself, just like a real traveller. It's going to be an adventure! I do so hope I don't mess up...

3 comments:

Paris Metro Guide said...

The European rail network might seem weird to you now, but you eventually get used to navigating it. If we Europeans can do it, you can do it too. I assume you're traveling in Western Europe - that's good, figuring things out won't be as messy as in the Balkans. That's about the worst you can get.

Pam said...

I'm sure you're right, once I'm in amongst it - it's just complicated trying to book stuff up ahead of time.

Brett Atkinson said...

I love the Balkans!

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