Your Journey, your Story
Our selection of tales from the tracks, created by travellers like you
It is said that every journey tells a story, and Interrail travellers have some of the most unique. The ability to travel anywhere in Europe by rail, without needing to make (too many) advance plans, can lead to diverse places and unexpected moments. So, we asked our friends on social media to share an unforgettable story from their Interrail trip. From over 500 entries we picked the 3 most inspirational. Read on to hear their stories in their own words.
Megan Pluke (South Africa)
To travel has always been an ambition of mine. To fully experience a place. Breathe it all in. Sitting at a French café and watching the world spin by. Enjoying the bustle of a well-oiled city like London, or the leisure of a romantic gondola ride in Venice.
This is what I expected from my Interrail experience, however I did not expect all of the little unknown beauties along the way. Lake Bled lies just over an hour's trip away from Ljubljana, in Slovenia. It's a place that I never knew existed a couple of months ago. It was a recommendation, a passing comment that said "Oh yeah, Lake Bled is really nice. If you get the chance, you should go visit!"
A spontaneous train trip later, I stood in awe. Not in front of something I had already romanticised about, but in front of something I had never anticipated to witness. The treacherous mountains, followed by rolling hills, which ambled down to the bluest lake I had ever seen. It was in this moment that I realised that the world is far too big to only experience the known. That there is so much more to travel than ticking a bunch of well-known cities off your list. It is all about getting a little lost, and finding yourself somewhere along the way. This has sparked up a fire in me, and I can truly state that travel is no longer an ambition of mine. It is a lifestyle.
I intend to live out the rest of my days a little lost, wandering around the world and stumbling into anything and everything the world has to offer; hopefully finding little pieces of my heart along the way.
Rose Schweitzer (United States)
My cousin and I backpacked through southern Europe for two weeks, the train being our main mode of transportation between countries and into cities.
Sleeping in spare rooms or airports by night and carrying around 20 pound packs by day proved tiring, but it was definitely worth it. We covered a lot of ground and each day was full of many “firsts” for the both of us. One of these was seeing the Alps for the first time. We had a train connection in Innsbruck when we were travelling from Vienna to Venice. After a very chaotic sprint to our platform (a result of the unfortunate combination of inexperienced travelers and an intercom announcement in a foreign language), we ran up the steps from the tunnel that led to our train and were instantly greeted by the Alps, big and beautiful and right there in front of us. Despite the painful side cramp and the inability to breathe properly, it was a moment that I will never forget.
The next ride was completely though the mountains. We wound our way through tunnels and over rushing streams. It was hard to focus on anything but what was passing by outside the window. It was sheer beauty everywhere. This moment, along with many others from this trip, brought great perspective.
Each new nature trail hiked, or city visited, showed how much there really is to the world. How much there is to see and to learn in this short life - and all we can do is start to explore and chip away at the new experiences and sights that await us.
Judith Kunkel (Germany)
On our Interrail trip across France and the United Kingdom this summer we had only one day to spend in Edinburgh, when we experienced this magic moment. As our stay in the city was short, we had only planned to visit the most popular tourist hotspots, such as Edinburgh Castle.
But then, by a lucky chance, we got the tip from a local to walk down the hill into Dean Village and came across this wonderful spot. To me, this is a typical Interrail experience: You change your whereabouts every few days, rarely planning your journey in detail, and then happen to end up in the most beautiful places because you rely on locals’ advice. And, as a fantastic side effect, you can experience many of these moments all over Europe without flying a single mile.
Travelling more than 5400 km by train within 14 days, we made the most of our Global Pass, never spending more than two nights in the same place. The first stop on our unforgettable journey was Bordeaux with hot summery temperatures, followed by Paris, before taking the Eurostar through the Channel Tunnel to London. We continued the trip to Canterbury, Bath and Lancaster, with a short stop on the coast, which was very refreshing after the hot days in France. Being in desperate need for some recreation after visiting all these vibrant historic places, we took the train to Kendal and spent two fantastic hiking days in the Lake District.
Before a last quick side-trip to York, we headed even further north to Edinburgh, where the picture of Dean Village was taken. The long trips on the train have been anything but boring – beautiful landscapes, chatty conductors and funny experiences make riding a train a unique and unforgettable way of travel.