“Ring! Ring!” sounds an alarm clock early in the morning. “Today is the day!”
That is what goes through my mind as I eagerly awaken in anticipation of travel days. With each awakening on the first of these days is like opening a book to the first page in a chapter with a ticket in your hand or in these modern times on your mobile app! There is a mystique and a magnetism of train travel as countryside sand towns roll by. Time stands still and the mind can wander, writing a story on its own.
“The train is a small world moving through a larger world.”
When I am visiting Europe, there is something mystical about train travel where creativity flourishes and ideas pop up randomly from the flurry of activity or in the stillness of inactivity. The desire to document that moment before it escapes again left behind on the piece of track we just left. Time stands still even though you’re not.
“Oh look! There’s a beautiful pasture!”
“The sky is about to open up and the clouds have parted. Wait a minute! I can snap a quick photo. I’m not driving!”
“Gotterdamerung. Mother Nature calls.”
Then there is the music. The wonderful tunes and melodies on your playlist that you’ve carefully curated prior to,your trip to listen to on that 5-hour journey. Such bliss to enjoy and pass the time, especially if the wifi connection is spotty. No one can disturb you on your mobile device and you can really absorb your surroundings.
SNCF’s TGV is a wonderful way to travel, especially if you can splurge for that coveted first-class ticket. Views of France’s countryside are gorgeous and with the TGV’s service you feel the luxury of being in your seat and your needs taken care of. For business travelers, it can be a godsend especially if you didn’t have time to grab a bite to eat for the journey like I did below.
In the countryside of France you can let all of your senses come alive and guide you. It’s a feat of engineering that allows you to start the morning in a big city like Paris and within hours you’re in the south of France and looking at all these amazing landscapes. By nightfall, you will have dined in the succulence of French gourmet cuisine should you choose or relish the aromas and flavors of the variety of French cheeses with a glass of some of the world’s best wine.
Dong! Dong! The church bells toll as swans swim in the river underneath the Kappelbrucke in Lucerne as the mountains watch the activities in town. Busy tourists chatting while they walk and take in the beautiful sites of one of Switzerland’s most stunning views. My time in Lucerne was a short one, only one day and I spent the day walking around the city, writing, and taking photographs enjoying the limited amount of time, a luxury. There is so much more to this beautiful city and its surrounding mountains. It is easy to see why it is a favorite destination for tours and tourists alike.
Switzerland’s train system is one of the best in the world. A country that is known for their timepieces, their transportation system is equally as refined and precise on the clock even to let travelers know which track their train will arrive and depart. It is efficiency and convenience at its finest leaving you time to really take in the sites and gems of this glorious city including its famous Jet d’eau in the Lac Leman.
I have met many people while traveling on trains in Europe. Often, first-time travelers in Europe, conversations on the stories of their journeys, travel tips to be exchanged, and conversations in different languages to eavesdrop upon. Living in the United States I have never taken a consecutive multi-destination trip on the train and it is a dream of mine, especially in Europe where Rail Europe makes it so easy for travelers.
Each destination has its own tale or chapter, but I would love to continue to write a creative visual story of those tales on the rail. So often we make these memories for ourselves, but if we are lucky someone else will read what you have penned on a page. The time stands still and my mind wanders now as another journey is beginning…
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To book future travel on Rail Europe you can go to the website at: www.raileurope.com
This post was written as an entry to Rail Europe’s #TALESONRAIL contest. For more information go to www.raileurope.com/talesonrail to check out the contest details.
When I travel I like to consult travel guides for tips and destinations as well. Some of my favorite in these particular journeys were: