In 14 days, I saw nine countries, walked over 100 miles, rode over a dozen trains — ran to catch a few more — and captured it all in what had to be a thousand photos.
My friends and I put meticulous planning into our interrailing holiday. We had to: connecting trains left at precise times from far-off platforms; beds were reserved for the night in cities hundreds of miles from the ones in which we awoke; and our single backpacks were already overloaded, souvenirs protectively wrapped in dirty laundry.
The logistics were fairly straight-forward to determine. The harder part was answering the first question everyone asked: Is that enough time there?
Would two days in Venice be enough? Could we fill a whole day in Passau? Would we miss things with just a day and a half in Budapest?
Sure, Google could tell me the main sights of each city on our list, but the timing was somewhat unpredictable.
There are, in my opinion, two types of holidays. During the first, you lay on a beach or sit before a fire in a cabin and relax. On the latter, you wake early, scour a city, see the major sites and explore the lesser known corners, and fall into bed exhausted. I greatly prefer this second type, though each certainly has a place in my heart.
As I’ll soon be back in the United States with admittedly meek funds to send me back to these iconic sites, I wanted a taste of each place rather than a deluge of one. I found things to love in each country and could have filled more days in each, but the thrill of rising at 5 a.m. to leave a two-day-home for a new dwelling in a new country with a new language and currency — knowing the same would occur in a day’s time — was incomparable.
I hope to visit of few of these places again, but for some it’s likely I never will. More time could have been interesting, but the time I got on a wrong train, traveled endless panicked miles, and spent three hours in Pisa having a piece of Pisa pizza in front of the tower makes for a pretty good story.