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Follow the Tracks

by 4 June 25, 2013

Train Travel Header-01
Planes, trains and automobiles are all viable modes of transportation in Europe.
Greece is a long way from England so a plane is basically required.
The Cotswolds are pretty close to London and the road signs are in English so renting a car and driving is a great option. Using the left side of the road is just part of the adventure.
But any trip you could classify as middle distance is poised for train travel.
I will be fully transparent here. I am writing this post from my train seat. I am writing about the train because I am on it and in love. Smitten, really. My heart is fluttering with the sounds of the tracks.
Why?
Partly because of all the reasons you have already heard from someone else. It's beautiful. This train is taking me to Edinburgh so I am gliding by all sorts of cypress trees, sheep farms, and small towns centered around church steeples (and maybe a nuclear plant or two as well but those are forgettable). Basically it's captivating.
[caption id="attachment_2765" align="aligncenter" width="540"]Took this from my train seat when half way between London and Edinburgh Took this from my train seat about half way between London and Edinburgh[/caption]
It's also pretty darn affordable and end to end it generally takes about as long as a plane trip.
Plus there is plenty of space for average sized humans. Even for average sized humans wearing other tiny humans.
Baby Wearing at the Train Station
[caption id="attachment_2767" align="aligncenter" width="540"]Two humans One seat Two humans One seat[/caption]
You also feel less confined. The train staff trusts that as a fully functioning adult you are able to get up and walk around without causing yourself any bodily harm (looking at you American Airlines).
train aisle
But you've heard all of that.
Here's why my heart quickens at the mention of the train. Less. hassle. Yes, it's true.
I will never weigh a bag before I head to the train station. In fact, I might pack an extra for giggles. Or at least I would have before I was traveling with a tiny person.
For you sporting types there are trains with space for your golf clubs, skis, or even a bike. If you consider yourself a female version of a hustler the bag limit is 3 (yes I said three) so come on with your stilettos, vintage bags and makeup brushes; no one even asks you to remove the liquids.
I have just been added to the "family traveler" demographic. Meaning there is a certain amount of hassle you can not avoid. Family travel is basically an extreme sport. There are bags to stow away, stroller pieces to park, an extra carry on bag with necessities that ensure your child neither screams or pees on anything. All your stuff in tow is combined with the challenge of being second only to terrorist on the "folks I don't want near me" list that all other non parents/non terrorists have in the forefront of their mind when they get on a plane or train. Everyone around is asking God to please place you somewhere far enough that your child's noises cant penetrate their headphones. Basically you maneuver 20 square feet of stuff while smiling and conveying with your eyes that your infant is precious not terrifying. Then the tiny human (read: ticking time bomb of tears) goes on your lap. Look for me at the X Games 2016.
[caption id="attachment_2769" align="aligncenter" width="540"]All bags strategically placed for toting and storing. He's ready to go. All bags strategically placed for toting and storing. He's ready to go.[/caption]
I love the train because I don't have to add taking off my shoes at security, pulling over the car to feed the baby, waiting for that single instance the food and drinks come by or checking 3 bags for an additional $75 on top of the inevitable travel hassle.
And if that weren't enough I can buy a ticket that let's me get on any train in a given time period. Lots of trains to miss and still be on time.
Sweet travel freedom. That's what the train is.
My disclaimer is this. There are parts of Europe that have trains which qualify as moving torture chambers. Too many people. Too few air vents. So much nasty that you'd rather stand than sit even if it is for three hours. So use some of those smarts you have when looking to book train travel.
All in all the train is your friend. Introduce yourself and get acquainted and your relationship is bound to last a lifetime.
[caption id="attachment_2770" align="aligncenter" width="540"]Checking our departure platform. Checking our departure platform.[/caption]

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