As you have probably read in the About me section, I love train traveling. So.. I will start my Interrail trip through Europe: visiting at least the capital cities of 30 participating countries in 30 days. In this blog I will describe the first part of my journey and the most important/interesting things that I will expect to see, will do and shall experience.
April 22 – April 27
My journey starts in my own country: Amsterdam, from there I will first go up to Scandinavia. I will conquer the icy cold of Lapland, cruising the Baltic sea and railing through the Fjords of Norway on the rail-line Oslo-Bergen (which is supposed to be one of the world’s most stunning rail-lines). A very funny aspect is that one of the trains that I’m going to take will cross the Baltic sea without tracks… HUH? Yep! One of the ICE’s in Germany is actually being transported by a ferry on a part of it’s itinerary – the same way as cars do. I have to admit, haven’t seen that before :).
April 28 – April 29
When leaving Scandinavia by train, there are 3 options; in my case it’s the same as how I got there; the train-ferry. However there are also options for the very adventurous travelers which are not included in Interrail passes – but who knows when this will change? It is possible to take a ferry from Helsinki, and make your way down via Tallinn (Estonia), Riga (Latvia) & Vilnius (Lithuania) to Warsaw (major improvements are going on with respect to the tracks in those countries, so bus replacement all over the place). Or you can decide to go via Helsinki – Sint Petersburg – Moscow with Russian Trains and then make your way South/East. But, sticking to my journey: I will leave Scandinavia via Copenhagen – and will continue my trip in the direction of Berlin and Warsaw.
April 30 – May 03
When done exploring Berlin & Warsaw I will take the night train to Prague, from which other capital cities are located very nearby (Wien & Bratislava); which is good for my tight schedule! Hence I decided to visit all 3 cities in just 1 day: Prague (05:58 – 10:49), Wien (14:51 – 18:16), Bratislava (19:22 – 07:53). The main reason I do this is to give me some extra time later-on, where train-traveling will be a lot less straightforward (but, more exciting!). From Bratislava I will start railing into the Balkan area. Via Budapest and Bucharest I will make my way west all the way to Ankara. This is a rather interesting part of my journey, due to the fact that in Turkey rail-maintenance is taking place roughly everywhere (they are making high-speed tracks). To get from Bucharest to Ankara I have to take a train first in Bucharest (duhh..), then change in the middle of nowhere to another train that will bring me to Dimitrovgrad (where?). In Dimitrovgrad a train from the direction of Sofia (capital of Bulgaria) will bring me to Kapikule, where currently a bus replacement is scheduled (after you’ve been accepted into Turkey… in the middle of the night..). From Kapikule to Istanbul will be a small 5-hours bus journey. But that’s not all.. from Istanbul I have to figure out how I cross the Bosphorus (something called a Marmaris), and take a metro (Ayrılıkçeşme) + bus (Kartal) to Pendik from where high-speed trains to Ankara run. Oef… I hope I can find my way.