Riding the Rails – May 2016

Writing this post has been on my to do list for over 2 years. Yes I know, that is a very long time. But today, a rainy and cold Spring day, is the day that I tell you about my love for trains ( A love much different then Sheldon Coopers’ that is. )  The first time I rode a train was when I was around 7 years old.  It was in Port Stanley, Ontario and I rode it with my parents and brother. I remember enjoying the historical tourist ride and hoped that I would be able to ride again soon. It was however not soon, and the next train I rode was in Europe in 2010. Yes, this is a very long time and I am amazed that I never road a ViaRail train while I lived my first 21 years in Canada. It is however understandable as buses, planes and automotive travel is cheaper, faster and well, much easier. This was and still is the norm in Ontario. Even though I grew up only a few hundred meters from a railroad ( one that has now been removed ) Railroads are used these days more for cargo then for travel. This is something that I support over having all our cargo on the roads, but it still very sad to see for those wishing to ride.

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But things changed when I moved to Europe. Trains here are wonderful. They are fast and reliable. Like beautiful long horses searching the countryside moving from city to city though amazing landscapes and cultures. They come and go hourly bringing people directly into the city centre with speed, silence and precision. I may be a bit biased as I do live in Germany and the trains here are some of the top in the world, but I can not praise them enough.  They allow the rider to sit back and enjoy the beautiful landscape while commuting into the city. They allow families and tourists to visit the mountains, lakes and natural beauty that lies all around us, and they do it with ease and innovation.

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One of the most beautiful train rides I have taken, was from Padua, Italy, to Munich, Germany. I was on my way back to Munich from a photography workshop on a beautiful sunny Sunday evening in the Spring of 2014. For a few hours as the sun was setting,  I  struggled not to cry while riding. It was long train ride, but so unbelievable beautiful. The poppies, queen annes lace, forget me nots and yellow wild flowers covered the beautiful green fields and river banks. I watched the snow blow in the breeze off of the pointed mountain caps in the Austrian Alps.  The sunset created swirls of colour like brushstrokes in the clouds. They reminded me of cotton candy and look like they were pulled straight out of one of Turner’s famous landscape paintings.  The tall crisp pines pointed straight and proud to the blue sky as they went rushing by.  While riding along long arched bridges I was reminded of my brothers metal toy train set and how we used to play for hours in our garage as kids. This was the train ride that made me fall in love with locomotive travel,  I can not believe I went so many years without riding like I do now. 

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Below you will see some of the many pros to travelling by train.

  • There are huge windows next to every seat. This means great views and relaxing scenery.
  • There are no luggage restrictions. 2, 3, 4 Bags, Skis, Bikes.. All are WELCOME!
  • It is environmentally friendly and has a lower Carbon Footprint then flying or driving.
  • You completely avoid traffic delays, back ups, construction etc.
  • Every small town/city has a station. You can literally get on and off anywhere! ( In Europe that is. )
  • You travel where the highways can not. For example beautiful mountains valleys, and greens rolling hills. Say goodbye to car sickness, pavement and transport trucks.
  • A lot of cities also have street cars/trains/trams. Whatever you want to call them, they are very practical and usually beautiful.
  • The train station is usually gorgeous and easier to get to then the airport. Less time commuting before commuting!

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Some of the few cons of train travel.

  • The tickets are sometimes more expensive then driving/flying. But the earlier you book the better. ( This is however irrelevant for local or city train travel )
  • You have to carry your luggage ( Though how bad is that really. )
  • Once and a while you have to wait for the train or you have a delay. In my experience this is very rare.
  • It is very tricky to photograph the scenery ( Maybe this is why I enjoy it so much! )

Thanks for reading about my love for trains. I am looking forward to my next ride, who knows where it will take me.

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I’m Andrea, a spirited adventurer and photographer. I capture food, portrait and travel photography. I was born and raised in Ontario, Canada but my feet, my camera and my heart have lead me far from home to Munich, Germany where I currently live and work.

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