As I sit writing this, we are on our last Eurail train of CR9. Frankly, I don’t know what to feel. I’m not going to miss the incredibly close calls, with such classics as Andrea throwing her body in a train door to save us all, and being lied to by multiple conductors about when our train is actually arriving at any given location. I also won’t have a very hard time saying goodbye to things like lugging my suitcase everywhere and throwing it haphazardly in any empty space, using rickety train bathrooms, sleeping in uncomfortable positions, and getting stern talking-tos from conductors every time I put my feet on a chair.
Despite all that, there are a lot of things about Eurail that I really will miss. The opportunity to stare dramatically out the train window with headphones in and think deeply about life, the hilarious train conversations and games I’ve been a part of, getting to see how hilarious everyone looks trying to sleep while sitting upright (shoutout to kate for sleeping on literally every train we have stepped foot on) the brief chance to watch a little Netflix and remember what it feels like to be a lazy American, and so much more. Eurail has been nothing if not an experience.
I appreciate the way Europeans travel compared to Americans. There’s much more of a focus on efficiency and respectability here than back home. While we have had a few rowdy run-ins, mostly people have been much more respectful of each other’s space and noise tolerance than on American transportation. The Eurail is relatively clean and well-kept, and the conductors do a great job of preventing any problems from occurring. I think if it were an American train system free food would probably be served and there might be TV’s on the back of the seats, but I honestly enjoyed being forced to just relax and look out the windows at the beautiful scenery and talk to my friends. Eurail has been a positive experience, and I’m going to miss everything from the stress of trying to get on a train to the excitement I felt arriving in each new city.