CR9’s hectic relationship with European trains has come to an end as we arrived in Rome and stepped off our final train. From our first train experience to our last as seasoned pros, I observed a lot about traveling through Europe. The train system which exists has no U.S. comparison and as you travel, you get more geographical perspectives of the world around you than you would in a car or airplane.
European trains wait for no one, which we learned as a train door tried closing on us and we quite literally dove into our train as we held the doors open. I find it ironic that in countries where people are so laid back about meeting times, they somehow manage to always make their trains. In addition, the system which manages all the trains and their times must be incredibly detailed. The train system allows for practical travel which I imagine benefits businesses who avoid paying for as many plane tickets. I assume the reason the United States does not rely much on trains comes down to the availability of interstate highways and the high amount of people who own cars. I’ve noticed that larger cars, such as those advertised as perfect for family vacations — SUVs, Minivans, Suburbans, etc — are not common. Not only is this because of smaller streets and higher reliance on walking, but also because when traveling longer distances, traveling by train seems like the best option. The trains leave when you expect them to leave for the most part and you get a better view than just a two lane highway in front of you. In the U.S., I associate trains with cargo rather than passengers, but in Europe, I really enjoyed using trains to travel.
One of the main reasons I enjoyed traveling by train was because of the views that came along with each train ride. In Germany, I watched the countryside go by and felt mesmerized by the strong hues of green grass or by the brightness of the yellow flowers. I saw life lived differently as a little girl rode her bike by her family’s farm. On our way to Switzerland, the landscape gradually changed right before my eyes from rolling green hills to snow capped mountains with pristine glacier water lakes. Even the type of livestock changed from country to country, as sheep were not seen on any of my voyages in Germany but were in Switzerland. In Italy, the green was not as bright and strong as in Germany, but I saw different types of vegetation and architecture. Small towns we passed in Italy had more Spanish styled roofs and buildings that were closer together. If we traveled by plane, we wouldn’t get to observe all the differences in landscape. Personally, regardless of the stress of making them on time, train rides added more to my experience on CR. As we arrived to our new destinations, we all eagerly stared out the window at the new scenery. I always tried to snag a window seat, so I could stare out the window at what may pass by, and I was always pleasantly surprised by a new view.