I’ve told you about my wedding, so, as promised, I’ll say a bit about my honeymoon. It was good. The day after the wedding, we took an overnight ferry, in a luxury cabin, from North Shields (near Newcastle) to IJmuiden (near Amsterdam). We spent two nights in Amsterdam, including a day-trip to Delft, and spent the rest of the month travelling round continental Europe by train. We’d previously bought InterRail passes, and, even though we were too old (and too young) to qualify for any discount, it worked out pretty well for us. We’d heard, after booking them, that InterRail wasn’t as good as it used to be, and that you end up having to pay supplements on most trains, so you don’t necessarily save any money. This may be true if you’re mainly travelling in certain countries, like France, where we not only had to pay a supplement on the TGV, but were lucky to find one that had any InterRail spaces left. Elsewhere, however, we found it really was a matter of hopping on a train and letting it take you where you wanted to go. Apart from the TGV from Lausanne to Paris, the only supplements we paid were for berths on night trains, and we could hardly complain about that. Overall, we probably saved a small amount of money by doing it this way. More important than that was the freedom we found it gave us. The other source of freedom (or, rather, something that allowed us the luxury of both freedom and relatively low stress) was LateRooms.com. A day or two before we left anywhere, we’d just look on LateRooms and book somewhere to stay in our next destination. We recommend this highly.
A few extra recommendations for anyone planning something similar:
- Before you leave, get hold of a printed copy of rail times in Europe (the Thomas Cook guide is particularly good). We didn’t, although we picked up a Eurorail guide in Berlin. These are of the utmost help in planning your route.
- Deutsche Bahn are particularly helpful when it comes to checking train times and booking tickets (for sleeping compartments, for example) almost anywhere in Europe.
- Before you leave for your next destination, print off a map (or at least write down directions) to where you’re staying there. This will save you a lot of stress when you arrive and, quite possibly, taxi money. Don’t assume there’ll be anyone who can give you information when you arrive.
- Always carry some relatively unperishable food with you.
- Always carry water with you.
- Always carry wet-wipes with you.
- Always carry toilet paper, or at least tissues, with you.
- Always have some spare cash in a widely accepted currency (in Europe, this means Euros) on you.
- At least try to say something to someone in the local language.
So, anyway, here’s the route we took:
Further posts will say more about specific destinations.
Addendum: as I work it out, we travelled more than four and a half thousand miles altogether, none of it by plane.