In 1992 I got an Interail ticket from Norwich City (UK) train station a few days later I got on a ferry at Felixstowe bound for Holland and a three week train journey from Amsterdam to Corfu and back again.
What is Interail? They were tickets for the under 26 year olds for unlimited travel in Europe. You could just hop on any train and show the ticket to the conductor and go anywhere.
Travelogue: After arriving in Holland, I got on the train and headed for Warden where my Auntie used to live and spent a few days there. I had not been to Warden since I was 3 and it was great to explore the place again as a 22 year old.
Then getting on the train in Warden I headed for Amsterdam and boarded the train for one of the longest journeys of my life! The Dutch train was very plush and swanky and I was whisked to Pairs in no time, but here because the lines do not connect, much the same as London, I had to swap trains via the French underground.
Then I found myself on the train which was to take me to Brindisi on the heel of Italy. These old European carriages must have dated from the war. As I decided not to take a sleeper I had the compartment to myself. This was the longest night as the train kept stopping and starting the seats were bad for sleeping and the passport officials kept waking me up to check my documents what seemed like every half an hour.
When morning came the train came to a halt in Italy at a station and I thought the time of hell should be coming to an end. The shutters were down both sides of my compartment. There was a hell of a noise as the train seemed to be flooding with passengers. Then my door burst open on in walks an Englishman, ignoring me he shouts: “This compartment is empty!” He toddles off and returns with wife. Some women come in also and in no time the compartment is full. English chappie walks over to the blind and whips it up, sun streaming into my tired face. “YOU! Don’t mind if WE have this up do you!” he yells. I pretend to be foreign and make no response. He talks about me openly to all concerned but I am too far gone to bother.
Then to train grinds away and did nothing else again for hours and hours, meanwhile I have to sit there with a horrid atmosphere created by English chappie. After grinding past endless blue sea holiday resorts along the coast of Italy for hours the train finally arrived in Brindisi. I was dying of thirst and ignoring English chappie head for the only refreshment place in the whole area for a coke.
Here I got on the ferry which takes you over to Corfu. I spent the night on the roof of the ferry with many other travellers and managed to get a little sleep near the funnel where it was a little warmer.
Arriving in Corfu I looked for the reps with the Pink Palace signs as this place had been recommended to me by an Australian friend at work. I then ended up in a very damp room on the west side of Corfu, where at least you can see the sunset.
My time at the Pink Palace included 2 lots of scooter hire and I spend my time exploring as far as a scooter will let you, including Corfu town. I was rather disappointed with Corfu. I had loved reading My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell as a kid and I found my version did not match up to his. So after about 10 days of playing handheld Tetris and being ignored by the waiters in the restaurants I got back on the ferry to Brindisi. I had decided that I wanted to see a castle and had chosen one form the Rough Guide book I had in Germany.
I made a mistake in Italy and ended up going miles out of my way but still managed to get to Germany through Austria and Switzerland. I arrived in Munich during the Octoberfest, the second time I had been there during the famous beer festival. I was again very tired, and I headed for Augsburg as there were no rooms to be had in Munich. After I night there I set-off for Fuessen and got a room not far from the Neuschwanstein Castle, a real fairy-tale castle, which was also used as a backdrop in the film Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang.
In contrast between my other interail train rides the journey from Augsburg to Fussen was divine. The track is only single and winds though hilly pastures with cows grazing. A really nice journey. The town of Fussen is also very picturesque a really nice Bavarian town.
After I got bored there I got back on the train to Holland, looked up my Uncle and then back on the ferry to England.