From the archives: The only way to travel

So, prior to settling into "real life" with the daily grind and parenthood ruling our weeks, Steve and I were avid travellers. We still are, in fact, but our travels keep us a little closer to home these day.

But a little reminiscing sent me to the pages of my old blog – Red Robin Blue – that chronicled our lives while living in Paris and travelling around Europe.

And so I thought I'd bring back a few of those posts here. I hope you enjoy them too.

As the heat of the August day started to wane The Boy and I hauled our backpacks on and hoisted ourselves on board an old train in a village on the edge of the Czech Republic. We were headed to Poland and had decided to save a few pennies and train it there. The train was old and noisy, the seats in the carriages were upholstered in a material straight out of the 1970s and judging by the noise the brakes made that was probably the last time they had been oiled too.

We settled down into our seats, opened the window wide so the smell of freshly mown grass could drift in, and immediately fell in love with the romance of it all. With a groan and a few too many bumps we started to move and the countryside flashing by was beautiful; fields and forests flashed by dotted here and there with tiny villages and families out enjoying the cooler afternoon. Our was only broken by the sporadic tin whistle from the train

I’ve long been a fan of train travel. Besides the obvious benefit of not spending hours on either end in an airport and then still having to push through customs at a snail pace, there’s the chance to actually see the country you’re travelling in rather than just the cities in all their touristic glory. As far as I’m concerned there’s something intrinsically romantic about train travel as well, it calls to mind the glory days of steam trains puffing across Europe, although considering there was a murder on the Orient Express there must be some downsides.

The Boy and I settled into our seats, the material hot behind our backs, for the four hour trip. But almost straight away The Boy was up and hanging out the window, camera in hand trying to snap a perfect shot of the sun sinking behind the trees, a forested area full of wildflowers or a solitary man working with a scythe in a field. Passengers came and went, seemingly amused by how enchanted The Boy and I were with our surroundings until darkness forced us to pull our heads back within the carriage and settle down. 

Its not often that I fall in love with a trip between destinations. Normally I'm grumpy from last minute packing and the rush to the station/airport all the while struggling with shoulder bruises from my too heavy backpack that I refuse to lighten, and by the time I've settled into my seat visions of where I am headed are usually dancing in front of my eyes. All the time in between daydreams is normally reserved for reading, sporadic writing or catching up on some shut eye.

But for now I think it's safe to say I'm a convert. At least until I buy tickets for a 10 hour trip.

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