Still being the Interrail Champion 25 years after my record trip the Eurail Group provided me with the opportunity to do a 25 year anniversary Interrail journey in 2012. The idea of this tour was old-skool Interrail without any prebookings and without using mobile gadgets. Therefore, I first bought - online I must admit - the real solid Thomas Cook timetable. Then I planned a trip that would take me and my family at a leisurely pace down to Spain, from there to Leipzig for the Interrail birthday party and finally on to Poland for the opening of the European Football Championship a few days later. Planning the rail journey was done completely without the internet. I used online information only to check out accomodation. I did absolutely no prebookings. I did, however, carry a notebook with me, that helped me to check accomodation options instantly when needed. My 2012 Interrrail only lasted two weeks, but it was great and proved that the old Interrail magic still works. Train travel was fun and easy as it used to be. What changed during the last 25 years is the perception of travel and holidays in general. People are not so keen any longer to criss-cross Europe and spend a lot of time on the road or in a train. People tend to prefer getting from A to B, stay at B and then return to A. At the Youth Hostel in Carcassonne we were lucky to meet up with a bunch of real travellers, who were moving around mostly by rail. We had a wonderful time sharing our stories. What has also changed during the last 25 years is the rail map of Europe, which is not a real surprise considering the political changes. However, every Interrail trip poses a logistical challenge. This was true back in 1987 and was still valid 25 years later. Contrary to a general belief that today it has become more expensive and difficult to travel via Interrail, because of all the restrictions and supplements, I may note that my Interrail ticket in 1987 - a thirty day global pass in todays terminology - cost a steep 420 DEM. Without going into details of inflation I would say that todays price of 420 EUR for youths is a rough equivalent. During my 30 day Interrail trip 1987 I spent approximately 420 DEM on supplements. during the 2012 Interrail tour I spent only 35 EUR on supplements. It was and should be a challenge for any true interrailer to avoid or minimize supplements as far as possible. Personally, I consider the Interrail experience a must and I truly believe that it is a good opportunity to either grow up or stay young - from whichever perspective of life you look at it. Having said this I must admit one thing: after my first night in the couchette carriage from Mulhouse to Strasbourg on the anniversary tour I really wondered how I managed to do this for 30 days in a row back in 1987.
Itinerary: Karlsruhe, Strasbourg, Marseille, Carcassonne, Tarragona, Barcelona, Lloret de Mar, Vienna, Ceske Budejovice, Prague, Leipzig, Wroclaw, Warsaw, Karlsruhe
- 17 day rail journey through 7 European countries
- 6,000 rail kilometers covered