In 1995, Kajol had successfully chased down a train in Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge. More than a decade later, I wasn’t as lucky. Our hosts from Eurail had repeatedly emphasied the punctuality with which each of their trains run. A couple of minutes can’t hurt, I thought, before taking a detour at the Amsterdam station, to shop. I missed my train.
Having learnt my lesson, I duly bought a watch – a cheap knockoff – from a market near Amsterdam’s red-light district. By the time I reached the quaint little town of Utrecht, our second destination, it had stopped working.
Oh, you’re still wondering why I started with the mention of a film more than a decade old? Well, DDLJ was the first Hindi film to popularise Eurail in India. And, it was the Eurail Global Pass, which made our country-hopping across Europe possible. The pass, which enables you to visit a maximum of 21 countries, has several options to choose from, depending on your budget and the duration of your stay.
Next on the map was Munich. Yes, it’s known for its rich history and picturesque monuments, but what’s the one thing you must do there? Shop. Just ask anyone on the streets for directions to the ‘shopping mile’. A bus tour of the city is the preferred way to go sightseeing.
Our next destination, Frankfurt, literally blew me away, with unbearably strong cold winds sweeping across the city. Fortunately, the street food market, which pops up every Thursday, offers plenty of cider to warm you up.
If you’re catching a train for a new city every morning, things usually get chaotic. But, that’s where the fun lies. Plus, considering the plush seats and the food served on them, every train we’d step on was almost like getting on a first class flight.
As we rushed through the latter half of the trip, visiting the postcard-like Luxembourg as well as Basil (Switzerland), which prides itself on its old-world charm, all the sightseeing had given me a headrush – the type you get when you get up really fast! Yes, lounging in a single picturesque European city for weeks is great, but nothing beats a part-nomadic, part-chaotic run through the continent, savouring each place as you go. And Eurail, with its extensive reach over the entire continent, helps put some method into that madness.