Last month I wrote this post about our impending travels through Europe. 20 days, 11 trains and seven countries later we returned home with heaps of washing, very few souvenirs and lots of amazing memories.
We saw some wonderful sights: huge cathedrals, stunning countryside, lakes and mountains, historic cities and cultural sites.
Travelling by train proved to be so easy and hassle free. We were only delayed twice (both short delays on Eurostar). Booking through the fantastic Loco2 website proved to be so easy (despite my doubts about paperless ticketing). And, yes our £22 individual tickets from Paris to Milan (7 1/2 hour journey) really were valid! The trains were amazing – the majority of them were roomy and comfortable and we even experienced the dining carriage while travelling through the Brenner Pass in Austria.
Our kids became great train travellers, managing to climb aboard each carriage, find their seats and then occupy themselves for up to seven hours.
However I feel that I can’t finish this post without commenting on how much the Europe that we travelled through only one month ago has changed.
It seems incredible to think that less than a month ago we were at Munich train station. Since then the city has seen tens of thousands of refugees arrive. It is amazing to think that we were able to travel freely through seven countries, barely having to show our passports because of the Schengen Agreement which allows/did allow for document-free border crossings. We weren’t turned away at borders, we didn’t have to fight to get on board trains or sleep outside railway stations. At the end of our holiday we could return to our own safe island.
Yet as I write the European continent is now struggling with 400,000 refugees. This has become the biggest refugee crisis in Europe since the Second World War and it shows no sign of improving.