Europe By Rail

For many, taking the train is still the most wonderful way to travel. It is a romantic throwback to a long gone era, before modern jets linked the world. For some, taking the train is just too slow, but for those that enjoy it, that is one its charms. It affords travelers the opportunity to see the countryside, often from a comfortable car filled with modern amenities.

The train system in Europe is well known as being an excellent way for travelers to explore the continent. Trains run on a regular basis to nearly every region, offering a convenient, affordable, and leisurely way to get to your destination.

The TImes Online has put together a list of four great European rail journeys offering up suggestions for those who would like to experience the very best that this mode of transportation has to offer. The routes they suggest include a tour through Eastern Europe, a ride through the Alps, a journey along the French Riviera and Italy, and an adventure that will take you to Gibraltar and beyond, into Africa. Each of the routes has multiple legs, and the article gives details on the best and most insteresting of them. It also has tips on how to book your train journey, complete with ideas on how to save money in the process.

There was a time when train travel through Europe was viewed as strictly the realm of students and backpackers. But recently there have been first class and adults only cars added, opening the trains up as a viable option for other travlers as well. With airfares to Europe at bargain rates, now may be a great time to go, and with cheap trains as an option, explore the continent like never before.

Photo of the Day (11-12-08)

In the theme of places you gotta see before you’re twelve, here’s my suggestion. A dock. Any dock that’s perfect for jumping into a lake will do. jonrawlingson, who snapped this shot of a boy taking a leap in Gibraltar, caught the lighting and the movement at just the right time. I love the way the boy’s legs and arms are positioned–just like poetry.

About this photo–Jon posted it in 2005. It may take awhile, but one of these days, when you’ve given up, there is your artistry as a Photo of the Day. Send us your best to our Flickr photo pool.

Video: Traffic Intersects the Gibraltar Airport Runway

This video taken at the Gibraltar airport isn’t the most exciting to watch, but it does illustrate an interesting situation: a major road intersects the runway. I ran across this when we landed in Goa a few days before New Year’s Eve. Goa’s airport is tiny, and only has a three-plane capacity at the terminal. With late December being a prime time for visiting the wonderful Goan beaches, planes quickly landed where they’d sit on an adjacent strip of tarmac while waiting their turn to dock at the overflowing terminal. Our GoAir flight was no different, and as we waited, I’d watch cars, motorcycles, and even dogs cross the thin strip of runway in between the arrival and departures. Crazy!

Youngest Person to Sail Atlantic

Michael PerhamEarlier today at 14:00 GMT, 14-year-old Michael Perham navigated into Nelson’s Dockyard in Antigua where he became the youngest person to sail the Atlantic Ocean single-handedly. He began the challenging six-week, 3,500 mile voyage in Gibraltar and ended up in the record books.

Though, he didn’t sail away without any backup. His father, Peter, tailed Michael’s yacht — named Cheeky Monkey — to keep an eye on the lad. The two Perhams kept in touch via VHF radio between their boats, and kept in close contact with land via satellite phone.

The trip may be over, but you can still follow the odyssey. Michael kept a travel blog in which he detailed life at sea, technical difficulties, and animal encounters. (And I know how much you like blogs, dear reader.)

I have a lot of respect for Michael’s Atlantic accomplishment. When I was 14, I don’t think I’d even crossed my own street by myself. Well, that was probably just because I was locked in my room transfixed by Jenny McCarthy on MTV’s Singled Out.