The first half of this year has been my busiest ever period for travel. The trips have been a combination of work and pleasure; because I’m only working part-time at the moment, I’ve been able to add on extra days around meetings and conferences. In five hectic months I’ve been to two US states, both the European and Asian parts of Istanbul, and nine other European countries – ten when I count today’s trip to Berlin!
Most of these trips require flying and I have seen my fill of airport security, immigration queues and baggage carousels. Where possible, I’ve been supplementing planes with trains. I do enjoy train travel – it allows you to enjoy the journey as well as the destination. Sometimes I hire a car, but for longer journeys I’ll opt for the train if possible.
Train travel is often as fast and as cheap as a flight, the security checks and check-in requirements are normally faster and more straightforward, and you get to see the countries you are travelling through. I know I posted a photo of a great snowy aerial view yesterday, but generally speaking you see much more from a train – hard to capture on my camera, I admit, but appealing nonetheless.
One of the more memorable recent train journeys took me from Copenhagen to Stockholm, over the spectacular Øresund Bridge. This 16km road and rail crossing connects the neighbouring countries of Sweden and Denmark, via 8km of bridge plus an artificial island and 4km of tunnel.
A fixed connection between these two neighbouring countries had long been a vision, but actual construction work did not begin until 1993. The crossing finally opened to the public in June 2000 and with it has brought the opportunity to work and study across the water. The journey from Copenhagen to Malmo takes just 35 minutes, and the link makes it faster (just 20 minutes) to get to Malmo from Copenhagen Airport than from Malmo Airport!
The views from the bridge were gorgeous – miles and miles of open water.
The rest of the journey was wonderful too – very comfortable, with fantastic views of lakes and more lakes. I arrived in Stockholm refreshed and just a short walk from my hotel on the waterfront. What could be better!
If you fancy trying out international train travel and want some help, I highly recommend the Man in Seat Sixty-One for concise and practical advice.