Christy and Aaron Tracker

Follow Christy and Aaron on their backpacking trip around the world

30 hours on the poor man’s cruise

Posted by Aaron in Posts on 08 27th, 2010

We are almost finished with the European part of our journey. All that is left is to get back to London from Greece to catch our flight to Cairo, Egypt. The first leg to get us back to London was a 30 hour ferry from Patras, Greece to Venice, Italy. Our EuRail got us free deck passage on the boat. We were surprised to find out that we literally had deck passage tickets. There were some small uncomfortable chairs available, but Christy and I figured we would be more comfortable laying of the floor. We were some of the first people on the boat so we choose a spot by the pool and laid out our travel sheets. The cold wind from the boat woke us up during the night. We ended up sleeping in all of our rain gear to keep us warm in the wind. To make things worse, I was already fighting a head cold.

Christy camping on the deck of the ferry to Venice

When we woke up in the morning we were surprised to find the boat had filled up with other deck passengers. People were laying in every available space on the boat. The ferry, which seemed very nice when we got on (it had a pool) began to feel like a poor man’s cruise. Everywhere we walked there were people on air mattresses and in sleeping bags.

People camping on the ferry

People camping on the ferry

People camping on the ferry

Some people even brought tents.

Tent camping on the ferry

Thirty hours later we arrived in Venice. We were stiff and tired, but we could not stop to rest. We went straight to the train station to continue our journey back to London.



We Got Eurail Passes

Posted by Aaron in Posts on 07 24th, 2010

Christy and I got a train pass today. While traveling within Spain and England we always rode buses because they are extremely cheap compared to trains. A $150, 14 hour bus ride from Barcelona to Paris made us rethink our strategy. We bought 10 travel days within 2 months from Eurail. Their website claims you have to buy the pass ahead of time from the United States, but it was actually easy to buy in the Paris train station. Unfortunately, I am 26 so I no longer qualify for the youth rates. We ended up buying the 2 person adult group rate since it was almost the same price as 1 youth and 1 adult ticket. The best thing about the adult tickets… FIRST CLASS! We never envisioned riding around Europe in first class cabins, but we aren’t complaining. :)

Christy in a first class train



Eurail

Posted by Aaron in Planning on 09 25th, 2009

I cannot wait to explore Europe by train. A EuRail pass will allow Christy and I to travel all over Europe without having to buy train tickets along the way. As seen in the following picture, almost all of the European countries are well covered by the EuRail passes. A more detailed map is available on EuRail’s website www.eurail.com.

eurail-map-2009

It seems strange to me that Great Britain is not covered by the pass. Since England is high on our list of countries to visit, we will have to find out if there is a Great Britain train pass. Maybe we will fly into London first so we do not need to waste EuRail pass time while exploring England.

I really like the extensive train coverage of the countries. The passenger railroads cover so much more of the European countries than they do in the United States.  Christy and I will be able to visit just about any city we want to. I remember riding on Amtrak from Chicago to Denver  when I overheard a European student talking about the pathetic train coverage in the United States. At the time I wondered why anyone would travel by train, other than for novelty as I was doing. After seeing the train coverage in Europe I can see how it would be a common form of transportation.

I think Christy and I will be getting the 3 month youth global pass for $1359 each. That seems like a lot of money to me, but it will give us the ultimate in flexibility. Fortunately, I will barely meet the requirement for a youth pass. You must be 25 or younger on the first day of travel to get a youth pass. I will be turning 26 about 1 month after I begin riding the train. The 3 month pass will also work out perfectly. I am concerned about staying in expensive Europe for too long. The 3 month pass will put a definite end date on our time in Europe so we can move on and see different parts of the world.

Finding the EuRail pass and looking at the maps is beginning to make this trip seem real. I wanted to buy the passes immediately, but you can only purchase them 6 months before the first travel day. I guess I have to patiently wait until December 1st.