Interrailing is an adventure-filled way to explore single or multiple European countries. I have always wanted to try that out, even before I got married, so it was really cool when my husband agreed to travel this summer via Interrail. We’ve been deciding which countries to include since March, and eventually, we came up with the map. It kind of look like an inverted ice-cream cone. 😉
A Global Pass valid for 10 days in 1 month was purchased, and we received our tickets + some brochures in the post, which filled us with excitement, eventhough it was just April. At the end of the journey, I’ll post the complete detailed itinerary of the whole Interrail adventure, but for now, I’ll go through the days. But to give an overview, we aimed to hit (or at least pass by/get a glimpse of) 9 countries in the continent: Norway → Germany → Czech Republic → Slovakia → Austria → Slovenia → Italy → Switzerland → France → Norway.
We tried to make the journey as comfortable as possible by booking the flights and hotels a couple of months before. That was good, but then, it’s important to be flexible because you wouldn’t know if the time allotted for a place is too long or too short! Reviews from travelers online vary, so you basically have to figure out most of the things by yourself. My husband and I are a good team on the road. Yes, we sometimes disagree where and when and how to explore this and that, but at the end of the day, we find the way and we end up satisfied with what we’ve accomplished!
When you purchase the pass/es, you have to indicate the first travel date. I actually miscalculated the date because I thought I would still be in school during the 2nd week of June. But it still ended well, as I started my new part-time job as a nursing student the week before the travel. June 17 marked the beginning of our (first) Interrail Journey, and this is Day 1.
3 important things to have:
- Your Interrail pass + Travel diary! Read the guide carefully, so you know how to fill out the Travel Diary, the do’s and dont’s, etc. It has to be filled out before each train/ferry/bus you take. No erasures allowed! One is not valid w/o the other.
- Your passport/proof of identity! There were train conductors who did not ask for passports, but there were some who did, including immigration checks on borders (between Austria and Slovakia, for example!). Your Interrail pass is not valid w/o your passport.
- The Rail Planner app. Download it, and from there, you can check train connections. You can also modify your search to look for train routes that do not require seat reservations. Yes, some hispeed trains like Trenitalia, OBB and TGV require seat reservations, and they vary from 3-35 euros, no matter the distance! Regional trains are an alternative, but they take longer and you have to change trains more often. You can also book seat reservation on the app, but it didn’t really work for us. So just go to the respective train webpages and book your seats there. Be aware though that some routes are not included on the app, so it might be practical to use google, too. More about train planning later. 😉
08:00 AM Oslo Gardermoen → Berlin Schoenefeld via Norwegian Air (1hr35mins)
It was drizzling in Norway when we left, but good forecast in Berlin and Prague awaits! We flew with Norwegian from Oslo Gardermoen to Berlin Schoenefeld, which took about an hour and 35 minutes. With Global Pass, it is possible to take the train towards the airport (outbound journey), but our flight was very early, so we opted for the Flytoget (Airport train in Norway). For that, we had to pay. Anyway, the skies were clear, minimum turbulence, and boy! What amazing aerial views of Germany!
There was no direct train from Berlin Schoenefeld to Prague, so we changed at Berlin Suedkreuz.
10:25 AM Berlin Schoenefeld → Berlin Suedkreuz via S-bahn (33mins)
I visited Berlin in 2014 with my sister, and we had an amazing time there. Lots to explore and learn and wonder about. This time, we did not stop by the big grey city. We decided to board the train immediately after landing. Note that not all trains in Europe participate in the Interrail program! In Germany, all Deutsche Bahn routes do, including the S-bahn. 😉 No stamp nor seat reservation on this train journey.
11:26 AM Berlin Suedkreuz → Prague Hlavni Nadrazi via EC 379 (3hrs58mins)
After buying some snacks at Berlin Suedkreuz station, we hurried down the platform where EC 379 (Eurocity) came to a halt to pick up passengers. Seat reservation is possible and probably wise for this busy and in-demand train connection. We were lucky though, because the conductor led us to empty seats, so we traveled comfortably towards Prague even without reserving seats. And we got our first stamp, both on the pass and the travel diary. 😀
Here are some amazing views from the train ride (the train was moving fast, it was hard to focus):
16:08 PM Check in at Hotel Colloseum
Upon arrival at Prague Hlavni Nadrazi, we took an Uber taxi towards Hotel Colloseum. Lame, yes, but 2 kms of an unfamiliar place with 2 heavy luggages can be quite exhausting to traverse. The hotel was nicely situated, and from there, we walked towards the major attractions in the following days. It is also quite near to U Medvidku, a restaurant I remember well from my first trip to Prague in 2014, and where I wanted to take the husband for the first dinner. The facilities were good, and breakfast was decent. There was also a small fan in the room, but we didn’t really use it as the summer weather in Prague at that time was heavenly! Light, but not too bright. Warm, but not hot!
19:23 PM City stroll + Dinner at U Medvidku Restaurant
After getting some rest, we headed out the streets of beautiful Prague to eat dinner. There are many quirky monuments and statues and art installations in the city, including the Slight Uncertainty by Michal Trpák, which can be found in public places. It symbolizes economic recession, I heard. Prague was how I remembered it to be — old, beautiful, fairytale-ish, cobbled streets..
I brought the husband to U Medvidku – a cozy, sosial restaurant which brews its own beer. A Czech friend introduced me to this place during my first visit.
A few minutes before 9 pm, we were back in the hotel to get some well-deserved and much-needed rest. We had to prep up for the city tour the next day. 😉 See yah! #spreadlove