My Fetish With Train Travel

I know I’m not alone in my love of trains, but I certainly don’t see a lot of people I know talking about it. Train Travel. It’s faster than a car but slower than a plane, and you can get your own little room. What more could you want from a form of travel? I never knew how fascinating train travel was until I was in 5th grade, and my parents took me to Europe. Between buses and ferries, the train system is what we most often used to see 9 countries in 14 days. It was the trip that would birth some of my deepest love for travel and one I still recall today as one of the best trips I’ve ever had.

Our Experience on Trains in Europe

When Todd and I decided to do Europe a few years ago, I knew that I would have to include trains in my itinerary. I planned that trip to the “T” and purchased tickets and hostels as I had funds. Little by little, I planned the trip and chipped away at how to get from one point to another. We didn’t do many trains, as we ended up renting cars for more of the trip, but we did make a train trip (overnight) from Paris to Milan. Yes, we had our own little room, and it was magical. I did feel like I’d slide out of my bed regularly, each time the train stopped, which would have been relatively painful since I had the top bunk. Pretty sure Todd never suspected any stops since he sleeps like death.

Our second train was from Milian, Italy to Cannes, France… stopping along the coast. I feel like our view from the train into the Mediterranean may have been where liveaboard life captured our imagination. We saw these beautiful yachts along the coastline, in Monte Carlo and on and I feel that may have been where the idea was birthed to live on a boat. I sunbathed topless on the beaches of Cannes, bought groceries at a tiny grocer before hopping on the high-speed train from Cannes back to Paris.

The Future of Train Travel for Me

I have an aging grandmother in Grass Valley, CA. In fact, she just turned 92-years-old, and it’s been eight years since I’ve seen her. It’s time. I know that if I don’t get there soon, I will be disappointed that I didn’t make the visit. So I’m planning a cross country trip on a train to see her. I likely could find an easier way to go (maybe even cheaper) by hopping a plane, but where is the adventure in that?

Traveling by train will take the better part of two days (one way), and I can work on my way there and back. I’ve been talking about making a road trip alone across the country, but considering I usually have a lot of writing to do on any given day, I need someone else doing the navigating. I won’t be able to drive all day, work all night… on rinse and repeat.

I’m still in the infancy of planning this trip, but it looks like I’ll need to go from Chicago to Sacramento, and I’ll rent a car from there. I have friends in Sacramento that I need to see anyway, and that will give me a chance to see some of my dearest friends.

How About You?

Have you considered doing this sort of trip? Have you already done it? I’d love your feedback and planning strategies. I notice the online booking is a little confusing on Amtrak so bring me all the tricks and tips!  Here are some additional snaps, from the Sir to give you an idea as to our train views… and you can also take a peek at some of that in the video we did on our whole trip to Europe here.