It’s just over a week before I, along with a friend, set off on a trip I’ve been excited to do for a very long time! To celebrate me turning 30(!), myself and a friend are setting off on a 2 week rail tour around Europe from 5th November. The route is planned, pretty much everything is booked and we leave in just over a week – starting to feel real after being in the works for the best part of a year!
Here’s the main cities we’re visiting (in the order we’re planning on seeing them – though the beauty of InterRail is that we can change this around as we go along, to a certain extent):
- Rotterdam, The Netherlands
- Amsterdam, The Netherlands
- Berlin, Germany
- Hamburg, Germany
- Vienna, Austria
- Milan, Italy
- Zurich, Switzerland
- Geneva, Switzerland
- Basel, Switzerland
- Paris, France
If anyone has any recommendations for the cities we’re travelling to, it would be great to read these in the comments! I’ll also be blogging separately during/after the trip about some of the train journeys we’re doing – the most exciting for me personally being a trip in a train with panoramic windows going across the Alps (the scenic way via the Bernina Pass, not using the newer tunnelled route) between Milan and Zurich.
However, there’s one aspect of it that’s requiring a bit more planning than the rest. Some people reading this will know that for the last 2 years, in November, I’ve attempted to visit all the stations on the London Underground in a day. Well this year, it has a European twist!
This year, at the end of our wider European rail trip, we’re taking the Tube Challenge concept into France! The Paris Metro has 14 lines and over 300 stations, and we’re going to see how many of these we can pass through in a day (hopefully all of them!). The RER (the city’s suburban rail network) is excluded – for this challenge we’re exclusively focusing on the Metro system.
In doing so, we’re raising money for two excellent charities – Great Ormond Street Hospital and, for the first time this year, St. John Ambulance. We’re already doing quite well in terms of sponsorship, not least because my employer – Krystal Hosting – has kindly donated £500 to be split evenly between these two excellent charities, and if you’d like to sponsor us too, you can do so at Virgin Money Giving.
Anyway, back to the Challenge! Preparations are going well – we’ve got a route we think will work – but unlike London it’s not a city we’re overly familiar with, so a route that works on paper may (and probably will!) cause us to think on our feet during the day – so we’re excited but a bit nervous! Unlike London we shouldn’t need too many bus links – the RER conveniently links nicely between lines.
As always, I’ll be putting regular progress updates on Twitter as and when I can throughout the day of the challenge, and I’ll update here too as to how it went! I’m also doing a talk about the Tube Challenge (including how my experience of London compares to Paris) at Cranfield University on 4th December. If you’d like to hear me speak, sign up for free tickets here!
Any tips on Paris, or indeed any city we’re visiting during our trip, are most welcome, please pop them in the comments below!