Ristretto’s Interrail Trip

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Ristretto’s Interrail Trip

 

Join us, Petra, Zyon and 11-year-old daughter Tyra in Europe! After much planning, booking assistance from a superb travel agency and lots of longing, it’s time for our first real train holiday.

Finally on the road!
The alarm clock rings super early this morning in June but today it is easy to wake up. A walk to our little train station – with just enough heavy backpacks and the pile of seat tickets, Interrail cards and passports in honor. A little tummy in the stomach we have everything.

Outside the train window summery Sweden passes by, people we meet are happy and excited for vacation. It is noticeable that several of us have made a small statement with our vacation this year: we opt out of the more usual flight vacation for something that feels better in many ways. We are many happy beginners on train trips out on the rails.

We change trains and cook breakfast in Norrköping, picnic lunches in Copenhagen and eat curry sausage at Senfbar on the Hamburg Hauptbahnhof for dinner. We share a table with a man who tells him he spends a couple of hours each evening at the station. “That way I don’t have to travel from my beloved Hamburg,” he reasoned. “I still meet people from all over the world.” Mm, he has a point – and the station is a cool place.

 

 

Name: The Ristretto Family

We love to travel but have previously chosen flights and trains in combination. Now we go all in with Interrail and hope for 2.5 weeks with beautiful train journeys, hiking, nature experiences, cozy towns, lovely baths and exciting food.

At 8 pm, we step into Night Jets nice triple compartment. We peek in our goodie bags (prosecco to us adults. Nice.) And order breakfast from the friendly train host. Tyra is the toughest and chooses the bed at the top and we all sleep perfectly okay, rocked through Germany…

Good morning Munich!
A day after we got on the train there at home, we woke up with breakfast on the bed in our little cabin. Hot chocolate, coffee and crunchy German rolls.

Soon we are in Munich where we get a morning with some sightseeing. We see the wooden figures dancing in the Neues Rathaus, hanging in the Englischer garten and in the food market. And then a Bavarian beer in the sun on Marienplatz, of course! A nice city.

We lock the bags in the box at the station, which we will then do in more places. So worth every little euro to not have to drag on them.

Now the journey continues into Austria and we look at the mighty Alps through the train window. Wow!

Stylish Gasteindalen.
So, we arrived and checked in at the charming Villa Excelsior in Bad Gastein, our home for three nights. We try to choose our destinations and accommodations with care and have booked everything in advance. If we had traveled without children, we may have been more spontaneous with hotels and travel routes but now this feels just right.
The alpine air is shaking with 32-degree heat and we ripple around the hotel pool. The view is magical: The Guest Valley blooms, is beautifully green and surrounded by snow-covered alpine peaks.

We have treated ourselves and are served a good four course dinner which feels very Austrian, in the beautiful, old fashioned dining room. A few hours of easy hiking in the sunset on the Kaiser Wilhelm we walked at the end of the day. You have to do it now in the evening when it is a little cooler.

High mountains…
Now the first of two hiking days in the areas around Bad Gastein await. Here there are countless routes of different difficulty and it is difficult to choose but we get good tips and maps at the hotel. We take the gondola track and hike (at most) just over 2300 m with a view of, among other things, the Grossglockner peak.

We go over suspension bridges that makes you believe that there are butterflies in the stomach, get the Sound of Music feeling on the alpine hills and make snow angels in the middle of high summer heat. The lunch at Stubneralm is absolutely wonderful and as locally produced you can imagine. The view is also stunning.

When we planned our adventure, everyone got their travel wishes and now Zyon must fulfill his: to go up a high hilltop with a cross on. Here you have him, at the top of the Zitterauertisch, 2463 meters above sea level.

Tyra and I stay down a bit and build the stone tower, because even though 11-year-olds are super good at climbing in mountains, you must have respect that it can be difficult. The legs easily get a little tired after 25,000 steps on steep terrain, so breaks are a good thing. When we get down into the valley again the pool awaits, and another good hotel dinner and we fall asleep contented and quite exhausted.

…and deep valleys.
The next day we take the bus to Sportgastein for hiking. Tyra is fantastic who happily shoots with, despite long distances and harsh heat. We walk around the Nassfeld valley and on to Böckstein and again it is so beautiful that you get to pinch your arm.

When we are back at the hotel, Tyra makes its own “Best-Today-List” and we start from behind. On site…

5. To splash around in the icy alpine streams
4. The funny Germans who busted with me and made me carry around on a huge rock
3. When you were completely exhausted and had to come home and throw yourself in the pool
2. Super good, freshly baked crab with blueberry jam on Astenalm.
1. The green valley with cute cows, huge waterfalls and 3000-meter mountains all around

We can only agree.

The trips wild card.
Good bye Bad Gastein! Now we jump on the train towards the adventure wild card: Ljubljana in Slovenia. A capital that we have been curious about through the Facebook forum Train Holidays. The trip takes you on beautiful views of the mountains and the company of a cute lady who has full control of Istria where we will eventually be. She gives us good restaurant tips. Tyra is lucky and is invited to a coffee by a Slovenian family. Fun that many are so social when traveling like this. The conductor is a bit harsher than the previous ones and for the first time our tickets and Interrail cards are checked. Very carefully.

A few hours later we get off the train in Ljubljana, walk across the Drak bridge and follow the river towards Kolmann apartments, a fine accommodation with a top location. Then it will be a fun night on the town.

Lots of restaurants and bars, happy people, a food festival, live music and a great atmosphere. The feeling after the first day is “What a gem we found!”

A cozy town and a fairytale lake.
We have ended up in a wonderful city, full of beauty and kindness. We walk around in the sunshine, up to the castle, find sweet alleys and small squares. Our mission today is to test Slovenian cuisine: close-up cherries, figs, sweet cream peas, goulash and twilight. There are soooo many lovely restaurants here!

The day ends with a beer tasting of local beer at cool Lajbah. Here are 23 different kinds of beers on tap, relaxed mood, many locals and 90s hard rock in the speakers. What more can you ask for?

The day ends with a beer tasting of local beer at cool Lajbah. Here are 23 different kinds of beers on tap, relaxed mood, many locals and 90s hard rock in the speakers. What more can you ask for?

The nice, lazy days.
When Tyra was asked what she wanted to experience during the holiday, the answer was easy: turquoise sea. So now here they are, those lazy sweet Mediterranean days. We are in Lovran, a small Croatian village with beautiful patina and we rent an apartment for six nights with wonderful Claudia with family.

The difficult choices this week are about which beach, cliffs or bathing ladder to choose.

We take a morning dip in a crazy nice little bathing bay with shady figs. Sitting on the balcony enjoying the view of the sea. Eat fresh fish or pizza at any small restaurant. Reads books, eats ice cream and play cards and Yatzy.

One day we will return to Opatija on the long boardwalk Lungomare. One night, we are in for a totally inclement thunderstorm but otherwise we have perfect bathing weather.

A rainy travel day and a quick visit to Vienna
But then comes a rainy storm day, just as we will leave Croatia and travel far, from Rijeka to Vienna. A day made for sitting on a train and resting, talking, reading and eating good, smoking hot soup in the restaurant car. In all our train journeys, we have never yet become restless or thought that it was difficult. Audiobooks / books and companies have provided entertainment beyond what has happened around us and outside the train window.

Arriving late in Vienna, sleeping over in a simple hotel and spending a few hours on us to try the city’s Apfelstrudel, admire the architecture, see the super cool Hundertwasserhaus and Schloss Belvedere.

Unfortunately, we can’t go in and experience Klimt’s fantastic paintings – but I got the kiss anyway …

Petra’s travel wish.
Now we take another comfortable, punctual train and travel to Prague, which is Petra’s travel wish. Wow, what a city! Art, history, architecture, music and cozy restaurants. Prague is full with tourists in the most central parts and we see at least twenty bridal couples posing for photographers on the Charles Bridge. We live well but easily right next to it and the place gets plus points for having both a cat and good free coffee. We go on a superb guided city walk, check out the jazz festival, test the chimney cake trdelnik and visit the world’s largest medieval castle.

Fine breakfast is eaten at Cafe Louvre, where both Kafka and Einstein used to hang out.

Unfortunately, two nights in Prague are far too short. Here we want back! Maybe a winter trip?

An afternoon in Berlin.

Hi Berlin! Modern, grand, sometimes a little messy and charming – with a huge train station. How do you prioritize a quick visit here? Here you really want to stay a week! Well, we go to Friedrichshain, eat Korean and have a snack. We also managed to lose each other on the S-bahn (Zyon remained on the platform with all the phones and tickets. He is now found.) and realize that we have reached the stage “tired interrailers who need a warm bath and clothes that haven’t been watched for a while.” Yet it is reluctant to step on Snällåget towards Sweden.
We once again sleep perfectly in our rather worn out train car and wake up at home in Sweden.

The last day of the train adventure started in Malmö with morning walk and fine breakfast at “Sisters and brothers”.

Then we rolled home through Sweden, a bit worn out after many trips during the past 24 hours – but sooo happy with these 2.5 holiday weeks. Everything has gone so smoothly! The choice of our destinations, with longer stops in Bad Gastein, Ljubljana, Lovran and Prague, became exactly what we hoped for.

Finally, some small but important things that we were particularly pleased with:

– That we took the help of a travel agency to book tickets and route. We didn’t have to spend time searching for that kind of info and the travel agent fixed so that we had plenty of time at all our train changes. So nice to avoid worry and stress, even if we only had a few delays.

– That we packed lightly. Both because it became less difficult to carry and because with little luggage you can quickly pack up and down.

– That the family planned the trip together. Traveling with children does not mean that you always do typical children’s activities. You have to make sure the child gets involved and has fun anyway. Pretty simple things, like swimming, ice cream, nature experiences, animals and social games are always fun. And having time to hang out, cuddle and talk!

– That we did a little detective work to find our experiences. Rather be a little control freak than miss a country’s gems, eat at touristy dozen reruns and live half-heartedly.

– That we stayed at least three nights at each of our main destinations (only two in Prague, unfortunately). We got so much!

Tira’s drawing may end our travel story. When you pack pens and paper with you, it can be such a wonderful travel picture inspired by a fantastic train holiday.

Greetings Petra

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