Use Mass transit!

Posted by Christopher Wink on Nov 20, 2008 in Travel Tips

In the London Tube, Oct. 6, 2008

In the London Tube, Oct. 6, 2008

Oh my goodness. Get out of that cab.

Yeah, renting a car, I suppose, is cool, though gas is so much more expensive in Europe than even cliched notions you might have could suggest.

And, sure, those stories of a cabbie ripping you off in the Czech Republic - decide on a price before you even get inside, folks - are great for your friends.

But if you are only spending a few days in a city, you have to, have to give the city’s mass transit system a spin.

Now, I have a bias because I would say the same thing about U.S. cities - how can you visit Philadelphia or Boston or Pittsburgh or Los Angeles and not give a go to how the common locals get around - but it becomes even more important abroad.

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Ep. 5 Eurorail. Vienna, Austria.

Posted by Sean Blanda on Oct 26, 2008 in Podcast

Click to play.

Sean and Chris talk about some lessons they’ve learned riding the rails and backpacking Europe.

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Notes on seeing Europe from a train

Posted by Christopher Wink on Oct 23, 2008 in Commentary

You take trains from big cities to other big cities. Lands, untold by tour books and unseen by sloppy tourists like yourself, unfold beneath your high carriage of jetsetting: two months, 10 cities 3,000 miles wide and two or three days deep.

You are riding great dividers of place and time, laughing at great empires of history. Slicing corridors of culture. Other trains pass with silent screams at 70 miles per hour. You mull issues of personal importance and navigate narrow bathrooms.

There’s the old story of the boy who took a train and came back a man. No great story of accomplishment or adventure, but stalking late-night cars and toeing empty rail yards. Sleeping with a bag in his lap until he wanted someone to know him again. Until he learned who is chasing whom.

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In Paris: Use Paris Viste

Posted by Christopher Wink on Oct 15, 2008 in Travel Tips

Paris is big.

2.2 million people, more than a fourth larger than Philadelphia. But what’s more, many of the sights you want to see, from the Eiffel Tower, to Notre Dame to the Arc de Triomph, are spread quite widely.

So get smart. Use its fine mass transit at a good cost.

The city’s Paris Visite pass is economical - 7 euros ($9 USD) per day for three days while we were in town. Three or four rides and you have paid for it - without counting cutting time on buying tickets and walking.

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Eurail first impressions

Posted by Sean Blanda on Oct 11, 2008 in Commentary

If you seen Eurotrip or had any friends take the post-college right of passage across Europe you get the deal about the Eurorail.  Buy one pass and tote around carefree in an oversized backpack speaking different languages and absorbing different cultures along the way.

Sounds too good to be true, right?

It is.

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London: Come on ride the tube, ride the tube

Posted by Christopher Wink on Oct 8, 2008 in Travel Tips

Welcome to greater London: 7 million people, 600 square miles and enough underground tubes to get lost within. We left it earlier this week, so enjoy what I learned.

Like we’ll tell you again and again - and practice ourselves - get underground in each and every city you visit. In the states, abroad, wherever, use a city’s mass transit because no evaluation of a city is complete without a ride on its buses, trains, or whatever else. Know how its people transit, and see its priorities.

London, like a handful of other international cities - Tokyo, Paris, Los Angeles and New York (my own Philadelphia lags out a bit in this category) - claims the world’s finest mass transit system.

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WDSTL: Stuck in St. Pancras train station in London, England

Posted by Christopher Wink on Oct 6, 2008 in Experiences

So, Sean, his brother Brian and I arrived at the St. Pancras International train station in London, England for a 1 P.M. train to Amsterdam via Brussels, Belgium.

Funny thing.

These unionized bastards have gone too far. There is a massive, one-day transit strike in Brussels. The last remaning trains of the day are gone, and we aren’t on them.

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