Europe seen through a dirty train wagon’s glass

Tickets are available in Serbia

By Ivan Milosavljević

„I will remember that trip until I am alive. It made me a man and there are no words that can describe everything that I have seen and went through“.

With these words, Dimitrije Adamović, student of the Medicine Faculty in Niš, Serbia starts his story about the 30 days long trip through Europe. He went through the oldest continent on rails, through the globally renowned “Interrail” ticket.

This transport privilege enables mostly youth to travel through whole Europe without spending much, but by a lot of coping and only few Euros in the pocket. The global railway project “Interrail Global Pass” is braking the European border and 30 of its countries are within everyone’s grasp. This ticket is available in Serbia and in order to find out how much the people at the railway station in Niš know about it, we have made some informal telephone calls to the information desk.

“Inter…what? How? Ah? For Europe? I don’t know son, try a different number. Try calling the international department”, this was the answer to our question of Interrail ticket are being sold here.

On a different phone number, we were eventually told that the „Global Pass“ can be purchased in Niš and that only three such tickets were sold in the last four months.

Dimitrije Adamović learned about this kind of travelling opportunities through the Internet. After a month spent on the European rails, he now has enough memories to write a book.

“I made the travel plan based on the locations where my friends are living throughout Europe, which I wanted to visit and where I can have a sleepover, so that I can save money. I travelled at night, so that I can see the cities through the day. I slept on trains, on train stations and sometimes even at places of complete strangers who were selfless enough to offer their help. Albania, Italy, Switzerland, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Germany, Slovakia….7,000 kilometers in the train wagon”, says Dimitrije.

The experience of those that have travelled from Niš to Belgrade up to six hours is a proof that if we used our railways, it would have taken more than six months for the same mileage.

“There’s no point in comparing the Serbian railways to other railways. You travel much faster, the trains are clean, the personal is very obligingly and there is even an Internet access. Our trains seem centuries away from the European”, says this “tripahollic”.

Dimitrije says that when you travel this way, you are surrounded by other people that pass through very same things as you do. All the kilometers that you pass together are quite beneficial for meeting a lot of new people and possibly even to meet the person of your lifetime.

“You are constantly meeting new people, in the wagons, in the parks, on the streets. There are a lot of good people, who offered accommodation, food, money. In the trains, I met a friend for life – a girl with which I travelled every time when I wanted to see something new. Wherever you go, you also meet people from your own group. I met some people from my birthplace and I’ve travelled with them for some time jointly”, he says.

Dimitrije encourages all those brave enough to take upon them on such adventure not to worry about the fact that young people from Europe might be financially in a better position. That disadvantage can be easily compensated by rational spending.

“We showered at swimming pools and slept in parks. We saved on everything that we can. Museum tickets are not cheap, but it is a question of priorities. Our priority was to see as much as possible, to have beer whenever we wanted and to cut down on whims as much as possible. We only slept in hostels twice in thirty days. Trains, friends, acquaintances, parks, train stations and so on”, says Dimitrije.  

Still, many of the people that you encounter in these situations make you act carefully. You have to be careful and to expect the unexpected. Strange and incredible situations, as Dimitrije’s experience shows, can happen to you at every time of the day or the night.

“There are millions of things that I will remember for my entire life: from the places that I have seen; the jokes with friends that I will tell my children; the adventures that I will jealously keep for myself and the moments that I never expected to happen. On the train for Hungary, tired from the trip I felt asleep and I was almost robbed. A girl from Belgium sitting across of me has thankfully waken me up on time and saved me. If by any chance I have lost my “Global Pass” I would have been stranded on the very next train station. So keep your ticket as you keep your eyes”, he suggests.

The Interrail ticket was created in the seventies, in the century behind us. It enables us to travel through the oldest continent for some 20 or 30 days. For additional info, you can check the following link.

So, pack your handbag and go to the train station. Visit museums, walk through different cities, eat in the darkest restaurants or have a beer in the bet pub. Enjoy, have fun, take pictures and learn new languages and practice your coping techniques.