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view from the Brienz Rothorn steam train
Photo courtesy of Eurail

What are some of the “things” or activities that Eurail passengers do for fun?

ANSWER: Eurail Passengers are happy to spend countless hours gazing out of train windows while traveling through multiple countries with one Eurail Pass, absorbing Europe’s culture and sceneries, taking pictures of landscapes not possible at 33,000 feet. European trains offer a cultural experience that begins right at the railroad station, which may be a classic 19th century Beaux Arts monument or the latest architectural dazzler. Europe’s trains are virtually inseparable from European culture and are just as much a part of the travel experience as sightseeing. Passengers on the trains enjoy meeting other travelers, sharing activities such as playing cards, having meals together in a dining car or bond over a “picnic” with sandwiches bought at one of the train stops along the way. Others read, post stories on line if Wi-Fi is available, listen to music or hang out at the cafeteria, trying local beers and wines, making new-found friends!

What's one thing the public probably does NOT know about Eurail?

Bernina Express at Bernina Pass
Photo courtesy of Eurail

ANSWER: Many people have the preconception that Eurail is a train. However, Eurail is simply a rail pass which offers a unique way to travel through Europe by rail. Eurail is the result of a long-standing cooperation between a wide range of railway companies, all of which have their own unique characteristics, rules and policies. The Eurail Group GIE acts as the management and marketing organization, the central link between all the member railway networks in order to streamline the Eurail Pass products. Nevertheless, the railways ultimately are responsible for their own rail services. As a result, in some cases, luxury services, such as high-speed trains and night trains, fall outside the scope of the Eurail Pass and compulsory seat/bed reservations need to be purchased separately. Eurail Passes can be purchased from Eurail Group’s authorized sales agents: Rail Europe,, ACP Rail International, STA Travel and Flight Centre.

What has Eurail contributed to the world?

high speed train Cisalpino
Photo courtesy of Eurail

ANSWER: The concept of creating a Eurail Pass was conceived back in 1959 when the post-World-War II mass tourism market was in its infancy. As more and more overseas visitors flocked to Continental Europe, Europe’s pioneering railway companies saw a perfect opportunity to expand their markets by offering a special pass to foreigners. Now valid in 23 participating countries (practically the whole European continent), the Eurail Global Pass gives travelers the freedom to travel as far as they want, when they want and as long as they want. In Europe, where gasoline has always been expensive, highly developed national rail systems have long been a vital means of cost-efficient and comfortable transportation. With almost 138,000 miles (222,000 kilometers) of track in today’s European railway network covered by Eurail, rail travel offers a safe, fast and reliable alternative to airplanes and cars. With a growing concern about climate change, energy-efficient trains are also seen as the “greener,” more virtuous alternative to fuel-guzzling, carbon dioxide emitting cars and airplanes. “Travelling by rail uses 2 to 3 times less energy than journeys by road,” according to New European Economy, awarding Eurail Group G.I.E. with the “Best Sustainable Travel Award” in 2009 and 2010.

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Ed Boitano's travel blog/review
Three Musical Pilgrimages: Mozart, Grieg and Hendrix

Troldhaugen Villa in Bergen, Norway
Johann Chrysostom Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 - 1791) could read and compose music, plus play the violin and piano, when he was five years old. Born into a musical family in Salzburg, Austria (then the Holy Roman Empire), he had a unique ability for imitating music, which first became evident when he recited a musical piece by simply observing his father conducting a lesson to his older sister. This led to a childhood on the road, where the young prodigy performed before many of the royal courts of Europe.

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Tom Weber's travel blog/review
Treasures of Ireland: The Irish Goodbye (Dispatch #20)

Irish sunset

The Palladian Traveler brings to a close his 20-part series on the Emerald Isle from an upscale restaurant in downtown Dublin where he files his final dispatch and then quietly slips away.

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John Clayton's travel blog/review
Two "MUST SEE" Truly Spectacular Places in Europe. Here's Why.

Culzean Castle, Scotland
The Han Grotto and Culzean Castle. As the name of my Traveling Boy feature is "Travel With a Difference," it's important to me to always bring you offbeat and unusual tourist places around the world you may not know about. These two fit that category to a T, and they're absolutely worth a visit. One's in Scotland and one's in Belgium. Culzean (pronounced CULLANE) Castle is located near Maybole, Carrick, on the Ayrshire coast of Scotland.

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Ringo Boitano's travel blog/review
Highway 49 Revisited: Exploring California's Gold Country

aurora borealis lights up the night sky near Fairbanks
In the 1840s, the population of California was only 14,000, but by 1850 more than 100,000 settlers and adventurers had arrived from all over the world – and they came for one reason: gold. James Marshall had discovered the first gold nugget at Sutter’s Mill in El Dorado County, creating the largest gold rush in history.

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Eric Anderson's travel blog/review
Lake Charles’ Family-Size Low-Key Mardi Gras

dressed-up for the Mardi Gras
The Southwest Louisiana Mardi Gras in Lake Charles, the second largest in Louisiana, does not need parents there to avert their children’s eyes. This is family entertainment and children are very much part of it. The main office of the Lake Charles CVB has costumes from last year’s Mardi Gras but it also has figures to fascinate little ones from country boys fishing for their dinner to alligators who have already fed and are rubbing their stomachs.

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Fyllis Hockman's travel blog/review
Puerto Vallarta: Magic and Mayhem on the Malecon

Cedar Hill, Washington DC
So I heard that you could spend from dawn to dusk on the Malecon in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and never get bored and I thought, "Okay, I'm up for that challenge." Well, maybe not the dawn part – I'm not a morning person – so I had no problem leaving those early hours to the joggers and those seeking an early start to catch their red snapper for dinner.

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Greg Aragon's travel blog/review
Relaxing at The Inn at Laguna Beach

Greg at Huntington Beach

There is nothing like sleeping in an ocean-front room and awakening to the sounds of waves crashing against the sand. It is one of the finer things in life. And it is exactly what I experienced recently on a memorable getaway to The Inn at Laguna Beach. The adventure began when a friend I pulled off the 5 Freeway in Orange County and took SR 133 south nine miles through winding lush hills and wilderness areas to the ocean.

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Bev Cohn's travel blog
Tim Robbins On His Road To Stardom

Tim Robbins

Award-winning Tim Robbins began his career on episodic television. Robbins' film work, however, is what catapulted him into becoming a major movie star including "Bull Durham" and "Mystic River" for which he won multiple awards. Equally at home behind the camera, he directed the riveting "Dead Man Walking." He is Founder and Artistic Director of The Actors' Gang, which he formed thirty-five years ago and has directed multiple provocative productions.

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