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Traveling on the rails: An ode to train travel

428D. It is always the same seat that I book for my regular route Vienna-Salzburg. At the window and in the direction of travel, not all the way back, but far enough away from the four-person seats, where it tends to get a little louder. If you live in two places at the same time like I do, you're forced to commute a lot. In my case by train. Because I don't have a car. Fortunately, traveling by train is much more sustainable and, above all, more pleasant. You don't have to concentrate on driving, you can spend the time doing things you wouldn't otherwise get to (sleep!) and in the end you usually reach your destination relaxed and well-rested. In short: I love traveling by train, and for a variety of reasons.

Two and a half hour break

Since I have had the climate ticket (the Austrian version of the Germany tickets, with which you can use all means of transport throughout the country - yes, even the fast ones), I travel by train much more often and enjoy it more than before. Because if you don't have to worry about buying tickets, prices or finding the best connections, your inhibitions about setting foot in a carriage more often are much lower. A train like this doesn't just take me from A to B, it also brings me down. Here I can switch off for two and a half hours and just be. Because I belong to the category of people who cannot look at a screen in all kinds of vehicles. Laptop work is therefore not possible, and reading is usually not possible either. So I usually spend my train rides with a podcast or music in my ear, looking out the window and thinking about life. “You just don’t do anything for two and a half hours?” I’m always asked in astonishment by everyone I tell this to. Right, and I wouldn't change a thing about it. Because when else in life do you have the time to do nothing for hours without feeling guilty?

A place of special encounters

While outside the window, places with funny-sounding names like “Redl-Zipf” or “Wolf in der Au” pass by and the landscape slowly changes from spacious and flat to hilly and forest-heavy to mountainous, things are happening inside the train a journey offers even more vivid scenarios. Although I wear my noise-cancelling headphones most of the time to escape the noise in the carriage and to signal “please do not speak”, I still come into contact with my fellow passengers every now and then. So it happened that in the past, a first date developed on a train ride, where I talked to other people - primarily older people - about God and the world or met like-minded people with whom I could talk about my favorite hobbies (man You can usually recognize this by the sports equipment you bring with you, appropriate specialist reading material or simply by your outfit). In my opinion, the encounters you have on the train are somehow different, more relaxed. After all, you know that you have all the time in the world (or at least until the next stop) together. Conversations here are different from those on dating apps, in bars, or at any entertaining event. Call me romantic, but train encounters always feel a bit like something out of a Wes Anderson movie to me.

An ode to train travel

Nostalgia, deceleration, sustainability

I'm something of an old hand in the train business now. Even though I rarely travel beyond the borders of Austria and mostly travel on the same routes, I spend a lot of time in these leathery blue and velvety red seats and therefore experience a lot. Nevertheless, every train journey is different, educational and grounding. This also allows me to reduce my carbon footprint. For me, traveling by train has something nostalgic (keyword Wes Anderson), something decelerating. For me it is the epitome of slow and sustainable travel. And so, even if I could often get to my destination quicker or even easier otherwise, I always like to choose this type of transport.

Small disclaimer: I travel almost exclusively by train in Austria. The train network here is relatively good and reliable, which is why traveling on rails is really pleasant.

Nadine is a freelance editor and copywriter. She lives in Austria and commutes between Salzburg, Styria and Vienna. She is therefore either in the mountains or in the urban jungle, but at the same time tries to spend as much time as possible in her heart country Portugal.


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