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Railways

Train travels shaped like a star

Sculpture of a waiting lady in ThusisTravelling a country by train is much fun.There is only one problem: What to do with your luggage while walking along a shopping street or visiting a museum?

Many years ago I used to bear a big backpack but now I am one of those who walk with these noisy trolley bags along the rough pavements.

As I don’t want to have this trolley bag with me all the time the question of where to store this bag has turned into a big one. It even changed my travel style. Whereas I used to travel in a line in the beginning of my InterRail time I am now planning my travel routes in the shape of a star.

A star? Well, let me explain: I choose a place right in the middle of the country I’d like to travel. There I book a hotel and store my luggage in my room. So I am able to travel with only a very small backpack to the different areas of the country.

Well, I guess you know now why I am calling this method travelling like a star. The place with the hotel is the centre of this star, the lines I am travelling each day are the ways to the peaks of the star.

This is very helpful especially if one travels along a line with very small railway stations where no lockers are available. Or if one knows there would be a problem dropping into a museum with a big suitcase.

Is there anything else to say about this method? Yes. In course of time I’ve learned a lot about how to choose the centre of such a ‘star’. Generally we would expect the capital city of a country would be a fine place to start.

But this wouldn’t always work in Europe. It happens to be only a few countries are having their capital cities in a central place. In most cases they aren’t. A good example is Bratislava in Slovakia which is situated in the extreme West of the country.

So it is a good tip to study the map of the railway network beforehand. Regarding my home land Austria I’d suggest to choose Salzburg as the centre of such a ‘star’. The place itself is worth a visit and one can reach nearly all important cities within a few hours by train.

What about your country? Which central place would you suggest for travelling a star?

I wrote this post while planning my InterRail trip in December 2011.