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Slow travel to Salento

The trip started from Düsseldorf on the sleek German high-speed ICE, whizzing through Köln, Frankfurt and München, where we switched to an older, more rickety Austrian train and rode through Innsbruck and onto Bolzano. There were cities, hills, the Alps and more Alps. The last stop for the day was Verona.

Roman amphitheater at night light up

Train riding past modern city

We chose the train for a few reasons. First, to see how it would go. I used to take the Amtrak from DC to New York City all the time. Years ago, I went from Amsterdam to Marseille by train, stopping in Lille, Paris and Avignon (which I highly recommend!). But this is of another magnitude. It’s about 20 hours on the train from Arnhem and, depending on the route, five or six countries.

River with snowcapped mountains in the background

Field with snowcapped mountains in the background

Second, flying is hell. Travelling by train, however, requires no security checks or endless queues. It does, however, require extensive planning. We consulted Google, ChatGPT, Deutsche Bahn, the Austrian OBB, Omio and Treinitalia. Passengers are also nicer and far less stressed. In Austria, pair of old men were even playing chess.

Third, I wanted to offset our carbon emissions. I tried two different ways to calculate the difference: flying return was 900kg CO2 whilst the train was 4kg CO2.

No comparison. Slow travel all the way.


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